Workplace Absenteeism Damages the Bottom Line Credit: Empty desks image via Shutterstock

Absenteeism is taking its toll on U.S. business, a new study finds.

Research from the ADP Research Institute revealed that half of mid-size businesses and 54 percent of large businesses report that absenteeism reduces productivity in the workplace, while one-third of both mid-size and large businesses believe employees missing work reduces profitability.

In addition, nearly 30 percent of companies think absent workers leads to increased operational costs.

"Our survey shows that most employers in the U.S. do not conduct systemic benchmarks and do not fully quantify the impact of absence on their business," said Tim Clifford, president of benefits services and talent management at ADP. "Although companies are aware of the resulting losses in productivity, many are unwilling or unable to take explicit steps to control absenteeism."

The study found that health care-related issues are the top reason for employees not being at work and account for about half of all absences in both large and mid-size companies.

 Companies that are promoting wellness programs are seeing the results pay off, however. The research shows that more half of mid-size and large employers report that these programs have significantly reduced the number of employees missing work.

The survey also found that large employers are much more likely to discipline employees for excess truancy than mid-size employers.

The study was based on surveys of benefit decision-makers at 254 businesses with between 50 and 999 employees and 249 from organizations with 1,000 or more employees. The ADP Research Institute is a specialized group within Automatic Data Processing Inc., a provider of business outsourcing solutions.

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