South Africans who smoke more than a pack of cigarettes a day, feel unhealthy for 7,3 out of every 30 days and are costing their employers millions, according to a medical risk management specialist.
This was revealed on Monday at the HealthFocus Seminar held in Cape Town. The seminar was sponsored by Personal Finance and Discovery Health.
“Many employers are only now realising the incredible benefit to having healthy employees,” said Dr Craig Nossel, Head of the Clinical Vitality Programme for Discovery Health. “Up until now, many employers felt that the health of employees was a personal issue, and that they were only hiring their skills, but it has now become apparent that unhealthy employees are costing companies money. You cannot separate an employee’s skills from the person as a whole.”
Cost of absenteeism in SA sky high
The cost of absenteeism among employees to South African businesses is estimated at R12 billion per year.
He stressed that the costs of illness among employees could not only be measured by direct medical costs, such as medical scheme payouts, but that work absenteeism, and long-term and short-term disability were hidden costs in terms of productivity levels.
So-called presenteeism (where an employee is present, but unproductive, because of ill health) represented 63% of these hidden costs to a company.