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Impact on Employee Productivity From Presenteeism and Absenteeism: Evidence From a Multinational Firm in Sri Lanka

Fernando, Mario PhD; Caputi, Peter PhD; Ashbury, Fred PhD

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: July 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 7 - p 691–696
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001060

Objective: This study examines the effects of 13 psychological and physical health conditions on work productivity.

Methods: One hundred fifty-two staff at the headquarters of a Sri Lankan multinational firm completed a questionnaire asking whether they experienced 13 health conditions common in workplaces, and about their related absenteeism and presenteeism.

Results: Most respondents (85.5%) reported absenteeism, presenteeism, or both. Among those reporting a health condition, 57.6% reported losing days due to absenteeism, and 69.5% reported losing additional days to presenteeism. Among those caring for a sick adult or child, 57.3% reported losing days due to absenteeism, and 36.5% reported losing additional days due to presenteeism. Overall productivity loss was 10.43 days each year, 3.95% of employee capacity, equating to about Sri Lanka Rupees 8 million (US$54,421) for all headquarters employees.

Conclusions: The health conditions’ effects on productivity significantly increased employee costs.

School of Management, Operations and Marketing, Faculty of Business, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia (Dr Fernando); School of Psychology, Faculty of Social Science, University of Wollongong, Wollongong, New South Wales, Australia (Drs Caputi, Ashbury); and Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, Toronto, Ontario, Canada (Dr Ashbury).

Address correspondence to: Mario Fernando, PhD, University of Wollongong, Northfields Avenue, Gwynville, NSW2522, Australia (

The authors have no conflicts of interest and did not receive any sources of funding.

Copyright © 2017 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine