Health promotion scheme associated with reduced absenteeism
Influence of participation in a worksite health-promotion program on disability days. Schultz AB, Lu C, Barnett TE, Yen LT, McDonald T, Hirschland D, Edington DW. J Occup Environ Med. 2002. 44: 776-780.
To assess the impact of participation in a work-based health promotion program on absenteeism.
2,596 US-based male employees of General Motors Corporation who participated in a health promotion program between 1995 and 2000. Although invited, an additional 1,593 chose not to participate.
The number of sickness absence days (both long-term and short-term) was compared between participants of the program and nonparticipating individuals from 1995 to 2000.
- The proportion of employees absent due to illness or disability increased by 160% for the health promotion strategy group and by 252% for the nonparticipants during the study period.
- Similarly, an increase in the average number of annual sickness absence days per person was seen in both groups; however, those who did not participate had a greater absence rate than those who did (23.2 vs 17.2 days).
- Cost-to-benefit analysis found a return of US$2.3 for every $1 invested in the program.
What does this mean?
The reductions in absenteeism that can be achieved with health promotion programs can result in a strong cost-to-benefit ratio.