Contributors to Workplace Absenteeism and Healthcare Benefits Costs: Ipsos-Reid survey

Toronto, ON � According to the latest Ipsos-Reid survey conducted with WarrenShepell, Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPAO) conference participants indicate that the top two contributors to absenteeism and/or health costs in the workplace are �depression/anxiety/other mental health disorders� (66%) and �stress� (60%). The other ranked causes include �relationships with supervisor/manager� (44%), �childcare issues� (35%), �co-worker conflict in the workplace� (28%), �parenting issues� (21%), �addictions or substance use/abuse issues� (20%), and �eldercare issues� (19%).

When it comes to �the most serious organizational issue� with respect to causing the most absenteeism, or having the most impact on health benefits claims costs, 31% of HRPAO conference participants indicated �stress� as the most serious issue, with another 14% identifying �poor relationships with supervisor/manager,� 10% each for �childcare issues� and �depression, anxiety or other mental health disorders.� Less common responses were �addictions and substance abuse� (7%), �personal relationship problems� (5%), �co-worker conflict in the workplace� (3%), �eldercare issues� (3%), and �coping with change� (1%). The remaining 18% did not provide an answer.

In order to address these issues, organizations undertook various measures in 2003. Two-thirds (64%) of respondents �implemented leadership or management training programs,� six in ten (59%) �implemented employee assistance or other wellness initiatives,� an equal number (59%) �delivered wellness or other training sessions.� Just under half (46%) �enacted formal corporate policies/procedures to address these issues.� Another 40% �enlisted specialized medial or other healthcare resources on a case-by-case basis,� 31% �increased/decreased or otherwise changed claims coverage,� 29% �outsourced to benefits consulting firm or other consultant to address issue,� and another 29% �created an on-site program or facility to address issue.�

Looking ahead to 2004, while one-third (35%) of HRPAO conference participants say their organization plans to keep their budget the same for these types of employee programs, one in five (19%) plan to dedicate more of their budget to these programs. One in ten (9%) plan to contribute less. The remaining 38% don�t know or did not provide an answer.

These are the findings of an Ipsos-Reid/WarrenShepell poll conducted between February 18 and February 20, 2004 at the Human Resources Professionals Association of Ontario (HRPAO) annual conference in Toronto, Ontario. The survey is based on self-completed questionnaires from 78 conference participants.

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