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Absenteeism costs the Canadian economy $16.6 billion in 2012 according to study sponsored by Morneau Shepell

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Absence & Disability Management / Canada

Absenteeism costs the Canadian economy $16.6 billion in 2012 according to study sponsored by Morneau Shepell

Morneau Shepell-sponsored study calls for organizations to start proactively managing the problem or costs will continue to escalate with the aging workforce

TORONTO, Sept. 23, 2013 /CNW/ - A new study released by the Conference Board of Canada and sponsored by Morneau Shepell (TSX: MSI) concludes the costs of absenteeism to the Canadian economy reached $16.6 billion in 2012.  This figure does not include indirect costs of absenteeism such as replacement costs for absent workers, administrative expenses or the negative effects on other workers or customers, suggesting the actual price tag is much higher.

"We sponsored this research to show organizations how important it is to become educated on the drivers of absence and on the solutions that are available," said Paula Allen, Morneau Shepell's Vice President of Research and Integrative Solutions. "The costs of absenteeism and short- and long-term disability should not be viewed as the cost of doing business.  It's something organizations can manage."

The Conference Board briefing, Missing in Action: Absenteeism Trends in Canadian Organizations, is the first in a three-part series of publications for which Morneau Shepell was a major sponsor.  Organizations providing survey data estimate that the direct cost of absenteeism averaged 2.4 per cent of gross annual payroll in 2012, which works out to $16.6 billion.  According to the study, 46 per cent of the organizations report that they track absenteeism by dates.  But only 15 per cent measured the direct cost of absenteeism.

"Absenteeism problems have a direct impact on the ability of organizations to deal with major business issues," said Ms. Allen. "Think of today's challenges of recruitment and retention including the shortage of skilled workers, along with the aging of our workforce and the likelihood of increasing disability costs, the increase in global competitiveness and the exponential increase in client service demands.  Unfortunately one of the reasons companies don't look at their absenteeism costs is because they don't understand this issue as deeply as some of the other challenges they face. In fact, addressing the costs of absenteeism should be one of the first steps that organizations take because absenteeism costs can be reduced and the talent can be retained."

Morneau Shepell established a formal disability management program in 1998. Its focus is not only to reduce claim duration and risk of entry to long-term disability, but also to making a lasting impact on employee health and engagement at work.  The company helps organizations understand their absenteeism and the different patterns of disability in their workforces, as well as the critical factors for success in reducing absenteeism and disability rates. Morneau Shepell also specializes in the development and provision of tools to support recovery and return to work, as well as tools for supporting absenteeism due to mental and physical health problems.

About Morneau Shepell Inc.
Morneau Shepell is the largest company in Canada offering human resources consulting and outsourcing services. The Company is the leading provider of Employee and Family Assistance Programs, as well as the largest administrator of retirement and benefits plans. Through health and productivity, administrative, and retirement solutions, Morneau Shepell helps clients reduce costs, increase employee productivity, and improve their competitive position. Established in 1966, Morneau Shepell serves more than 8,000 clients, ranging from small businesses to some of the largest corporations and associations in North America. With approximately 3,300 employees in offices across North America, Morneau Shepell provides services to organizations across Canada, in the United States, and around the globe. Morneau Shepell is a publicly-traded company on the Toronto Stock Exchange (TSX: MSI). For more information, visit

SOURCE Morneau Shepell Inc.

For further information:

Cathren Ronberg
Morneau Shepell