There are clear business benefits to supporting employee health and wellbeing, says a new CBI and Medicash report. The UK’s leading business group has outlined how improving employee health can contribute to better business performance through lower absence, higher productivity and better employee engagement.

The direct costs of employee absence to the economy are estimated at over £14 billion per year – and the CBI’s latest absence survey found that the average total cost to business for each absent employee is £975. These figures would be higher still if productivity lost due to presenteeism—staff attending work despite being unwell—was included as well.

Neil Carberry, CBI Director for Employment and Skills, said: “Having healthy staff is an essential part of running a healthy business. Investing in the wellbeing of employees is not only the right thing to do, it has real business benefits.

“It’s time for businesses and government to work hand-in-hand to move from a reactive to proactive approach on health and wellbeing in the workplace. Encouraging investment that gets people back to work sooner, with less of a burden on the NHS, is in everybody’s interest.”

Sue Weir, CEO of Medicash, said: “Developing and implementing a targeted healthcare strategy can help business avoid costly absenteeism and ensure their workforce is a happy, healthy and committed one. That’s why more and more businesses looking to increase output and maximise business performance are putting into place robust health and wellbeing strategies.

“Offering a health and wellbeing package is an affordable and beneficial means of doing this and of attracting, motivating, rewarding and retaining staff.”

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