Absenteeism cost the Canadian economy more than $16 billion last year and an effective disability management program can help mitigate those costs.

That’s according to a Conference Board of Canada report, Creating an Effective Workplace Disability Management Program.

“There is a solid business case for implementing a disability management program in the workplace,” says Louise Chenier, a senior research associate at the organization.

In 2011-12, absenteeism cost Canadian organizations an average of 2.4% of gross payroll.

While this might seem like an insignificant amount at first, she says it adds up to an overall loss of more than $16.6 billion to the Canadian economy.

The report states that a successful workplace disability management programs have several common elements: a strong emphasis on disability prevention and health promotion, a commitment to the safe and timely return to work of employees on health-related leaves of absence and an organizational structure that sustains the objectives of the disability management program.

The program should also have a rigorous health promotion component as well as an effective health and safety program that focuses on preventing workplace injuries.

“Organizations have traditionally focused on solutions that include monitoring information to determine when an employee should return to work, and tracking costs,” said Paula Allen, vice-president of research and integrative solutions at Morneau Shepell. The company was one of the sponsors of the report.

While these are important, she says it makes more sense to be strategic and not passive.

“Organizations have a clear opportunity to implement programs that better support an employee’s return to work sooner, and address the reasons behind absence at an organizational level.”

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Copyright © 2021 Transcontinental Media G.P. Originally published on benefitscanada.com

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