Absenteeism Problems And Costs: Causes, Effects And Cures

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Article written by:

Mehmet C. Kocakülâh, University of Southern Indiana, USA
Ann Galligan Kelley, Providence College, USA
Krystal M. Mitchell, Life Point Hospitals, Inc., USA
Margaret P. Ruggieri, Providence College, USA

Employee absences are both costly and disruptive for business, and the trend has been increasing steadily over the years. Personal illness and family issues are cited as the primary reason for unplanned absences. Employers have been attempting to determine the validity of these illnesses and offer incentives and propose possible solutions to mitigate these absences, including those caused by family issues. Illness, family responsibilities, personal issues and stress all take a toll on the worker which in turn affects morale, absences and productivity in the workplace. Some sources including Statistics Canada cite that absenteeism approximates 15-20 percent of payroll (direct and indirect) costs. This is significant. Canada Newswire stated on May 23, 2008 that absenteeism translates into losses of over $16 billion in salary expenses. The purpose of this paper is to identify the leading factors of absenteeism, possible “cures” that exist for these factors, and present results of companies that have implemented programs to combat the problem of absenteeism. It is important that businesses determine if they in fact have an absenteeism problem and thus consider utilizing some of the proposed solutions offered in this paper.

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