Keeping service sector workers healthy

Shift work, high stress, workload contribute to record number of sick days
By Julie Holden
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 01/14/2011

Nearly three-quarters of all Canadian employees work in the service sector and these workers experience the highest level of employee absence. Despite this, many service sector organizations do not have effective programs in place to help employees stay or become healthy and to reduce the costs associated with absenteeism.

The service sector is incredibly varied and consists of the following employer groups: retail and distribution; health care and social assistance; restaurants and food service; tourism and hospitality; vehicle sales and service; and office and related services.

The service-producing industries reported an average of 10 sick days per worker in 2009, higher than any other industry, according to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey. By contrast, the goods-producing industries — the other major employment sector — reported 9.3 sick days per worker.