Building an Economy that Works for Everyone

Diminishing returns: Presenteeism costs businesses more than providing sick days to workers

Forbes Business points out that many people go to work sick, especially if they “just have a cold”. But it also notes that only 57% of private industry workers have the option to stay home and take a paid sick day, despite the low cost of doing so: just 23 cents per hour!

The upshot? Workers with a fever or more serious illness are more likely to show up to work, even if they shouldn’t — and that costs businesses money:

Yes, there’s a financial price to coming to work ill. It’s called presenteeism, and it costs employers $180 billion annually, according to a 2007 study by the Society for Human Resources Management. That’s more than employers shell out for employee absenteeism, which costs only $118 billion a year.

Sick employees don’t just affect their own work; they infect co-workers who then need to take time off themselves. (Or who come in sick and spread the germs further.)

Read more from Forbes: When Should you Call in Sick?

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