Long-term sickness headache

Long-term sickness absence remains a major headache for employers, with 36 per cent reporting an increase in long-term sickness absence in 2008 compared with 2007. A sickness absence study of the manufacturing industry by manufacturers\' organisation EEF and Unum found 45 per cent of employers still view the sick note as a barrier to returning to work. The survey results identify \"surgery or medical investigation or tests\" as the cause of almost 60 per cent of all long-term absences, ahead of back problems (34 per cent), cancer (26 per cent) and stress (25 per cent). Stress continues to worsen, up 6 per cent over the last 12 months and 14 per cent since 2005.