Employees May Not Be Faking It as Much As You Think

 

Employers Think Non-Genuine Days Higher Than Reality
 
Taking a fake "sickie" is well-known as a great Australian tradition but research shows the problem in 2012 may be more of an office myth.  A study shows that bosses think non-genuine sick days account for up to 25 percent of absenteeism, when they actually account for less than 15 percent.
 
The research from Direct Health Solutions – an absence management firm – found sick days cost the economy about $28 billion a year and CEO Paul Dundon said bosses found this easy to blame on workers.
 
 “They’re focused too much on the odd case of a ‘sickie’ and not on the genuine factors absence,” Dundon said.  The 2012 Absence Management Survey found that businesses believed the most common reason workers took days off was for unexpected illness.  But the second most common reason cited by business was that employees viewed their paid sick days as an entitlement.
 
 
Workplaces Have Absenteeism Culture
 
DHS said some workplaces have an “absenteeism culture” where a certain level of absence is tolerated – typically the paid entitlement level.  The study also found absenteeism was higher in large organizations with more than 1000 employees.
 
“It becomes more complex to manage the bigger a business becomes, and it’s easier to fly under the radar and when that happens it kind of develops a culture of absenteeism,” Dundon said.
Absence levels were also 21 percent higher in unionized environments, and 20 percent higher in the public sector.
 
 
Proper Systems Not In Place to Manage
 
“[In the public sector] they’ve got more entitlements, and they don’t have proper systems in place to manage it,” Dundon noted. “[Unions] make it more challenging to manage – they see it as a right or entitlement that shouldn’t be managed or addressed. Managers often avoid the issue because it’s too hard or they’re too fearful.”
 
 
Telecommunications Highest, IT Workers Lowest
 
The telecommunications and utilities industry had the highest number of days lost at 13.1, followed by travel, tourism and hospitality at 13 and outsources service providers at 11.1.
 
IT workers had the lowest number of sick days at 4.6, followed by retail workers at 6.5 and manufacturing and production and 6.5.  Dundon added industries that required workers to deal directly with customers had higher numbers of sick days.
 
“There’s a lot to do with workplace flexibility – people in IT can bring their work home,” he said.
According to Dundon, the retail figure was disproportionately low because the industry had a high level of casual labor and did not track sick leave well.  And manufacturing and production had a big drop in absence levels from 2011, down from 8.5 days to 6.5.
 
“There is a lot of risk and insecurity in that industry at the moment,” Dundon said. The study also found that half of employers think it is easy for workers to obtain a medical certificate even when they are not sick.
 
As Dundon noted, there are more effective ways to manage sick days, including conducting return to work interviews after every absence and centralizing a company’s record of days off.
 
 
Number of sick days per year by industry sector:
 
Telecommunications & Utilities – 13.1 days
 
Travel, Tourism, Hospitality – 13.0 days
 
Outsourced Service Provider – 11.1 days
 
Public Services/Government – 10.3 days
 
Banking, Finance & Insurance – 9.1 days
 
Construction – 8.5 days
 
Transport & Logistics – 8.1 days
 
Healthcare – 8.0 days
 
Non Profit – 7.6 days
 
Media – 7.0 days
 
Manufacturing & Production – 6.5 days
 
Retail – 6.5 days
 
Information Technology – 4.6 days
 

Author Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher.  www.reduceyourworkerscomp.com Contact mstack@reduceyourworkerscomp.com

 

 


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Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Health Promotion Efforts Keep Employees On The Job

Workers participating in a "comprehensive" workplace health promotion program had a one-fifth reduction in absenteeism during the first year, according to a study in the April Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, official publication of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine (ACOEM).



Led by Maurice Niessen of the NDDO Institute for Prevention and Early Diagnostics, Amsterdam, the researchers evaluated a web-based worksite health promotion project at a large Dutch financial services company. The program used a "computerized knowledge-based reasoning system," which integrated the best available risk prediction equations with research-proven prevention and early diagnostic steps. [WCx]


The program emphasized low-pressure, low-intensity interventions — geared not only to employees' individual health risks, but also to their readiness to make lifestyle changes. Another key feature was assessment of mental health issues leading to burnout, a major cause of work disability in the Netherlands. 


Of about 11,250 employees invited, 3,900 enrolled in the program. After one year, the estimated absenteeism rate was approximately four percent for employees who participated in the program versus five percent for nonparticipants. Thus employees participating in the program had a 20 percent reduction in absenteeism in the first year. 


A growing number of companies are interested in workplace health promotion programs, with the goal of reducing health risk factors that lead to illness and lost job productivity. Studies of previous programs have not consistently shown reduced rates of absenteeism.


The comprehensive worksite health promotion program evaluated in the new study led to a significant drop in absenteeism rates. In fact, the improvement was achieved faster than expected; one year is not really long enough for lifestyle changes to have a meaningful impact on the risk of chronic diseases. [WCx]


Niessen and colleagues speculate that the program may have improved employees' psychological well-being or stress levels perhaps as a result of making healthy lifestyle changes or getting help with mental health problems.


Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. He is an editor and contributor to Workers Compensation Management Program: Reduce Costs 20% to 50%. Contact: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

 


 

 Editor Michael B. Stack, CPA, Director of Operations, Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. is an expert in employer communication systems and part of the Amaxx team helping companies reduce their workers compensation costs by 20% to 50%. He is a writer, speaker, and website publisher. Contact Mstack@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com. 
WORKERS COMP MANAGEMENT MANUAL:  www.WCManual.com
MODIFIED DUTY CALCULATOR:  www.LowerWC.com/transitional-duty-cost-calculator.php

 

 

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.

 

©2012 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact us at: Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Workplace Absence Costing British Economy Big Bucks

Great Britain's economy lost 190 million working days to absence in 2010, with each employee taking an average of 6.5 days off sick, according to the latest CBI/Pfizer Absence and Workplace Health Survey.
 
 
Despite the introduction of the new “fit note” in 2010, the rate of absence last year was marginally higher than in 2009, when employees averaged 6.4 sick days, the lowest rate since the survey began in 1987. The 190 million days cost employers £17bn, including over £2.7bn from 30.4 million days of non-genuine sickness absence – so-called “sickies”. This does not include the other indirect costs of absence, like lower customer service and lost productivity. (WCxKit)
 
 
This year’s survey is the first since the launch of the fit note – the new medical certificate focused on what people can do rather than what they can’t, designed to aid returns to work and reduce absence costs. Despite strong support for the initiative, employers have been disappointed by their experience so far: 66% of firms said that it had not yet helped their rehabilitation policy, and 71% were not confident that GPs were using the fit note differently from the old sick note.
 
 
Katja Hall, CBI Chief Policy Director, noted, “There’s been no let up in the cost of absence to the UK economy, which runs into billions of pounds a year. Although many organizations have been successful in bringing down levels of absence, the gap between the best and worst has widened.
 
 
The substantial costs of absence to the economy put a premium on managing longer-term absence well. The fit note is a great initiative, which could play an important role in helping people back to work and stopping them slide into long-term absence. But employers are far from convinced that the scheme is working properly and don’t think GPs are getting the necessary training.
 
 
The launch of the electronic fit note should be an ideal opportunity for the Department of Work and Pensions to extend the reach of its training program and address GPs’ engagement. There can be no room for complacency in addressing the so-called sick note culture.”
 
 
On the cost of “sickies”, Hall added, “Sadly, more days were lost to non-genuine absence than in 2009 and the cost of these bogus sick days is over £2.7bn a year. Sickies are unfair on colleagues and damage employers' competitiveness at a critical point in the recovery.”
 
 
Employees in the public sector took more sick days than those in the private sector, an average of 8.1 days a year compared with 5.9 days. This represents an improvement on last year’s average of 8.3 days and a marked improvement since 2007’s average of 9 days. Far more absence in the public sector is long-term than in the private sector, and reducing this will be key to reaching private sector levels. (WCxKit)
 
 
The CBI estimates that if the public sector could reach private sector absence levels, it would save the taxpayer around £5bn by 2015-16. The cost of absence is much higher in the public sector – a median of £1040 compared with £710 in the private sector, or a difference of 46%.
 
 
Author Robert Elliott, executive vice president, Amaxx Risks Solutions, Inc. has worked successfully for 20 years with many industries to reduce Workers Compensation costs, including airlines, healthcare, printing/publishing, pharmaceuticals, retail, hospitality and manufacturing. See www.LowerWC.com for more information. Contact:Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com or 860-553-6604.

 
Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws vary. You should consult with your insurance broker or agent about workers comp issues.
 
©2011 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com.

Raffles Can Enhance Supervisor Involvement and Reinforce Employee Teams

Step 4. Supervisor Involvement

Supervisors also participate to enhance communication and to reinforce employee teams. Each month, employee raffle cards are delivered to employees personally by their immediate supervisors. The completed raffle card is returned by employees to their supervisors within five days. It is crucial supervisors deliver the raffle cards to each employee personally to establish rapport with and reinforce their co-participation in the program. Supervisor involvement facilitates communication. Where there may have been no active communication between the supervisor and a given employee before, there is now. Supervisors are encouraged to actively motivate employees to work toward the corporate goals of absence management by participating in this venture.

Program Specifics
The absence management program is preceded by intensive communication to raise employee awareness, using employee brochures, posters with absence management themes, public posting of the teams and players and eligible prizes.

Raffle cards are distributed at the first of each month. The cards are the employee’s entry for the monthly raffle and contain monthly absence management messages. Each card has a space where employees can comment on absence management policies and procedures. When employees return the signed raffle cards to their supervisors, they are, in effect, actively participating in the absence management reduction program.

Contest suspense builds until the raffle drawing at the end of each month. If there are disqualifying absences, the names of the employees and their teams appear next to the prize with the words “Disqualified by” preceding the names.

Raffle cards are put into clear drawing bowls at the appropriate time and location, and the drawing held with as many employees present are possible. Each name is announced as the card is drawn, the team lists checked to determine eligibility. If employees are eligible, their eligibility is announced. If the employee is ineligible, this too is announced

Values
Value systems quite often exist in relative states. Though each individual holds personal values, these values may be quite flexible and subject to change when sufficient pressure is exerted from the social environment to change those values.

Employers who want to communicate and enforce a change in employee value systems may consider team-building an effective communication tool. The team-building approach to absence management is a proven way to reinforce company standards. At the same time, team-building alters the value systems of employees and ultimately reduce the costs associated with chronic absenteeism.

The survival of each teammate depends on the performance of the team. The impact of team-building and peer pressure has far reaching ramifications on the employer’s ability to control costs resulting from needless absenteeism.

Try the WC Cost Calculator to show the REAL COST of work comp.
Look at WC 101 for the basics about workers comp.
Workers’ Comp Kit® is a web-based online Assessment, Benchmarking and Cost Containment system for employers. It provides all the materials needed to reduce your costs significantly in 85% less time than if you designed a program from scratch.

Do not use this information without independent verification. All state laws are different. Consult with your corporate legal counsel before implementing any cost containment programs.

©2008 Amaxx Risk Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved under International Copyright Law. If you would like permission to reprint this material, contact Info@ReduceYourWorkersComp.com

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