Young workers at risk: Absenteeism and presenteeism in raine study 23 year olds
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Background As the working population of many countries ages, the reliance on young workers will increase. Government and industry have identified worker productivity as a critical issue to ensure Australia's future. However, currently there is no regularly collected national data set providing ongoing estimates of the productivity of young Australian workers despite the importance of productivity to ergonomics. Aims The aim of this study was to use a representative cohort of young workers to determine levels of productivity loss due to both absenteeism and presenteeism. Methods A cross sectional observational design study was used to gather absenteeism and presenteeism from participants in the Western Australian Pregnancy Cohort (Raine) Study. At around the time of their 23rd birthday, participants were sent a survey which included the World Health Organisation's recommended Health and Productivity Questionnaire (HPQ). Participants report whole and part days absent from work as well as reductions in productivity whilst at work. Results Preliminary data from the first 419 participants who were working full time or part time showed that 60% reported absenteeism in the 28 days preceding the survey due to any reason. The most common duration of absence was one day. The majority of participants (93%) reported some level of presenteeism in the 28 days preceding the survey. The combined mean annualised cost of lost productivity (presenteeism + absenteeism due to any reason) was $15,761.00 per worker. Conclusion Health related productivity loss is a significant issue for young workers and likely to be important to Australia's ongoing productivity. Designing work systems which promote health and reduce the productivity loss associated with ill-health is an important consideration for ergonomics.
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