Mental health conditions see the greatest impact on the reduction of employee absence from the use of early intervention services (EIS) a report for Unum has found.
The impact on mental health of EIS was an 18% reduction in the duration of absence.
The average for all conditions was 17%, equivalent to 60 weeks for the average duration of long-term absence of seven years.
For every £100 an employer spends on a group income protection policy (GIP) they receive £61 back from avoiding the costs associated with sickness absence, the report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research (Cebr) for Unum found.
The report also found that this increases by 10% if the employer uses an EIS to £66, with the long-term sickness absence rate expected to grow by 4% by 2030.
Peter O'Donnell, CEO at Unum, said; "The huge costs associated with long-term absence could be mitigated by investing in GIP policies and actively taking up these services.
"Advisers have a key role in educating clients on the impact stepping in early can have.
"As a starting point, clients with existing policies should be encouraged to take up the services they have access to."