Employees are absent for a total of 7.6 days per year, new research has indicated.

A study from the Chartered Institute for Personnel and Development (CIPD) shows that the number of days off taken by staff has now returned to the levels recorded in 2011 and 2010.

To tackle this, employers are making changes to working patterns and environments in a bid to manage long-term attendance, while increasing the use of flexible working to take care of short-term absence.

More than 70 per cent of managers said introducing flexible working opportunities in the last year has had a positive effect on absence.

Dr Jill Miller, CIPD Research Adviser and co-author of the report, said: "Changing demographics, including more people with caring responsibilities and the abolition of the default retirement age, means more people are looking to work untraditional hours.

"Offering more flexible working opportunities also helps to respond to the needs of the UK’s ageing workforce."