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Last Updated: Thursday, 6 September 2007, 05:47 GMT 06:47 UK
Tackling absence 'good business'
An empty office
"Inefficient management of absence results in avoidable costs"
Tackling absenteeism can be a major factor in an organisation's success, a Belfast conference will be told.

Delegates are gathering in the city to explore ways of dealing with the problem, which costs businesses millions of pounds a year.

Organised by Business in the Community (BITC), it aims to help firms "cope with the stresses their employees face in the modern environment".

BITC's Denise Cranston said absenteeism costs the UK economy 13bn each year.

That works out at 600 a year for every employee.

"This is an incredible drain and some very simple steps can be taken by employers to reduce this burden," she said.

Experts in the area of occupational health provision and employment law will address the conference on Thursday.

Dave Wallington, group safety advisor with BT Northern Ireland, said absence management "is about much more than just regulating poor attendance".

"It is a key business strategy and, if managed well, it can be a significant factor in an organisation's commercial success," he said.

"Inefficient management of absence results in avoidable costs.

"Workplace health promotion can help people avoid mental and physical illness and rehabilitation exercises, where necessary, allow staff to return to work in timescales which are right for both the individual and the business."

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