The cost of employee absence to our economy is of such staggering numbers (Canada Lost $16.6 Billion according to the Conference Board of Canada. This equates to the average worker being absent almost two full work weeks ranging from time off for minor illnesses to longer-term leaves of absence).
“Absenteeism is more than a human resources issue. Unless organizations start proactively addressing absenteeism, this trend will most likely accelerate as the workforce ages,” said Nicole Stewart, author of Missing in Action: Absenteeism Trends in Canadian Organizations. “Organizations can begin to address the issues through better tracking of the number of absences and reasons for absenteeism.”
From other Conference Board of Canada conclusions:
- The average absenteeism rate in 2011 was 9.3 days per full-time employee. The public sector absenteeism rate was higher than that of the private sector.
- Despite the enormous cost of absenteeism, less than half of Canadian organizations currently track employee absences.
- Absenteeism rates were highest in the health care and social assistance sector, followed by government and public administration.
- The economic losses identified in the study do not consider any indirect costs that might also affect organizations, such as replacement costs for absent workers, administrative expenses, or negative effects on other workers or customers.
Early intervention dramatically improves return to work rates (RTW) but requires an in-depth understanding throughout an organization about the services their employees can access, their role in supporting returning employees and the critical part they have to play in ensuring absence management best practice in their organization.
Reducing the cost of absence for an organization is certainly possible and does not necessarily equate to significantly increased spending however. And any spending is typically offset with higher returns in the areas of productivity, reduced conflict, fewer absences, etc.
One key solution is a disability management program offering the full, integrated spectrum of RTW services. As described Homewood Health’s own disability management offering:
Effective return-to-work support must go beyond ‘managing’ disability to include an extensive variety of tools for today’s complex claims. Homewood Health™ offers access in a timely manner to a full suite of services. Our comprehensive continuum of care provides high quality adjudication and claims management supported by access to independent psychological evaluations, specialized inpatient/outpatient treatment options to support recovery and availability of facilitation, and conflict management at work. Homewood Health™ provides research-based outcome-driven support for employees. Our treatment focus is always to support a sustainable return to health and a timely return to work after illness and/or injury.
We apply a team approach to treatment planning. Homewood psychiatrists work with the treating physician to ensure best results for timely and successful return to work. Occupational health professionals examine function working with psychologists and psychiatrists for successful return to work.
Our disability management model helps to reduce the cost of absence by increasing the likelihood of sustained and successful return to work for both short-term disability (STD) and long-term disability (LTD) claims. With our model we recognize that it is critical that treatment incorporates strategies for successful work reintegration in order to minimize recurrence and relapse.
We do this by using a more comprehensive multi-disciplinary team approach. Our team of health professionals is comprised of psychiatrists, occupational health professionals, case managers, psychologists, physicians and specialized clinicians who work together to positively alter functioning and clinical outcomes.
This approach has strong outcomes in resolution of more chronic situations, in particular LTD claims that require a full review, team planning and a new approach to resolving issues that have negatively impacted return to health and work readiness. Our team looks at all factors that support and manage recovery. This includes workplace interventions that remove barriers to return to work through facilitation, return preparation, and longer-term support for returning employees such as relapse prevention and after care.
For more information about resolving your challenges with employee absence and disability management, or any other issues relating to the mental health of employees, addictions, or improving employee and workplace well-being, feel free to contact Homewood Health.
About Homewood Health
Homewood Health is the Canadian leader in mental health and addiction services. With over 130 years of experience, we achieve outstanding outcomes every day through our national network of nearly 4,000 employees and clinical experts, and through the Homewood Health Centre — one of Canada’s largest and leading facilities for medical treatment of mental health and addiction disorders. Our complete suite of services includes organizational wellness, employee and family assistance programs, assessments, outpatient and inpatient treatment, recovery management, return to work and family support services, customized to meet the specialized needs of individuals and organizations. Homewood Health is redefining mental health and addiction services to help Canadians live healthier, more productive and more fulfilling lives.
NOTE: The content and opinions offered in Healthy Workplaces blog posts do not necessarily reflect the formal stance of Homewood Health, unless otherwise identified. We bring this information forward in the interests of openly sharing valued information in this time of fast-growing online conversations and knowledge.