Sickness absence savings calculator - methodology

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12 / 5 / 2014 Midnight

Number of staff (FTE)

The number of staff (FTE) is intended to be populated based on data from ESR. The appropriate value depends on what level of detail you intend to look at e.g. ward, department, staff group or a whole trust level. Your ESR lead or workforce information manger should be able to assist you with this if needed.

Cost per FTE per day (£)                     

Average Cost per FTE per day (£) = 'Total Paybill (£)'  ÷  'Number of staff (FTE)' ÷  'Assumed average working days per year'

(See below for how to calculate)

Assumed average working days per year

The default assumption is that there are 225 working days per year. This is based on working a 5 day week, with 27 days annual leave (Agenda for Change for up to 5 years service) and 8 bank holidays,
i.e. = (5 days * 52 weeks) - 27 days annual leave - 8 bank holidays.

You may wish to change this assumption if the workforce you are looking at differs considerably from this. Examples of reasons for this could be a high proportion of staff with long service, medical staff with different lengths of contractual leave, or shift working patterns which are based on a 4 day week. As there will be variation between individual staff this is an average of all staff in the group.

Total Paybill (£)

The total pay bill figure should relate to the group of staff (e.g. by ward, department, trust) identified in step 1. This data may come from ESR, the trusts financial accounts, or be an estimate. (e.g. 20 nurses at £25k = £500k)

The tool is intended to produce approximate estimates. More detailed estimates would only be possible using a greater volume of data, and something like Excel.

Provided below are some examples for illustrative purposes of how you could use the tool:

Example 1 - Nursing

A trust with 4,193 nurses wants to reduce their 4.3% current absence to 3.9%.

Given an average Nurse band 5 salary of £25,600, working 5 days a week, a total of 260 days (225 working, 27 holidays, 8 BH).

Giving a FTE per day of £98.46.

Example 2 - Trust Staff

A trust with 6000 members of staff across all levels, wants to reduce 5.5% current absence to 4.5%.

Given an average salary of £29,600, working 5 days a week, a total of 260 days (225 working, 27 holidays, 8 BH).

Giving a FTE per day of £113.84. These figures are biased towards the top end and not exact (a few high-salaried staff).

Example 3 - Sickness Type (cost of absence relating to flu)

A trust with 6614 members of staff across all levels, wants to work out how much their flu sickness is costing them per year.

It was calculated that of the 3.79 per cent sickness absence rate, 0.85 per cent of this was flu related.

Given an average salary of £29,600, working 5 days a week, a total of 260 days (225 working, 27 holidays, 8 BH).

Giving a FTE per day of £113.84. These figures are biased towards the top end and not exact (a few high-salaried staff). 

Flu

It was calculated that of the 4.36 per cent sickness absence rate, 0.85 per cent of this was flu related.

By concentrating on the target sickness absence rate figures you can see that flu costs the trust £1.44 million a year, which is equivalent to 12,649 working days and 56.22 FTE staff.

Stress/anxiety

The same trust had identified stress and anxiety as a 'hot spot' in terms of sickness absence with their current rate being 0.77 per cent.

Using the same costings above this showed that stress/anxiety costs the trust £1.3 million a year, which is equivalent to 11,459 days and 50.93 FTE staff.

Musculoskeletal disorders

Currently this trust has a 0.83 per cent sickness absence rate for musculoskeletal disorders which costs them £1.4 million a year, which is equivalent to 12,352 days and 54.90 FTE staff.

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