Employee Attendance Tracking a Top Priority

May 20, 2002 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Employers are concerned about controlling costs for time-off and disability programs, a new survey conducted by Mercer Human Resource Consulting and Marsh Inc. finds.

After controlling costs, the next most frequently cited goal of the survey’s participants was improving efforts to track absences and measure their costs. It’s a top priority at 44% of all the companies surveyed, and tops the list at 57% of large companies, those with over 10,000 workers.

Results of the survey indicated that the priorities of employers have changed. In the 2001 survey, 71% of the 476 employers surveyed said that controlling costs was among their top three program priorities, with 15% listing attraction and retention of employees as a top priority.  In contrast, the previous year’s survey found that employers placed attraction and retention on a par with controlling costs.

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Findings show that overall, respondents spent an average of 15% of payroll on absence-related benefits in 2000 – 10% on vacations and holidays and 4% on absence benefits.


In addition, when the survey was conducted last summer, 39% of the sample expected an increase in either their occupational or non-occupational disability claims.

Survey highlights include that:

  • 45% of respondents integrated their short-term disability and long-term disability plans under a single carrier or administrator, up from 39% of participants in the 2000 survey,
  • under respondents’ worker’s compensation programs, 76% of respondents had a formal return-to-work program in place, with more than half of those rating the program as very effective, and
  • the estimated ultimate loss rate for workers’ compensation among the respondents averaged $1.72 per $100 of payroll, a 10% increase over 2000

Banking Time

Results also show that:

  • 35% of respondents had Paid Time-Off (PTO) banks for either salaried or hourly employees,
  • 66% of respondents allowed employees to use these PTO days for care of sick family members,
  • while 22% of plans permitted their use for any type of personal emergency, and
  • 25% percent of respondents with vacation-only plans indicated they are considering moving to a PTO plan