A new website is to calculate the cost of employee absence on firms.
Set up by BUPA, the Sickness absence calculator uses data from the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) to assess how much money they lose when staff members take days off sick.
For instance, the number of days lost to sickness in the housing association sector runs at an average of ten, while sickness costs £606 on average to employers.
"Businesses need to understand the impact that sickness absence can have on them, in terms of their performance, productivity and efficiency, as well as the effect it will have on their employees," said Ann Greenwood, BUPA's director of business markets.
"The figures will be a shock to many companies but businesses can take preventative action and private health cover can be a major step towards achieving a cleaner financial bill of health."
Figures from the CBI show that the cost of absence to the UK economy rose to over £13 billion in 2005.