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Demographic Trends of Sick Leave Absenteeism Among Civil Service Employees at a Federal Agency From 2004 to 2012

Gajewski, Kim MPH; Burris, Dara MPH; Spears, D. Ross PhD; Sullivan, Kevin PhD; Oyinloye, Oluremi MBA; McNeil, Carrie DVM; Meechan, Paul PhD; Warnock, Eli MD; Trapp, Jonathan MPA; Decker, K.C. MS; Chapman, Sandy BSIT

Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine: March 2015 - Volume 57 - Issue 3 - p 277–283
doi: 10.1097/JOM.0000000000000347
Original Articles

Objective: To investigate the associations between demographic variables and sick leave use.

Methods: We analyzed sick leave use among civil servants at a federal agency (FA) from 2004 to 2012 by demographic and FA-specific variables. We used a mixed methods approach and type III analysis to build a descriptive model of sick leave proportions and demographic variables.

Results: Sick absenteeism usage varied significantly (variation of greater than one sick day per year) by sex, Emergency Operations Center response tier, length of service at the FA, age, and general schedule pay grade level. Our final descriptive model contained age, sex, response tier and an interaction term between age and sex.

Conclusions: Future studies should examine these associations on smaller time scales, perhaps breaking the data down by month or day of the week.

From the Environment, Safety, and Health Compliance Office (Ms Gajewski, Ms Burris, Drs Spears, McNeil, Meechan, and Warnock), Security Services Office (Mr Trapp), and Program Grants Office (Ms Chapman), Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Rollins School of Public Health (Dr Sullivan), Emory University, Atlanta, Ga; and Booz Allen Hamilton (Ms Oyinloye, Mr Decker), McLean, Va.

Address correspondence to: D. Ross Spears, PhD, CAPT, US Public Health Service, Senior Science Officer, Occupational Health and Preventive Services, Office of Safety, Security and Asset Management, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 1600 Clifton Rd NE, MS F-05, Atlanta, GA 30333 (

The authors have no conflicts of interest.

This study did not receive funding from the National Institutes of Health (NIH), the Wellcome Trust, or the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). Source of funding is the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Atlanta, GA.

Copyright © 2015 by the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine