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Absent With Leave: The Implications of Demographic Change for Worker Absenteeism

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  • Finn Poschmann

    (C.D. Howe Institute)

  • Omar Chatur

    (C.D. Howe Institute)

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    Abstract

    Over the past 30 years, sick days have risen in Canada’s workforce, overall, raising important questions about why days lost owing to reported illness are climbing, and how demographic and institutional change may have affected reported rates and may do so in the future. The data show striking differences in absentee-rate trends based on age, sex, and union status. Days lost owing to illness vary across age groups: as the demographic weight of Canada’s population shifts from younger to older categories, reported days lost rise. Absence rates for female versus male workers of all ages and types have diverged over the course of the last few decades, with females taking more days off and men’s rate showing little change. Public-sector employees report more workplace absences than do private-sector employees. Workers in unionized settings take more sick leave days than those in non-union settings. Workplaces and government practices and policies must adjust to these realities, through a combination of accommodation, flexibility and planning.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by C.D. Howe Institute in its series e-briefs with number 165.

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    Publication status: Published on the C.D. Howe Institute website, September 2013
    Handle: RePEc:cdh:ebrief:165

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    Keywords: Social Policy; Labour Markets;

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