UK SME bosses have revealed their lack of trust in employees and struggles with absence levels, new research has found.
The survey from AXA-PPP Healthcare found three in five (60%) of bosses of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) do not always believe their employees when they call in sick, the research said.
Over a third of bosses (37%) admitted to checking social media profiles of staff they suspect of ‘pulling a sickie' and one in four bosses (25%) have asked colleagues to call and check on employees they think are lying about being ill.
Nearly half of employees (46%) admitted they feel nervous about calling their boss - even when they are genuinely ill.
Meanwhile half of SME employees (48%) said they feel stressed at work two to three or more times a week.
Over half of bosses (55%) revealed they do not actively monitor employee stress levels and three quarters (73%) said they have no initiatives in place to support good mental health in the workplace.
Two thirds of SME bosses admitted their companies don't provide training for managers to look out for signs of stress, anxiety or depression in employees.
The research also found that the impact of employee sick leave varies with company size.
While micro-businesses of up to 10 staff have on average 5.2 sick days per employee per year, this increases to 6.8 days for companies with 100 to 250 employees.
Additionally, the financial impact of sick leave for larger sized SMEs is estimated at £3,500 a year for micro-businesses, this increases to £40,500 p.a. for companies with 100 to 250 employees.
Chris Jessop, managing director of health services at AXA PPP healthcare said: "Larger sized SMEs need to take a more active role in managing employee health and wellbeing. Providing access to confidential counselling, for example, can help employees to deal more effectively with the pressures in their lives - and help prevent them from spiralling into mental health problems.
"Measures such as this can have a big effect on making employees feel valued and in turn boost performance and productivity."