Absenteeism and Presenteeism

Absenteeism and Presenteeism

It seems there has been so much focus placed on baby boomer retirement and lesser attention has been paid to the issues of absenteeism and presenteeism related to eldercare, creating a burden on older employees. 


Absenteeism may refer to an employee’s intentional or habitual absence from work.

Presenteeism refers to working while sick can cause productivity loss, poor health, exhaustion and workplace epidemics


1Research indicates 91% of individuals providing care to aging parents are feeling stressed out and/or irritated and 76% of them find the needs of their older loved ones completely overwhelming.


This is very likely leading to pressure on the workplace. Employees may feel stressed out and preoccupied, be conducting research on company time, or may even be missing work altogether in order to look after their parents.

According to Statistics Canada, in 2016, civil servants missed a record number of workdays, according to annual job market statistics. All being said, the average public sector worker missed 13.5 days of work last year, the most ever


Workers in Canada took an average of 9.3 sick days in 2011 (9.5 days in 2016 according to Statistics Canada3) with people in health care and social assistance taking the most days off, a report from the Conference Board of Canada shows.  Those absences cost the economy about $16.6 billion, based on salary cost for the days lost, it estimates. That figure does not include the cost of replacement workers2.


There is a way to help employees with eldercare responsibilities. Very often, eldercare providers will partner with companies and/or their Employee Assistance Program (EAP) providers to inform employees about the various options available to them. They also do preventative works such as seminars to educate employees on ways to prepare themselves if a crisis does incur. While there may be some costs for employers at the outset, and employees for specific services they need, addressing the issue before it becomes a larger life problem will ultimately save money in the long run.


 1 Public sector workers took a record number of sick days last year, by Jason Kirby, January 10, 2017 MACLEAN’S

2 Sick Days cost Canadian economy $16.6 billion, CBC News, September 23, 2013.

3 Days lost per worker by reason, by provinces (All causes) Statistics Canada, January 6, 2017, CANSIM, table 279-0029