The Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) has welcomed government plans to review sickness absence and the effect it has on British businesses.

In a new survey carried out by CIPD and private healthcare firm Simplyhealth, the average number of days taken off work each year due to ill health was found to be 7.7 per worker and nine out of ten employers voiced concerns.

"The prime minister is absolutely right when he says that a short spell of sickness can far too easily become a gradual slide to a lifetime of benefit dependency," said CIPD public policy adviser Ben Willmott.

However, he pointed out that private businesses can do more to prevent staff from developing long-term problems by boosting access to occupational health services and counselling, including cognitive behavioural therapy.

Bosses looking for expert advice on how to maintain workplace morale could benefit from attending the Stress Prevention & Mental Wellbeing Forum 2011 at London's Canary Wharf on April 7th.

Posted by Hayley Edwards