Fewer people are staying away from work due to diabetes than previous years, a new study found. These encouraging statistics were released to coincide with World Diabetes Day, celebrated each year on 14 November.
Absenteeism due to diabetes was responsible for 1.02% incidents of absenteeism and 0.88% days overall in the period September 2007 to September 2008. In the previous cycle, (September 2006- September 2007) there were 1.23% incidents of absenteeism due to diabetes and 1.24% days taken overall because of this chronic condition.
The statistics were generated from more than 60 South African companies comprising over 100 000 employees. The study was conducted by absenteeism software specialists CAM Solutions (CAMS). The information was gathered through a sick note-system employed by participating companies, requiring employees to motivate all sick days.
“It is heart-warming to note that absenteeism due to diabetes in South African companies has decreased year on year," says CAMS Solutions CEO Johnny Johnson. "This could be that those who suffer from the chronic illness are managing it better, and not getting sick because of it.”
The study also shows that diabetes is not seasonal; the absenteeism rate remains fairly consistent over the 12-month period. This is unlike viral infections such as flu, which have a higher prevalence rate in winter months.
"A number of employers on the database have implemented wellness programmes recently and this research also shows that wellness programmes and preventive measures that are offered to employees suffering from this disease are most likely helping them to manage this condition. These statistics show that people living with diabetes are not necessarily always ill, they are productive members of the workforce,” he notes.
Johnson said that in some instances, employers may not be sick due to diabetes, but taking a day off as sick leave to attend a clinic and collect diabetic medication. Employers may be able to make arrangements for the medication to be available to their place of work and therefore reduce unnecessary sick absenteeism.
Adds Johnson, “Every step we make in managing this chronic illness is a step towards good health for the population, and therefore also the economy. This year, absenteeism due to diabetes cost the economy R 167 200 000 in direct costs.” - (Health24, November 2008)
Healthy workers work hard