How an Employee Benefits Program Can Reduce Absenteeism


Employee absenteeism is a significant problem in the American workplace. According to the CDC Foundation, employers lose an estimated $225.8 billion in productivity losses each year due to absenteeism. Per employee, that’s around $1,685 which is substantial and can be crippling to smaller businesses. What’s more, of the 10 most expensive health conditions for employers in the U.S., four are related to stroke and heart disease – which can be exacerbated by stress and a sedentary lifestyle.


When wellness programs are incorporated into benefits, employees are encouraged to implement healthier behaviors, thus lowering their risks for many serious conditions. A Harvard study found that for every dollar that employers spend on wellness programs, they reduce absenteeism, saving $2.73. That is on each dollar spent. They more than doubled their money. Here’s how it works.


Healthier employees miss less work.


It stands to reason that healthier employees will miss less work. Unhealthy employees and employees with unhealthy lifestyles tend to be sick more often.

This leads to one of two behaviors: absenteeism and presenteeism.

Absenteeism is, of course, employees calling in sick when they are ill while presenteeism refers to employees who come to work when they are sick, resulting in lowered productivity.


When employees don’t feel well, whether they are at work or at home, their production is impacted. A program that promotes wellness and health can help prevent illness and associated conditions like depression, anxiety, and burnout.



Healthier employees are happier employees.


Research shows that people who have a chronic illness are more prone to depression. In fact, the two conditions often go hand-in-hand. There are many factors that contribute to this. Sometimes it is simply chemicals in the brain, but there is also the continuous drain that conditions like heart disease, diabetes, and hypertension put on the body. There is also a link between chronic pain and depression.


It is often a struggle to make the lifestyle changes that these diseases demand and that can lead to mental health issues like depression and anxiety. A benefits program can help employees manage health conditions and even prevent them.

When employees feel their employer cares about their health, they feel valued.


When employees feel valued by their employers, they perform better and are tend to be healthier. They are also more loyal to the company and more likely to stay with that employer. A study by the American Psychological Association found that 93% of employees who felt valued by their employer also felt more motivated to do their very best at their job. Only 33% who did not feel valued by their employer felt the same way. It also showed that around half of employees who did not feel valued were more likely to leave their employer within a 12-month period.

Healthier, happier, more content employees equals increased morale and all that comes with it.


A MetLife study revealed just how important an employee benefits program is to workers. Just having benefits or insurance gave 74% of employees peace of mind. Additionally, 49% of employees want their employer to offer well-being programs that provide rewards for healthy choices and behavior.

It also showed:

  • 72% said that being allowed to customize their benefits increased their loyalty to their employer
  • 68% said that they were more loyal to companies that allowed them to take their benefits with them
  • 59% said that having both holistic and health benefits gave them a greater sense of loyalty to the company


A good employee benefits program benefits everyone.


Having a good health and wellness program in place helps employees stay healthy and happy. That, in turn, lowers insurance costs allowing both employees and employers to reap the benefits of those savings. Illness is taxing for the employee as well as the employer, but it also affects the employee’s family and coworkers.


When life at home is strained, it typically affects work. Very few people are able to completely separate their personal life from their professional life, so the employer who addresses the wellness of the employee at all levels will have a much greater chance of having an employee who is happy, content, productive, and loyal. It’s quite simple, the healthier a workplace is, the happier and more productive it will be.


What benefits programs do you have in place? How has it affected your staff? Have you included any wellness programs or preventative health plans? How has that worked for you? How did you implement it? We’d love to hear your story. Tell us about it in the comments below.