Absenteeism costs the UK economy £14bn per year Reuters

There is a strong business case for investing in the health of staff, according to the Confederation of British Industry.

The business body, which represents 190,000 UK firms, revealed that the average total cost to business for each absent employee is £975 ($1,633, €1,195).

These figures, which come from a report from the CBI and Medicash, would be even higher if productivity lost due to presenteeism – staff attending work despite being unwell – was included as well.

The CBI also warned that the direct costs of employee absence to the economy are estimated at more than £14bn per year.

"Having healthy staff is an essential part of running a healthy business," said Neil Carberry, director for employment and skills at the CBI.

"Investing in the wellbeing of employees is not only the right thing to do, it has real business benefits.

"It's time for businesses and government to work hand-in-hand to move from a reactive to proactive approach on health and wellbeing in the workplace."

The organisation has called on businesses to improve employee health by, among other things, taking a "proactive and preventative" approach to health and wellbeing to influence employee behaviour.

The CBI also recommended equipping managers with the knowledge and support to handle health conditions as swiftly as possible.