Money worries result in presenteeism

Workers must choose between paycheque or personal relationships
||Last Updated: 06/21/2006

Financial concerns are the root of a serious work-life imbalance for Canadians according to a new survey from Desjardins Financial Security.

The study of 1,501 Canadians found that the potential hardship caused by losing pay is responsible for employees not taking the necessary time off to recover from health problems.

Over the past two years, one-in-five Canadian workers claimed they experienced various physical health problems caused by mental health issues. Of this group, 62 per cent maintained regular work schedules, but made sacrifices in their personal lives.

Thirty-seven per cent of Canadian workers, who attempted to keep to their work schedule while dealing with physical health problems resulting from a mental health issue, said they had to return to work to avoid lost wages.

People returning to work because of perceived lost income is a growing issue for employers. Presenteeism, the feeling that you must show up for work even if you are too sick to be there, is a main factor in employee stress and distraction. This results in productivity losses for companies.

“Employers need to pay attention," said Alain Thauvette, senior vice president of group and business insurance for Desjardins Financial Security. "The costs and effects on people and companies are tremendous."

The survey revealed 59 per cent of workers who maintained regular work hours despite not feeling well, decided to cut back on personal commitments at the expense of relationships with family and friends. More than 85 per cent of respondents dealing with mental health issues said they relied upon these relationships to get through their darkest hours.

Forty-eight per cent of Canadian workers, who took time off of work because of physical health problems relating to mental health issues were absent one to five business days.

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