The Relationships Between Lost Work Time and Duration of Absence Spells: Proposal for a Payroll Driven Measure of Absenteeism


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Abstract

Objective:To propose a standard measure of absenteeism (the work lost rate [WLR]) be included in future research to facilitate understanding and allow for translation of findings between scientific disciplines.Methods:Hourly payroll data derived from “punch clock” reports was used to compare various measures of absenteeism used in the literature and the application of the proposed metric (N = 4000 workers).Results:Unpaid hours and full absent days were highly correlated with the WLR (r = 0.896 to 0.898). The highest percentage of unpaid hours (lost work time) is captured by absence spells of 1 and 2 days duration.Conclusion:The proposed WLR metric captures: 1) The range and distribution of the individual WLRs, 2) the percentage of subjects with no unpaid hours, and 3) the population WLR and should be included whenever payroll data is used to measure absenteeism.

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