Valuing reductions in on-the-job illness: 'presenteeism' from managerial and economic perspectives

Health Econ. 2008 Apr;17(4):469-85. doi: 10.1002/hec.1266.


This paper reports on a study of manager perceptions of the cost to employers of on-the-job employee illness, sometimes termed 'presenteeism,' for various types of jobs. Using methods developed previously, the authors analyzed data from a survey of more than 800 US managers to determine the characteristics of various jobs and the relationship of those characteristics to the manager's view of the cost to the firm of absenteeism and presenteeism. Jobs with characteristics that suggest unusually high cost (relative to wages) were similar in terms of their 'absenteeism multipliers' and their 'presenteeism multipliers.' Jobs with high values of team production, high requirements for timely output, and high difficulties of substitution for absent or impaired workers had significantly higher indicators of cost for both absenteeism and presenteeism, although substitution was somewhat less important for presenteeism.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Absenteeism*
  • Efficiency
  • Health Status*
  • Humans
  • Models, Econometric
  • Occupational Health*
  • Occupations / economics*
  • Task Performance and Analysis