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On-the-Job Productivity Losses Among Employees With Health Problems: The Role of Work Accommodations

Gifford, Brian PhD; Zong, Yang BA

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: September 2017 - Volume 59 - Issue 9 - p 885–893
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000001094
Original Articles

Objectives: Debates about the productivity impact of work accommodations typically focus on employment and labor force participation outcomes. This study considers whether accommodations mediate on-the-job productivity losses among employees who report health problems.

Methods: The study uses ordered logistic regression to predict employees’ self-reported productivity losses as a function of health problems and experiences with needed work accommodations.

Results: On average, the odds that an employee who did not get a needed accommodation reported higher levels of lost productivity are 5.11 times the odds for an employee who got a needed accommodation.

Conclusions: Although health problems make it difficult for many employees to perform well on the job, accommodations could reduce productivity losses in some cases. Nonetheless, more research on the impact of specific kinds of accommodations for different chronic conditions is warranted.

Integrated Benefits Institute, San Francisco, CA.

Address correspondence to: Brian Gifford, PhD, 595 Market Street, Suite 810, San Francisco, CA 94105 (

All work was performed as part of the authors’ regular duties at the Integrated Benefits Institute, a nonprofit, mutual benefit corporation that receives membership dues from organizations in the fields of health care, insurance, absence management, employee benefits, and pharmaceutical manufacturing.

The authors report no conflicts of interest.

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