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The Dangers & Hidden Costs of Absenteeism at Work

Posted By Arnold & Itkin || 2-Jun-2015

As companies across the country try to do more with less, worker fatigue is becoming a growing problem as overworked employees struggle to keep up with increased demands. One consequence of having a fatigued work staff is that workers tend to ‘burn out” and take time off of work. The average absenteeism rate for an American worker is 3.1% - 64 hours each year.

Common Reasons for Unscheduled Absences

Not including scheduled vacation time, here is a breakdown of the reasons for unscheduled worker absences.

  • Illness – 30%
  • Personal needs – 27%
  • Family issues – 20%
  • Stress – 12%
  • Entitlement mentality – 12%

The Dangers of Worker Absenteeism

High rates of worker absenteeism lead to many safety risks. The lost productivity generally must be replaced by either less skilled workers or through overtime.

Excessive overtime rates and less skilled employees present a number of risks to companies, including:

  • Poor morale
  • Inability to meet demand
  • Reduced productivity
  • Rise in safety concerns
  • Increased injury rates
  • High turnover rates

The Hidden Costs of Worker Absenteeism

As noted earlier, the average American worker misses 64 work hours a year due to unscheduled absences. This costs companies an average of $2,660 per worker. For a company that employs 500 workers, that adds up to over $1.3 million a year in absenteeism costs. It is estimated that lost production due to absenteeism due to fatigued workers costs U.S. companies over $150 billion a year.

Click here to read more about absenteeism and other costs of excessive overtime.

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