Managing Workplace Absenteeism

Recently, there has been a great deal of attention given to the problem of workplace absenteeism. According to the most recent information from Statistics Canada, the average Canadian worker was away from work for the equivalent of almost two weeks in a year. Those 9.3 days lost translate to 2.4% of gross annual payroll, or $16.6 billion for Canadian employers in 2012.

Casual absences account for 80% of lost days for most businesses, and in most cases, these absences are not supported by any sort of medical note or certificate.

Absenteeism drives significant cost for the economy. In addition to lost productivity, companies may have to bring in a temporary worker or pay other workers overtime in order to attempt to recoup lost output. Product or project delivery may be delayed, customer satisfaction may lag, sales may be lost, employee morale may flag, key employees may get frustrated and leave...the indirect costs of absenteeism can be significant and long lasting.

Although some progress is being made in absence management, there is still significant opportunity in this area. Fifty-two percent of employers responding to the 2013 Sanofi Canada Healthcare Survey indicated that they have programs in place to formally track absences, an increase from 38% in the previous year’s survey results. However, only 32% of those respondents with absence tracking programs work with the