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Integrated Benefits Institute Releases Research on True Cost of Absence for Employers

Report examines absence management practices and results in retail, industrial and financial service industries

SAN FRANCISCO, May 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- To assist employers in determining the impact of health-related absence to their bottom line, the nonprofit Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) released today "The Business Response of Employers to Absence." The research examined the absence management practices and results for several employers, across a variety of industries and operating models. A report summary can be accessed at:

"We found that there is considerable room for improvement for employers to track and determine the significant financial impact of health-related absence for their business," said Thomas Parry, PhD, president of IBI. "Even employers that track lost time may not track absence by cause or whether it is unscheduled."

IBI partnered with Sean Nicholson, PhD, associate professor and economist at Cornell University, for this research conducted in 2007. The report features case studies from three industries including six power plants for a regional power company, a financial services call center, and a large, national retail department store.

Key findings include:

-- Unscheduled absence hurts business. The study finds a strong

relationship between unscheduled absences and higher production costs

either in increased staffing or reduced productive output. Employers

need to manage workforce health more effectively to reduce these added


-- The true costs of absence exceed the costs of wage-replacement benefits

plus the costs of replacement workers. The business results from absence

vary in sometimes surprising ways, however, depending on the

employer's business and practices, including the flexibility of

their absence response, staffing decisions, output requirements and

compensation program.

-- While some employers have trained replacement staff standing by, others

simply lose revenue from not delivering the product. Normally, employers

don't know who is going to be absent on a given day, so having a

replacement worker readily available isn't usually possible. For

others, not making the product is too expensive an option.

The impact of health-related lost time is a significant cost driver and competitive concern for U.S. business, and tracking and maintaining high-quality and useable data on lost time and its impact is often a daunting task for employers. IBI tools such as IBI Benchmarking and HPQ-Select help employers understand the impact of health-related productivity and where interventions can best be made.

About the Integrated Benefits Institute

The Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI) is a national, nonprofit organization that focuses on health and productivity issues across wellness, group health, workers' compensation, disability and other leave programs. IBI provides a full range of health and productivity research, educational forums and benefits measurement and benchmarking tools. The Institute's work is supported by employers and leading benefits and program providers. The IBI/NBCH 2009 Health & Productivity Forum will be held February 9-11, 2009 in Los Angeles. For additional information visit:

Available Topic Expert(s): For information on the listed expert(s), click appropriate link.

Thomas Parry

SOURCE Integrated Benefits Institute
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