Absenteeism is costing British businesses £11.6bn each year, according to specialist healthcare consultancy Jelf Group.

Improved management training is the key to managing and reducing the cost of workplace absenteeism, according to Jelf.

But it said less than 40% of companies monitored the cost of absenteeism.

It said the effective management of the absence issue would only be achieved through focus within the leadership team of each business and the evolution of products and services offered by insurers.

Jelf has established the Health Insurance Industry Forum to investigate ways of reducing the cost of absenteeism in the UK.

The discussion paper, The growing trend of absenteeism and its impact on UK plcs, is available from the Jelf Group.