The Link Between Presenteeism, Financial stress, and Paid Sick Days

group health insurance

We are now a year into the pandemic. This has been a very stressful year as Canadians have faced financial struggles, busy lives working from home while having kids at home from school. Bills, kids, work, and shutdowns have brought on more stress, more mental health issues for employees, and more concerns for employers about “Presenteeism.”

What is “Presenteeism”?

Employees who are actually sick but continue to come to work are a problem, for themselves, their co-workers, and their employers. One of the main reasons employees come to work when they shouldn’t is if they don’t have paid sick leave. When finances are tight, employees are reluctant to see their paycheck carved down because of unpaid sick leave, so they would rather come to work sick and tough it out.

Unfortunately, this can become a slippery slope as that employee’s recovery time from their illness will be dramatically slower if they come to work than if they stayed at home in bed. But with the pandemic, the additional worry is that patients with COVID-19 symptoms who dismiss them as “just a cold” might be coming to work and passing the virus on to others. Another issue is that when these employees are at work when they shouldn’t be, they aren’t performing at their best, so the work they need to do is sub-par. This means their work will need to be re-done or result in problems and errors for the employer to sort out. 

Providing Sick Leave Benefits

At the end of the day, the cost of providing sick leave benefits is lower than most plan managers might think, and they might end up saving the company money in the long run.

Employees who come to work with mental health issues unaddressed are more challenging to identify, and to support. Individuals with mental health problems need to have proper diagnosis, treatment, and support from mental health care professionals in order to improve and heal.  Since the onset of the pandemic, mental health is among the top three short and long-term disability trends for some businesses, and the cause of much higher absenteeism. So, on the absenteeism side of the equation, mental health is driving absence costs and disability costs.

One study reveals that workers without paid sick leave experience higher levels of psychological stress and are more likely to report that their distress interfered with their daily life, compared with workers who had paid sick leave. What employers need to understand is that financial stress on their employees does impact their mental and physical wellness. Having paid sick leave can reduce some of that stress and promote faster recovery in employees who are sick and at work when they shouldn’t be at work.

At Health Risk Services, we come alongside benefits managers to assist with looking at the data and creating paid sick leave for employees in the workplace. We would like you to know more about how Health Risk Services can assist you with a 2021 plan to add Paid Sick Leave benefits for your employees. Please schedule a Complimentary Consultation with us.

At Health Risk Services we will Empathize, Educate, and Empower you and your team into 2021! 

To schedule your Complimentary Consultation with Health Risk Services, please call 403-236-9430 OR email: [email protected]