Home and family issues are the main causes for absence and lack of productivity amongst employees


A growing number of employers are finding that caring responsibilities are affecting their employees, which in turn affects staff absence and productivity. According to research by GRID, 61% of employers found caring issues to be the main cause of short-term absence (less than 4 weeks), 49% found these issues to be the cause of mid-term absence (4 weeks to 6 months) and 43% of employers related these issues to be the cause of long-term absence (more than 6 months).

The stress that can come with providing elderly and child care can also lead to the development of mental illness or the deterioration of mental health. The research found that:

  • 17% of employers found mental health issues to be the cause of short-term absence.
  • 36% of employers found it is the main cause of mid-term absence 
  • 42% of employers found it is the main cause of long-term absence

However, the study suggests these figures may be lower than what they would be in reality, as people would give another reason for absence due to the stigma surrounding mental health.

In the long-term employers can address these issues and reduce absence and improve productivity by allowing flexible working. This is the top-rated solution with 36% of employers stating this the most effective measure they have put in place.

Katharine Moxham, spokesperson for GRiD said: “Employers know they need to address this issue, and flexible working is a good starting point, but it doesn’t go far enough for many. Employers may be at a loss as to what else they can do, and the solutions are far from simple. The good news is that there is a wealth of support available within group risk products (employer-sponsored life assurance, income protection and critical illness). This can include specific support for carers, access to advice, fast-track access to counselling and signposting to support groups.”