Fight against Absenteeism in the Public Service in France and the United Kingdom: Towards a Comprehensive approach of the Problem

Claude Barreix


The purpose of this study was to put forward the concerns related to absenteeism due to sickness in the public services and the ways to fight against it.

Based on two examples drawn from UK Royal Mail company and French local authority  experiences,  this study considers first of all two main means of tackling absenteeism, currently used in numerous entities both public and private: coercive measures through medical controls and financial incentives. Even if these bodies got good results in using these two levers, these turned out not to be sufficient enough, on their own, to really tackle absenteeism.

However Royal mail and certain French local authorities have met this better challenge in implementing a comprehensive approach of the phenomenon which did not neglect repressive and reward actions but introduced the measure and monitor of sick leaves. They also introduced in their human resource management appropriate managerial measures, particularly related to communication, and specific actions tending to improve the employees’ health and well being at work

The study presents some assessing elements tending to show the efficiency of a holistic approach of absenteeism.


Keywords: Absenteeism Control; Incentive; Managerial Actions; Health, Well-Being At Work

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International Journal of Human Resource Studies  ISSN 2162-3058


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