Considerably higher absenteeism for health-care workers

Study finds typical worker missed 12 days in 2006
By Sarah Dobson
|hrreporter.com|Last Updated: 02/15/2008

An extensive study of human resources for Canada's health-care providers shows absenteeism rates are considerably higher than the general population.

Canada’s Health Care Providers, 2007 from the Canadian Institute for Health Information finds, over the last 20 years, health-care workers have had a higher average number of lost work days compared to the rest of the working population.

In 2006, the typical health-care worker aged 25 to 54 missed almost 12 days of work due to illness or disability, compared to an average of seven days for all employed Canadians.

The gender of the worker was one of the most important characteristics of the absenteeism, as females in this age group, working in health occupations, missed 13.1 days of work per year in 2006. That was 6.7 days more than male health providers and quite a bit more than the general workforce, where the difference between men and women is 2.3 days.

Provincial or territorial ab-senteeism rates also vary considerably, as New Brunswick, Manitoba and Newfoundland and Labrador had the highest number of lost days (16.1, 16 and 15.9 respectively) for health workers in 2006, while Alberta, Nova Scotia and Ontario had the lowest number of days (7.2, 9.7 and 9.7 respectively).

Broken down by occupation, nurses had the highest average number of days lost due to illness or disability, at 14.4 days (almost twice the average for all occupations). They were followed by technical occupations in health care (at 13 days), medical technologists and technicians (11.1 days) and therapy and assessment professionals (8.1 days).

Lower on the absenteeism list were technicians in dental care (4.8 days), pharmacists, dieticians and nutritionists (4 days) and physicians, dentists and veterinarians (2.8 days).

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