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that more than half of Canadian employees see presenteeism as a
serious issue within their workplace. Presenteeism is defined as
time spent at work while not productively engaged in work.
The new report, based on a survey of employees, employers
and physicians across Canada, found that eight out of 10 employee
respondents self-reported experience with presenteeism, with
81 per cent indicating that they have gone into work while they
were not able to perform as well as they would have liked. When
asked why, 47 per cent indicated that physical sickness played a
role, followed closely by stress/anxiety (40 per cent). Almost one
in four (22 per cent) blamed issues with their work/workplace or
co-workers/managers and 15 per cent specified depression.
The survey also showed that employees are more likely to see
presenteeism as a serious issue than employers. The majority of
employees (53 per cent) indicated that presenteeism is a serious issue
in their workplace, versus 32 per cent of employers. Employees
are also more likely to see presenteeism as a more serious issue in
their workplace than absenteeism, while employers are more likely
to see the reverse.
“Despite reports of the multi-billion-dollar impact of employee
absenteeism on the Canadian economy, as well as evidence of
the mitigating effect of integrated absence management strategies,
many employers may be unaware of the extent and causes of presenteeism
and absenteeism issues within their own organization,”
said Paula Allen, vice president of research and integrative solutions
at Morneau Shepell. “In fact, our 2014 Compensation and
HR Trends research shows that 64 per cent of employers do not
track the cost of incidental absence and 56 per cent do not know
the average duration of their short-term disability claims.”
According to the current report, there are different workplace
factors that can predict the reason for absenteeism, be it illness or
non-illness related. When asked to identify the reason for their
last absence, the majority of employees (52 per cent) indicated the
10 ❚ SEPTEMBER 2015 ❚ HR PROFESSIONAL