SAM - small business saviour?

Issued: Fri, 13 May 2005 00:00:00 BST

UK businesses lose nearly £11 billion a year through sickness absence, averaging out as £567 per employee. A new project is set to tackle these figures through small Scottish businesses which make up more than 99 per cent of the public sector. The University of Glasgow's Healthy Working Lives Research Group (HWLRG), Scotland's Health at Work (SHAW), Safe and Healthy Working (S&HW) and Scottish Engineering (SE) are running the pilot

The SAM (Sickness Absence Management) Project is a new initiative which provides straightforward means of recording, classifying and analysing staff absence as well as offering advice on how to manage absence. Dr Ewan Macdonald, Head of HWLRG and Director of the SAM project, explains: 'Sickness absence is a major problem for small and medium sized enterprises and recording absence is the first step in managing absence. In this study employers will benefit not only from a tool to help them record and monitor absence, but also from advice and support on how to manage sickness absence. Employees may also be signposted to initiatives in their area to fit into the Scottish Executive's Healthy Working Lives strategy'.

The HWLRG will monitor the usefulness of the tool and gather data on the management of sickness absence and return to work. The group will also analyse the tool's contribution to wider organisational health and safety matters. It is hoped that SAM will lead to wider use of absence management tools to the advantage of small businesses in the future.

To find out more about the SAM project, or to volunteer to take part, call 0141 330 2076, or email The project website can be found at

Kate Richardson (

For more information contact the University Press Office on 0141 330 3683.

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