01st January 2011 Cold snap could lead to the worst absence week on record
The combination of snow, ice and freezing temperatures across the UK have created “the perfect storm” for employee absence, potentially costing the UK economy billions says FirstCare the UK’s leading absence management company.
“As of today 10.8% of employees in the UK are currently absent from work, the highest figure we have on record for this time of year. Unsurprisingly, almost half of this is due to non-medical reasons such as travel problems and care of a dependant” comments Aaron Ross, CEO of FirstCare.
“Normally this type of absence is relatively short, lasting just one or two days, but with the widespread impact of snow and further weather warnings for the rest of this week it appears this could be longer for many employees.
“Alongside this, the issues commuters faced with transport on Monday and Tuesday appear to have convinced many employees to stay at home and not head into work today which has lead to the second highest absence rate of the year so far ” adds Ross.
FirstCare are also seeing a significant increase in the number of accidents being reported through their call centre as a result of employees attempting to reach their place of work.
“Our nurses have received an increase in calls relating to musculo-skeletal absence this week with the majority due to employees slipping on the ice and snow” says Ross.
“It is therefore imperative that employers have a dialogue with their staff outlining the plans they are operating given the snow and ice. We had a case only today where an employee travelled for four hours to make it into work in London only to find that the employer had shut the office. On the way home she slipped on the ice and sprained her ankle; now she is likely to be absent for at least a week.
“With only Thursday and Friday left for the standard working week we are expecting the absence levels to increase further. The message for employers is clear; if your staff haven’t made it in over the last few days they probably won’t be in at all this week” concludes Ross.