Many Canadian Employers not on top of Absenteeism Problems

June 15, 2005 ( - Most Canadian employers are not ready to address problems with work-related injuries or personal illness, despite increasing employee absenteeism and the costs associated with it.

That was a key conclusion of a new Hewitt Associates survey, according to a Hewitt news release. Responding firms estimated that the average direct cost per employee for all disability-related absences per year is $1,933 for union employees and $1,579 for non-union employees – costs that could ultimately prove substantial at a large employer, according to Hewitt.

“Some organizations estimate these figures could double if indirect costs such as administrative and replacement costs were included,” said Rochelle Morandini, Hewitt’s senior organizational health consultant, in the news release. “These numbers also don’t account for absence days that are often missed or are simply not tracked, or for lost productivity time when people remain at work while coping with injury or illness. Absenteeism c learly impacts a company’s bottom line, but without the necessary data, an organization can’t truly know how big that impact can be.”

Hewitt’s survey revealed that many companies struggle with tracking absenteeism, with 81% of respondents saying they would have difficulty producing five years of data related to disability absences. Thirty-eight percent of organizations attributed this to a lack of available resources, including technology (85%), people (70%) and data (47%), Hewitt said.

“It is extremely difficult to manage what you are not currently measuring,” said Morandini. “Senior leadership should be concerned about the fact that this large cost drain is not being fully identified and measured.”

Copies of the survey report are available from Hewitt by calling (416) 225-5001 or by e-mail at .