absenteeism workplace wellness

How Absenteeism Rates Are Negatively Impacting Businesses

Among the business benefits that accrue from working with a well-run workplace wellness program is helping reduce absenteeism rates, which can create significant productivity and health costs for companies.

Indeed, as we reported previously on a very useful study from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention examines “the association between employee absenteeism and 5 conditions: 3 risk factors (smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity) and 2 chronic diseases (hypertension and diabetes).”

The study is titled “Absenteeism and Employer Costs Associated With Chronic Diseases and Health Risk Factors in the US Workforce.”

The results were astounding: “We estimated that absenteeism costs associated with each of the 5 conditions — hypertension, diabetes, smoking, physical inactivity, and obesity — were greater than $2 billion per condition per year.”

Further, the CDC report states: “Workplace wellness programs have potential to reduce both medical and absenteeism costs. Although such programs, their comprehensiveness, and their potential returns vary, workplace programs are important partners in improving health.”

Now Workplace Insights reports that, in the UK, “higher than average absenteeism rates are impacting on SME’s (small and medium enterprises) profitability.”

The post states: “Nearly three quarters (71 percent) of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) say that staff absenteeism is having a big impact on profitability suggests a new survey… The research found that many UK SMEs are experiencing higher than average absenteeism in their business.”

It continues: According to the Office for National Statistics, the average number of sick days for a UK employee is 4.3 days a year and yet almost half (49 percent) of small business owners said staff take more than five days off each year. For 14 percent this figure rises to seven days or more. Yet despite higher than average sick days and the impact on profitability, few firms are taking positive action to reduce absenteeism in their business.”

And the costs can be significant.

Said Lisa Gillespie, director of HR services at Moorepay: “According to NICE, the National Institute for Healthcare Excellence, it is estimated that absenteeism costs the UK economy £15 billion a year.”