Lost productive work time costs from health conditions in the United States: results from the American Productivity Audit

J Occup Environ Med. 2003 Dec;45(12):1234-46. doi: 10.1097/01.jom.0000099999.27348.78.


The American Productivity Audit (APA) is a telephone survey of a random sample of 28,902 U.S. workers designed to quantify the impact of health conditions on work. Lost productive time (LPT) was measured for personal and family health reasons and expressed in hours and dollars. Health-related LPT cost employers 225.8 billion US dollars/year (1685 US dollars/employee per year); 71% is explained by reduced performance at work. Personal health LPT was 30% higher in females and twice as high in smokers (> or =1 pack/day) versus nonsmokers. Workers in high-demand, low-control jobs had the lowest average LPT/week versus the highest LPT for those in low-demand, high-control jobs. Family health-related work absence accounted for 6% of all health-related LPT. Health-related LPT costs are substantial but largely invisible to employers. Costs vary significantly by worker characteristics, suggesting that intervention needs vary by specific subgroups.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Cost of Illness*
  • Demography
  • Efficiency, Organizational*
  • Employment / economics
  • Employment / statistics & numerical data*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Interviews as Topic
  • Linear Models
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Poisson Distribution
  • Telephone
  • United States / epidemiology