Economic impact of presenteeism exceeds direct medical care costs
The assessment of chronic health conditions on work performance, absence, and total economic impact for employers. Collins JJ, Baase CM, Sharda CE, Ozminkowski RJ, Nicholson S, Billotti GM, et al. J Occup Environ Med. 2005. 47: 547-557.
To estimate the cost associated with absenteeism and on-the-job work impairment (presenteeism) attributable to health risks.
7,797 employees of Dow Chemical Company (US) who participated in an online survey between July and September 2002.
Data collected from medical and pharmaceutical claims costs were compared with smoking status, the presence of chronic health conditions and various biometric factors.
- For participants with a chronic condition, average absenteeism during one month varied between 0.9 and 5.9 hours, dependent on the condition.
- On-the-job work impairment for those with a chronic condition varied between a 17.8% and a 36.4% decrement in ability to function. This was also dependent on the condition; 36.4% for depression, 23.8% for breathing disorders, 21.7% for back and/or neck disorders, and 18.2% for allergies.
- The average cost per employee with one or more medical conditions was US$2,278 for medical care, $661 for absenteeism, and $6,721 for presenteeism.
- Extrapolated to the whole of the workforce, the total cost of chronic conditions was estimated at 10.7% of total labor costs.
What does this mean?
When assessing the overall costs of common chronic illnesses, the costs associated with presenteeism far exceed direct medical care costs.