Employee Health and Absence Management in the Era of Health Care Reform

Earlier this year Mercer’s US Health and benefits Perspectives published a motivating examination of “Managing disability absences in the era of health care reform.” According to Mercer’s research, employers spend nearly 23% of their payrolls on employee health and absence.

Healthy and productive employees are essential to a company’s profitability, and even small measures can make a big difference in energizing and fostering a healthy atmosphere in the workplace. The Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease is a proud supporter of the upcoming 3rd annual National Employee Wellness Month. PFCD encourages all employers to acknowledge and support the cause in some way this June.

In the past many employers have often failed to see the link between managing absence and increasing profitability, but according to the results of Mercer’s 2010 National Survey of Employer-Sponsored Health Plans, the tide seems to be turning and just in time, as the national health care reform discussion continues.

Almost one in two Americans has a chronic disease such as diabetes, cancer or heart disease, and the full cost of disability absences is nearing 10% of payroll for the average employer. As health care becomes increasingly costly, PFCD urges employers to empower themselves and take an innovative approach to workplace wellness.

Successful workplace wellness programs require time and commitment from both employers and their staff, but the results are a win-win. Establishing goals and following through with measurement are critical, as is the communication of results to employees in order to empower all parties in the pursuit of success. For examples on workplace wellness in action, PFCD has highlighted Promising Practices with proven results.