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Lie detector tests to combat employee absence

Published: Tuesday, 13 May 2008   Category: Life after graduation

Employers are set strike back against skiving employees - using lie detector technology.

With around eight out of ten employers surveyed by employment law firm Peninsula claiming to have suffered from staff absence during the recent warm weather, employer groups have indicated a willingness to introduce the Voice Risk Analysis (VRA) system to test whether workers are lying when they call in sick.

VRA was praised last week by the anti-fraud minister James Plaskitt, following successful pilot schemes carried out by seven local councils to detect false benefit claims.

Lawrence Knowles, managing director of software and outsourcing firm Midland HR, said VRA could make a huge difference to employers in combating staff absence, claiming employees would “think twice” about lying if they knew they were being subjected to a detector test.

“If lie detectors can detect benefit fraud, then why not look at the application of the technology in absence management?" he suggested.

Susan Anderson, director of human resources policy at the Confederation of British Industry, said research had shown staff absence to cost firms up to £1.6 billion per year, with employers believing 12 per cent of “sickies” to be dubious.

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