New research from Aviva reveals that long-term absence is not only an issue for two- out of three employers - it can also have a major impact on employees.
A survey conducted to identify both employee and employer concerns about absence issues, found that staff sickness frequently causes low morale amongst those left in the office.
Just under a quarter of employees consider it no fun working for a company where colleagues go on long-term sick leave. One in five get annoyed and feel overworked if they have to make up for a colleague's absence in the workplace. For some, these anxieties extend further, with one in ten employees worrying that the company will go out of business and they will lose their job if one of their colleagues goes off sick for a prolonged period of time.
Colleagues' concerns do not go unnoticed by those that are on sick leave. A fifth of employees feel guilty about letting colleagues down. A staggering 71% reveal they'd be concerned about returning to work from long-term sick leave.
While some worry that they won't fit in with their colleagues, or they'll be treated with kid gloves, others question their abilities to still do their job. Nearly one in five say they would worry that they will be unable to cope with their old responsibilities. One in ten worry that their old problem will come back and they will go off sick again.
Steve Bridger at Aviva says: "Simply having the right protection in place can greatly reduce the stresses of being ill for both the employee and the employer. Group income protection offers employers financial protection against the cost of sickness absence. This means that they have funds available to continue to support the absent employee and make provisions to cover the workload of the absent employee - if they choose. In addition, they have access to a range of rehabilitation support to help aid their employee's recovery and ease their return to work."