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What is Presenteeism Costing your Company?

It is estimated that presenteeism costs Canadian businesses 15 to 25 billion dollars per year.

These costs are from lost productivity when the physical and mental health issues (such as migraines, and depression) of employees inhibit the workers ability to perform to their full potential. Employees are physically present, but due to a physical or emotional issue, distracted to the point of reduced productivity

Without preventative health and workplace measures, the impact of presenteeism will likely grow, especially as the workforce ages. The direct impact of presenteeism is not always as apparent as absenteeism, because it is harder to tell how much an illness affects a person’s performance than to know how often someone does not show up for work; but the following areas are effected

  1. Quantity of work: people may work more slowly than usual.
  2. Quality of work: they might make more mistakes.
  3. Increase financial burden from  work-related accidents & equipment breakage.
  4. Absences related to family-work life balance, conflicts and interpersonal problems.

According to Statistics Canada, the average number of days absent per employee annually is 7.5 days or 3% of salary. A recent study by Harvard Business Review found that lost productivity from presenteeism was between 7.5 to 10 times greater than productivity loss from absenteeism. The findings from this study are shown below


Estimated Salary $50,000

Range of Costs



Presenteesim (7.5 to 10x absenteeism)



Absenteeism ( 7.5 days, 3% salary)



WCB (2% -3% salary)



Short term (3.4% – 5% salary)



Long Term (0.85% to 1.5% salary)



Total Cost




This tells us that for every $50,000 in salary it cost the company $15,875 to $21,250 in lost productivity due to physical and health issues annually per employee. This figure doesn’t even include the high cost of replacing an employee.



What can employers do to curb this cost?

“Forward thinking” organizations who have reallocated 20%-50% of benefit dollars to proactive programs to reduce the future costs of presenteeism and have found a 300%-500% return on investment


SureHire Occupational Testing Wellness Program is designed to help companies reduce presenteeism and lower the risk of employees developing or poorly managing their work-life concerns. Employers need to make a concerted effort to cultivate a workplace full of healthy, happy, and highly functioning employees. A well-balanced work environment will go a long way toward meeting productivity and profit goals.


Click here to read more on this study:


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