Analysis by Legal & General of research into the Department of Work and Pensions Fit for Work Service has shown that people absent from work because of illness are more likely to report a mental health condition than those at work.

In a survey carried out of Fit for Work Service participants by the DWP it was found that:

  • 73% of respondents who were absent from work reported more than one health condition. Mental health illnesses were the most commonly reported secondary condition.
  • 44% of people who reported that their main absence from work was a musculoskeletal disorder also said that they had a mental health condition.
  • Absentees with a mental health condition were more likely to report a non-health related barrier that was preventing them from returning to work.

The findings echo recent figures by the CIPD which showed that mental and behavioural disorders to be one of the leading causes of absence.

Commenting on the findings Diane Buckley, Managing Director of Legal & General Group Protection said:

“These findings suggest that absentees could be more likely to develop a mental health condition as a result of a long-term absence. This shows just how important it is for employers to have a supportive absence management strategy in place to support employees through their absence, and help them in their return to work.”