Disability management programs can curb absenteeism: Conference Board

Absenteeism is a business issue for Canadian organizations — it decreases productivity substantially in their workplaces and in the economy as a whole. Organizations can limit the negative effects of absent workers by implementing an effective disability management program.
A new Conference Board of Canada publication outlines how employers can institute comprehensive workplace disability management programs to help control health-related costs.
"There is a solid business case for implementing a disability management program in the workplace," said Louise Chenier, senior research associate. "In 2011–12, absenteeism cost Canadian organizations an average of 2.4 per cent of gross payroll. This may seem like an insignificant amount at first, but it adds up to an overall loss of more than $16.6 billion to the Canadian economy."

The Conference Board study, Creating an Effective Workplace Disability Management Program, outlines the common elements of successful programs, which include:
• a focus on disability prevention and health promotion
• a commitment to the safe and timely return to work of employees on health-related leaves of absence
• an organizational approach that sustains the objectives of the disability management program.
This publication is the second of a three-part series. The first publication, Missing in Action—Absenteeism Trends in Canadian Organizations, was released in September.
The third publication, Disability Management: Opportunities for Employer Action, provides advice and guidance for organizations to more effectively manage absenteeism. These findings will be released late October.