21 October 2008

Flu biggest cause of absenteeism

Influenza was the most common reason given for sick leave across all income groups with the exception of the highest income group, a survey has found.

Influenza was the most common reason given for sick leave across all income groups with the exception of the highest income group, a survey by Cam Solutions has found.

According to its absenteeism report, flu was the number one reason for people calling in sick, the company said in a statement released on Tuesday.

The survey was conducted by using data gathered from sick notes to generate statistics. "According to an analysis of income groups it was found that influenza was the number one cause of illness across all income groups except the highest, being those who earn R30 000 or more," said the company.

Cam chief executive officer Johnny Johnson said it was clear that the flu travelled across all neighbourhoods with little regard for social status. Neck pain was the cause of absenteeism in the highest income group (those earning R30 000 or more).

Income and type of illness linked
"Also, high income earners have a much lower absenteeism rate in general, which can be linked to their higher responsibility levels and the need to be at work even when suffering from minor ailments," said Johnson.

Lower back pain was the second biggest cause of absenteeism among those who earned between R3 000 and R5 000 as well as those between R5 000 and R10 000.

"The Absolv software has discovered a key area of absenteeism in the lower income groups here. These groups tend to be blue collar workers with more physical jobs, with such work causing more back pain than those with office-bound duties.

"These income groups are feeling the physical strain of their work in their lower backs," said Johnson.

Among those who earned between R10 000 and R20 000, gastro-enteritis was the second cause of absenteeism. The company attributed this to employees still being at the start of their careers, young, eating out a lot and partying at weekends. "All of which can lead to gastro-enteritis symptoms on a Monday morning," he said.

In the R20 000 to R30 000 income group, the second most common reason for missing work was bronchitis. – (Sapa, October 2008)

Read more:
More SA workers sick with stress
Flu costs SA R2.7 billion a year


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