AXA PPP advises managers to deal with attendance issues.

Back pain, psychological problems and poor management practices are three of the biggest reasons for employees not turning up for work, according to AXA PPP Healthcare.

The most common medical conditions cited in a survey for the company are back pain and other musculo-skeletal problems, as well as psychological problems such as stress, anxiety and depression.

Dudley Lusted, head of corporate healthcare development at AXA PPP Healthcare, says that for employees with medical conditions, early access to diagnosis and treatment is key to an early return to health.

He says that it is also important that managers deal with any attendance issues “so re-occurring absences are reduced”.

Despite these findings, the results revealed that nearly three-quarters (72%) of Brits go to work on days when they are feeling so ill they could legitimately stay at home.

About a third of respondents (29%) said this was because they did not want to let their colleagues down.

But 24% said they went in because they had too much work to do and 15% were worried their sick leave records could be used against them if their employer was considering redundancies.

Lusted said: “Sickness absence is very often due to minor, self-limiting illnesses and, as this survey shows, most employees continue to turn up for work when they’re feeling under the weather. And, if they do have to take time off, they can be trusted to come back as soon as they feel well enough to work again.

“It’s wrong to subject hard-working people to over-zealous absence management methods such as having to report in sick to an occupational nurse ‘helpline’ or (as was suggested recently) even be subjected to a lie detector test.

“Back pain and other musculoskeletal problems and psychological problems such as stress, anxiety and depression are the problems that should be setting off alarm bells.”