Absenteeism & Presenteeism Costs


To estimate the average cost of absenteeism or presenteeism for chronic pain and related conditions like fibroymyalgia along with historic growth and predictions.

Early Findings

Absenteeism in the US

  • According to Absenteeism: The Bottom-Line Killer, a publication of the workforce solution company Circadian, unscheduled absenteeism costs roughly $3,600 per year for each hourly worker and $2,660 each year for salaried employees. The costs can be attributed to many factors including:
  • Wages paid to absent employees .
  • High-cost replacement workers (overtime pay for other employees and/or temporary workers) .
  • Administrative costs of managing absenteeism.
  • According to the CDC, the annual cost in 2017 was $1,685. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lso report that productivity losses linked to absenteeism cost employers 225.8 billion USD annually.
  • Employer Assistance and Resource Network (EARN) states that “each year workers in the U.S. miss more than half a billion work days,” which according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics results in financial losses of 40 billion USD per year.
  • The most common causes of short-term absences are:
  • Minor illness (81%).
  • Stress (8%).
  • Musculoskeletal injuries (6%).
  • Mental health (2%).
  • The most common causes of long-term absences are:
  • Acute medical conditions (23%).
  • Mental health (22%).
  • Stress (22%).
  • Musculoskeletal injuries (19%).


  • The costs of presenteeism are much higher than the costs posed by absenteeism. According to Karen Higginbottom, a freelance journalist who covers workplace topics, the cost of presenteeism can be ten times greater than the cost of absenteeism. This can amount ot $150 billion per year in the US.
  • A study by health insurer Vitality has found that more than 40% of employees said their work was being affected by health problems - a figure that's risen by a third over the last five years.
  • Employees working while sick (presenteeism) costs employers about $150 billion to $250 billion or 60% of the total cost of worker illness, according to the Harvard Business Review.

Fibromyalgia & Pain

  • Indirect costs account for the majority of FM-related costs at all severity levels. More than three-quarters of total FM-related costs were attributable to lost productivity and disability.
  • American employers lose billions of dollars a year on employee absenteeism as a result of pain: lost productive time from common pain conditions among active workers costs an estimated $61.2 billion per year. The majority (76.6%) of the lost productive time was explained by reduced performance while at work and not work absence.


  • One study predicts that the cost of absenteeism and presenteeism in the US will by 5.5 % of the GDP by 2025.
  • Time prevented further research in this area.

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