Employers Equate Employee Absence With Productivity Loss

Nov. 20, 2002
Nearly one-fifth of human resources professionals recently polled say that employee absences are out of control.

CORE Inc., a leading national provider of disability and employee absence management, polled human resources and benefits professionals about managing employee absences at the 15th Annual Benefits Management Forum & Expo in Dallas last month.

Sixty-six percent of those polled report company productivity to be a top concern in managing employee absence.

"The survey results show that today employers are quick to identify the strong connection between employee absence and productivity loss," said Rebecca Auerbach, vice president of research for CORE's WorkAbility Division. "Employers are thinking beyond the direct impact on benefit costs because employee absence affects so many other areas of an organization: production, payroll, morale even revenues."

Other survey highlights include:

  • Over half of respondents (54 percent) consider employee absence to be a potential problem at their companies. Sixteen percent think employee absences at their companies are out of control.
  • Two-thirds (63 percent) of those polled say their employees' disability durations are determined by a treating physician. Surprisingly, only 6 percent rely on formal clinical guidelines or protocols to guide disability duration decisions.
  • Almost half of respondents (48 percent) either feel that Family and Medical Leave Act regulations have contributed to a noticeable increase in employee absences (28 percent) or simply do not know what effect the FMLA has had (28 percent).
  • Twenty-three percent of those polled find that the average duration of non-occupational disabilities at their companies seems to be longer than it should be.

"Companies that feel employee absenteeism is out of control or even a potential problem need to concentrate on understanding the connection between all sources of unplanned employee absence," added Auerbach. "The most effective absence management strategies encompass the broadest range of absences, such as short- and long-term disabilities and FMLA absences."

About the Author

Sandy Smith

Sandy Smith is the former content director of EHS Today, and is currently the EHSQ content & community lead at Intelex Technologies Inc. She has written about occupational safety and health and environmental issues since 1990.

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