Panel Paper: Absenteeism and Presenteeism Among American Workers

Saturday, November 10, 2018
8223 - Lobby Level (Marriott Wardman Park)

*Names in bold indicate Presenter

Kathleen J. Mullen, RAND Corporation

Is there evidence that a pattern of declining health leads to increased absenteeism, and results in leaving a job due to disability? How does health-related absenteeism relate to employment outcomes and how does this vary by employment type? We propose to answer these questions using original data from the RAND American Working Conditions Survey (AWCS). The AWCS, fielded to a nationally representative sample of workers ages 18-70 in July 2015, included questions on both absenteeism and presenteeism (working while sick) in the past twelve months. For presenteeism, we also asked respondents to rate the percent reduction in productivity at work due to health problems. Approximately half of American workers reported taking time off work for health-related reasons and two-thirds reported working while sick at some point in the past year; of those who reported working while sick, the median reduction in productivity was 20 percent and the 90th percentile was 50 percent. We propose to analyze follow-up data on these same workers to estimate the relationships between absenteeism and presenteeism on work outcomes up to three years later, July 2018. We will also investigate heterogeneity by white vs. blue collar work, industry, occupation, age, education, and full- vs. part-time status.