How does Sickness Absence impact on the Education Sector?
The focus of the occupational health service for schools and colleges is two-fold; addressing existing absence, both long and short term, and providing a proactive wellbeing service to help maintain staff attendance at school.
Absence is a major cost to the education sector. The DFE (2015) has calculated that the average number of days lost per teacher in the last 3 years varied between 7.9-8.1 day’s absence per year equating to an annual cost of around £800 per teacher based on an absence cost of £100 a day. The financial impact to the whole school on this calculation equates to around £16,640 for every 20 members of teaching staff alone. This cost increases if you include the support and facilities staff employed. Between 2012- 2014, 55-57% of teachers had at least one period of sickness absence during the year (DFE 2015)
Opa Health offers a range of occupational health service delivery plans for the education sector. The onsite Gold (full day delivery) and Silver (half day delivery) packages are the most cost effective way of accessing occupational health services. The Bronze package allows more freedom for the school or college to choose individual occupational health services or single assessments with no yearly contractual agreement. Find out more about our service plans.
Utilising the onsite occupational health services means that staff travel costs are eliminated. Telephone assessments are also used as an effective way to assess employees and can be beneficial if travelling is difficult. For those staff not at work telephone assessments will eliminate travel and waiting costs if assessments are required in-between site visits. Further face to face onsite visits can be agreed as per the service plan agreed.
The 48-hour turn-around from assessment to report means that the school or college can act on the occupational health recommendations in a timely way. Quicker access to the occupational health report and recommendations reduces unnecessary delays impacting on the length of the absence but impacting greatly on cost.
Utilising onward referrals to further counselling or physiotherapy services can be provided at a set cost to reduce the wait for NHS treatment and the financial cost this has to the length of the absence. Accessing appropriate
Ensuring the appropriate risk assessments are completed and up to date means that the school remains compliant with Health and Safety regulations. Risk assessments are also a pro-active way to manage staff health and wellbeing to reduce the likelihood of sickness absence. This is especially relevant with stress. Mental health is the most prominent issue affecting school staff and taking a pro-active approach reduces the long term implications for staff and the financial impact on the school. All risk assessment are compliant with the standards outlined by the Health and Safety Executive.
Personal and professional resilience training, delivered by OPA Health Ltd, allows staff to be empowered in dealing with their own stressors and to adapt their behaviour to reduce the likelihood of absence associated with stress. The training programmes can be tailored to the needs to the employees and the organisational stressors.
Providing access to Wellness campaigns, initiatives and complimentary therapies will also add to the staff appreciation which in turn will aid staff retention and attract other staff to the school as a caring employer.