Is your absence level 25% higher than you think?

Myths of absence management: Day-1 Absence Reporting increases absence because employees don’t have to speak with their manager.

In fact, Day-1 Absence Reporting – initially – increases absence levels because all absence is recorded. Relying on managers to report absence data is prone to under-reporting and gaps in the data.

Furthermore, with Day-1, the absence level quickly starts reducing as managers become more proactive at addressing the underlying issues. Managers are also encouraged to maintain personal contact with the employee throughout to offer early intervention support and support a return to work.

This article explores a case study that revealed under-reporting of absence by line managers.

Your absence level may be 25% higher than you think!

A pilot study of a Day-1 Absence Management service called EASY in the NHS tested the effectiveness of the early intervention in sickness absence management. The project chose to retain the initial call from the employee to the manager. The managers were responsible for reporting the absence to the Day-1 service.


  • The study found that 74% of absences were reported to the EASY service.
  • It further found that 80% of these absences were reported on Day-1.


This means that if you’re using a manager-led absence reporting process, in effect, you might be missing up to 26% of your absence data due to omissions.

Full absence data from Day-1

With Honeydew Engage, employees’ primary point of contact is the Day-1 service, achieving a much higher compliance rate as you are not relying on managers to report the data. This, in turn, saves managers time and allows them to call the employee back at a more suitable time to discuss the absence and to offer support.

In the case of employees failing to make the call on the first day of absence, line managers can record the absence on their behalf or to report an AWOL case.

Enjoy reduced absence!

The EASY absence management project found that sickness absence progressively reduced following the introduction of the service, incorporating the following early intervention measures:

  • maintaining contact with the workplace
  • early intervention by an occupational physician or nurse
  • bio-psychosocial case management utilising cognitive behavioural principles
  • musculoskeletal intervention by a physiotherapist
  • mental health counselling intervention
  • work modification
  • phased return-to-work
  • health promotion activities

Using Engage for Day-1 Absence Reporting allows the employer to implement these support measures effectively and to signpost the employee to the appropriate service earlier to facilitate a successful return to work.