Staff at many small and medium-sized businesses are able to pull a sickie as often as they wish due to poor management of absence rates, it has been claimed.
According to figures released by business support provider ELAS, as many as 66% of SMEs fail to recognise or tackle high rates of sickness absence.
Absence management is performed by line managers who are not trained in absence handling at 30% of SMEs, the group said.
ELAS warned that this leads to some staff members taking advantage of the situation and having extra days off.
To improve the situation, ELAS has developed a new absence management and HR service specifically for SMEs.
This system aims to reduce absenteeism by up to 30% by transferring the responsibility of reporting sickness from staff line managers to a trained third party.
Annabel Dawkins, for ELAS, said: "Unfortunately, most SMEs simply don't have the resources to manage sickness absence properly so they rely on untrained line managers, who are already busy with their own jobs, to take responsibility for it.
"Many workers now take advantage of the situation, just texting their boss rather than calling in sick, safe in the knowledge that their bosses are unlikely to ask them any awkward questions or are simply too busy to kick up a fuss."
Copyright © Press Association 2011
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"Employers are their own worst enemy if they let staff conduct themselves in this manner. I know back to work interviews etc take precious time when time is at a premium but they pay dividends in the end. Make being off ill a big deal and you reduce sickness absence to genuine illness not just fancy a duvet day itis so working becomes the norm" – Name and address withheld