Absenteeism rates climbing

About seven per cent of the workforce was absent from work for all or part of any given week in 2001

You may have noticed a few more empty chairs around the office last year as absenteeism rates rose dramatically.

According to Statistics Canada’s Labour Force Survey, about 7.0 per cent of the workforce, or 700,000 full-time employees, were absent for all or part of any given week in 2001 due to illness, disability, personal or family responsibilities, excluding maternity leave. This was up from 6.3 per cent in 2000, and 5.5 per cent in 1997.

This works out to an average of 8.5 days absent for each full-time employee, about half a day more than in 2000, and a little more than the 7.4 days five years earlier.

In total, an estimated 85.2 million workdays were lost because of personal reasons in 2001, up from 78.6 million in 2000 and 65.6 million in 1997.

As a result of last year’s absenteeism, 3.4 per cent of the usual weekly work time was lost. This inactivity rate was higher than the 3.2 per cent in 2000, and 3.0 per cent in 1997.

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