NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis

Absenteeism Costs Soar

November 6, 1998

With unemployment at a low rate of 4.6 percent, observers say workers are stressed by intensified productivity demands as employers try to do more with fewer workers. As as result, workers are increasingly taking unscheduled time off, costing firms millions of dollars, according to a report by CCH, a provider of human resources information.

  • As of May 1998, employee absenteeism had increased 25 percent in one year.
  • Employers lost 32 percent more in dollars due to absenteeism -- amounting to nearly $4 million for a large company.
  • The annual average cost per employee rose from $572 to as high as $757 -- figured from the employees' pay, and not including such indirect costs as paying other workers overtime or hiring temporary workers.
  • Instead of illness, family matters are now the most often cited reason for time off.

Stress and personal demands are also among the reasons for not showing up at work.

Although companies of all sizes are effected by the growing trend, midsize companies are reported to be especially hard hit.

Source: Stephanie Armour, "Workplace Absenteeism Soars 25 Percent, Costs Millions," USA Today, November 6, 1998.


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