Economical Analysis Of Preventive Measures For Decreasing Absenteeism And Presenteeism In Organizations


The article justifies the possibility to reduce the level of absenteeism and presenteeism by developing a catalogue of preventive measures, which helps classify the causes for employee absence from or presence at work when they are sick and take timely measures to prevent these phenomena from spreading. The study identifies causes for downtime related to ill health. It shows that presenteeism can be indirectly initiated by the government, as sickness benefit is often lower than the salary. The employer’s influence can be direct or indirect and creates stress, providing a motive for voluntary activity that serves the interests of a company. The individual initiative of workers is often shaped by their civic duty and the fear of being considered unreliable, especially in times of crisis and a decline in production. Another reason for opportunism is working conditions triggering low job involvement and mobbing at the workplace resulting in psychological distress and the desire to change the job. To collect data, it is important to provide a clear definition of the parameters of such phenomenon as “sickness”; to create an organisational classifier of absenteeism variations due to medical reasons: sickness, a course of treatment, an accident with or without further payment; and to calculate absolute and relative indicators of absence from work. The article provides data on some absenteeism dependencies grouped by demographic and social features. It also describes the possible consequences of absenteeism and the structure and the content of a catalogue of preventive measures for decreasing absenteeism and presenteeism.

Keywords: Causes of absenteeismdowntime frequencypresenteeism


Absenteeism (employee absence from work during working hours) and presenteeism (employee presence at the workplace even though they are not fully healthy) is an urgent problem which concerns employers, employees, and the state as a whole. For the employer, a lack of employees, first of all, induces risks of an economic character. If the employer involves other employees in completing the work of the absent employee, they have to provide overtime pay. Moreover, there can be an inconsistency between the employee’s qualifications and the job (position) requirements, which can lead to failures and induce risks of losing share on the market. Second, it is likely to deteriorate the working environment. Sick employees present at their workplace cannot work at their full capacity. They can also carry viruses which can be dangerous for other workers as we have seen from the experience of the coronavirus pandemic. A worker who has been absent for a long time feels less self-confident and motivated, among other things, to acquire new competencies. Absenteeism and presenteeism affect the GDP growth rate, which depends on performance. With an increase in the number of workers made redundant or on sick leave, the government has to allocate more funds for social security and to support healthcare workers.

Problem Statement

This article is based on the results of scientific research, statistical information, and developed methodologies. The following tasks had to be solved to address the problem: first, we determined the frequency and duration of employee absence from work. Second, we detected sectoral differences in the duration of employee absence from work. Third, we put forward a hypotheses regarding the groups of workers with the most significant share of the total figure of absenteeism in the workplace. Fourth, we described the relevant causes of employee absenteeism in the workplace related to working conditions and the desire to change the job. Fifth, we classified medical issues related to presenteeism. Sixth, we identified the consequences of absenteeism.

Research Questions

The study revealed that, firstly, due to the increasing competition, the organisation’s management delegate their work assignments to their subordinates because they need time to assess the market situation and develop a corresponding strategy.

The assignments can be delegated to highly intellectual employees with high competence and involvement. Characteristics of situations when there is a lack of self-confidence or motivation or mobbing in the workplace or when employees want to seek a new job are shown in Table 1 .

Table 1 -
See Full Size >

Second, employees who tend to be absent from work can be categorised by the frequency and duration of their absence from work. Most modern scholars base their research on the classification by Stopp (1993). According to Stopp (1993), frequent and short-term absences from work are typical for young employees with little work experience, married women with children, untrained unskilled workers, and skilled workers without specialised qualifications. This group includes employees from big cities; employees who often change their job; employees who consider their working conditions insufficient; employees who are not satisfied with their boss; and employees with a negative opinion of the enterprise and low solidarity. Rare but long-term absences from work are characteristic of older employees with long-term work experience; employees from small towns; employees with no family or children; qualified workers and specialists; employees who rarely or never change their job and well-motivated employees who are happy with their working conditions; responsible workers with a high level of solidarity; employees applying for a pension; disabled and equal-status persons.

Modern studies show that there are sectoral differences in the duration of absence of employees from work. For example, short-term absences from work in the public sector of Norway are more typical for women than for men, and the rate of absences decreases with the growing level of education. An ineffective choice of applicants for available job positions is also a significant cause of absenteeism. However, this factor is of low importance in the case of long-term absenteeism caused mainly by poor work motivation.

Third, an informational basis for the analysis of the situation of absence from work in an organisation can be developed by following these eight steps:

Step 1. First of all, providing a clear definition of the parameters of such phenomenon as “sickness”. Second, creating an organisational classifier of absenteeism variations due to medical reasons: sickness, a course of treatment, accident with or without further payment. Third, calculating absolute and relative indicators of absence from work (as a percentage of working days a month, without days off).

Step 2. Determining the dynamics of the level of sickness (in average annual figures) for the past 5 years. Distribution of the average sickness figures by months for the past 5 years. Identification of typical seasonal fluctuations without any sensible medical explanation (flu epidemic, coronavirus pandemic, emergency job, etc.).

Step 3. Calculating average annual sickness figures by departments and groups for the past 3 years (in the case of pandemics this can be calculated monthly). Identification of critical production areas and determination of the essence and specific features of working processes within them.

Step 4. Distribution of the cases of sickness by days of the week, taking into account the normal situation that means theoretically the distribution must be even.

Step 5. Study of the causes of situations in order to identify the sicknesses (a list of diseases: virus diseases (in the current situation, a coronavirus can be listed as a separate item), cold-related diseases, vascular diseases, musculoskeletal diseases, ENT diseases, ophthalmic diseases, mental illnesses, etc.) which lead to the highest sickness rates. In collaboration with social insurance agencies defining the specific character of the situation in an organisation related to this issue.

Step 6. Determining the amount of payment for the missed time in terms of the absolute amount for the past several years, roubles (the period is defined by the organisation); calculating the sum of money that could have been saved in case of a lower sickness rate, per percentage point.

Step 7. Identification of critical groups: age, sex, marital status, parental status, multishift work (Frick et al., 2020), type of activity, nationality, residential status (migrants count), frequent business trips, etc.

Step 8. Determination of the group (in quantitative terms) of employees with a zero rate of absence from work during working time for the past year, two years, and three years (without known cases of presenteeism). Determination of a real list of token (without any significant costs for the organisation) rewards for these employees (a season ticket to an entertainment or a sports institution, a bunch of flowers, a meeting with one of the top managers at their workplace, etc.).

A hypothesis is often formed during the analysis of absences from work in an organisation. If it is confirmed, it allows paying more attention to the measures for the reduction of absenteeism. The content of the hypothesis: a rather small group (older employees, generation Z employees, women with children, addicted employees) makes up a significant share of the total figure of absenteeism in the workplace. For example, 75% (or 60%, according to another study) of all absences come from 12% of the employees. The frequency and the duration of absence of these employees from work must be studied in detail.

Organisations use different calculations and formulas for the analysis depending on whether absences are measured more globally or individually. If absences are analysed regarding the whole organisation or its structural subdivision, the calculations are performed according to formula 1. The term “subdivision” can be interpreted as a workshop, a department, or a working group.

Group indicator of absences from work = All cases of absence for a certain period, days Total number of working days in a period × 100

Formula 1. Group value of absences from work

The numerator of the formula . It is rather hard to define the number of the days of absence from work (in an organisation on the whole, in a subdivision, or a group).

As for western European enterprises, this value is calculated by the HR department. A specialist from this department has to add up all the days of absence of the subdivision’s employees and present the information about the quantitative value of this figure. Depending on the goal and the subject matter of the analysis, it can be conducted by the level of education, by professional groups, by the job and civil (resident/migrant) status of the employee, as well as by sociodemographic characteristics, such as sex, age, nationality, or marital status.

The calculations can be performed in several forms: the figures of absences due to sickness, due to accidents, due to training leave, or breaks for breastfeeding mothers, etc. Sometimes the calculations can be incorrect as some people do not clearly understand what absenteeism really means. The question of the values in the numerator (whether to count all absences of employees or only those due to sickness or accidents) remains under discussion. The questions of addictions, or absences from work due to alcohol, drug or other addiction, should also be clarified.

The denominator of the formula is the total number of working days in a period. This value is calculated as the sum of all working days of all employees of a subdivision. Different periods of time, such as a quarter, a month, or a week, can be used as periods. In Germany, while performing this analysis, they recalled a popular wisdom about a “Blue Monday”, a day of idleness and absence from work after the weekend. The value of absence from work on this day is higher as compared to other days. In Russia, it is also true about the working days after long holidays. To monitor the situation, it is reasonable to analyse it through the comparison of the figures for various periods of equal duration (by groups).

Although the formula (1) is really simple, it must be taken into account that the smaller the studied groups are, the less indicative this value is. For example, two out of four employees were sick in one of the periods. As for the whole enterprise, this figure does not arouse concern, but if calculated by the formula, it gives a value of 50%. Consequently, it is advisable for such subdivisions to calculate the absences as an absolute expression for a certain period of time (formula 2).

Group indicator of absences from work = Number of absences of a group from work within the period

Formula 2. Group value of absences from work

The value of absences of an individual employee from work is calculated by formula 3.

Individual value of absences from work days = All absences of an employee for the period, days Expected working time of an employee within the period, days × 100

Formula 3. Individual value of absences from work

Each enterprise can have its own interpretation of absences of their employees from work as well as of the duration of the analysed period. It is important for the analysis to avoid the effect of “comparing apples and oranges,” that is comparing incomparable values.

The calculation of absolute values also makes sense if we are talking about a season worker with a flexible working time, or an employer is interested in the expenses caused by the hours or days of absence of an employee from work. In this case, formulas 4 and 5 are used for the calculation.

Individual value of absences = All absences of an employee from work within the period

Formula 4. Individual value of absences from work

Expenses by days of absences from work per person = Days of absences from work x costs per day of absence

Formula 5. Costs of absence of an employee from work

The next value calculated at an enterprise can be the value of an average period of time between the absences of an employee from work. It allows calculating the time that passes before the employee is absent again. The shorter this period is, the more expenses the enterprise bears (formula 6).

Average period between the days of absence from work = All days between the absence from work Number of periods of presence. × 100

Formula 6. Average period between the absences from work

Average cost of a sick leave day = Employee's salary + Average employer costs Working days

Formula 7. Average cost of a sick leave day (absence from work)

Fourth, the analysis of the dependence and consequences related to employee absence from work is completed to provide a better understanding of the absenteeism situation in an organisation, to identify risk groups, and, accordingly, to manage the problem in a targeted way.

The following parameters can be used to classify dependencies related to employee absence from work: first, age (younger employees are absent from work more often than older employees; the duration of absence of older employees is longer as compared to younger employees), secondly, gender (as for the number of days, women are absent from work more often than men) (Bierla et al., 2013; Melsom & Mastekaasa, 2018); third, type of activity (public sector employees decide against work more often than employees in the private sector) (Mastekaasa, 2020); fourth, qualification (the higher the qualification is, the lower the value of absence from work is); fifth, responsibility (as for the resolution of production tasks, employees with low responsibility are absent from work more often than those with high personal responsibility for their functional duties); sixth, job compensation (production workers working on an hourly rate are absent from work more often than office workers receiving a fixed salary); seventh, nationality (foreign employees are absent from work more often than native employees); eighth, group size (a relatively small number of employees are responsible for a bigger share of absences from work); ninth, days of the week (Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays are relatively “quite”, whereas on Mondays and Fridays, the periods of absence from work increase. The situation is the same on working days that fall on holidays, before them, between them, or after them). A detailed representation of the possible consequences of absence from work forms a real picture of the problems that are often not considered to be significant by a manager and lead to a risk of making a complicated decision when they emerge. Possible consequences of absences from work are presented in Table 2 .

Table 2 -
See Full Size >

Fifth, a customised classifier for the causes of absenteeism and presenteeism for each organisation can be used to create a catalogue of preventive measures for decreasing the frequency of downtime in an organisation due to the absence of employees (Table 3 ).

Table 3 -
See Full Size >

Purpose of the Study

The goal of the study was to develop preventive measures for decreasing absenteeism and presenteeism in organisations. The goal is specific as it is aimed at the development of a catalogue of preventive measures. The goal is measurable as all measurements are based on the provided calculation models. The goal is achievable as it is based on the experience accumulated by international and national researchers. Collected statistical information allows conducting an analysis with regard to states, types of activity, groups of workers. The results of the study are important as they contribute to the promotion of the idea that absenteeism and presenteeism have destructive effects. They also help to justify the proposed systematisation of the phenomena and preventive measures based on the four major groups of causes.

Research Methods

Empirical scientific methods were used during all stages of the research. First, the method of observation was used to form an array of primary information, which enabled showing the phenomena of absenteeism and presenteeism as social and widespread phenomena. That is why the scope of the study goes beyond the units of observation. Second, the method of comparing allowed us to identify similarities and differences in the causes and consequences for different categories of employees. Third, the data were classified by cases of absenteeism and presenteeism in organizations. Classification parameters were selected. These parameters were used to classify the data. Statistical tables were built to show quantitative and qualitative indicators of absenteeism and presenteeism by groups. Empirical methods of data analysis were used to study the problem on the theoretical level and to draw valid conclusions.


Firstly, the phenomena of absenteeism and presenteeism are influenced by factors originating with the employer, state policy, and the employees themselves. The phenomena tend to expand, which threatens the competitiveness of the economic entity on the market of goods and services and the labour market. Employees also lose their competitive edge due to emotional burnout, lack of innovative competences, and commitment to work. Second, among the relevant causes of employee absenteeism related to working conditions and the desire to change the job are the low involvement with work, (i.e. lack of self-confidence or motivation), mobbing in the workplace, and employees’ desire to seek a new job. Third, the analysis of the phenomena of absenteeism and presenteeism in a company can be started with the development of a customised classification of employees who are prone to frequent and short-term absences from work and a rare and very long-term absences in the workplace. The information used to analyse the situation of absenteeism in the workplace should be presented by means of a step-by-step procedure which involves identifying the parameters of sickness; creating an organisational classifier of absenteeism variations due to medical reasons (disease, treatment, accident with or without further payment) and calculating absolute and relative indicators of absence from work. Fourth, the developed four-element catalogue of preventive measures for decreasing the frequency of downtime in an organisation due to the absence of employees, which includes such groups as "health", "organisation and administrative work", "working conditions", and "management", will allow employers to shape their diagnostic policy in cooperation with medical institutions and HR departments, and to take preventive measures to reduce absenteeism and presenteeism rates in the organization.


Absenteeism and presenteeism are factors contributing to team destabilisation and tarnishing the image of the organization in the labour market. They also have an economic impact. The attempt to use a scientific approach to the diagnosis and the prevention of these phenomena can be justified by the fact that causes of absence from work and the presence of sick employees in the workplace tend to transform. This happens, in particular, due to a change of values (Ruhle & Süß, 2020), rapid changes in job and position requirements, and lack of qualified specialists and managers. Changing forms of employment represent a new segment for research. Remote work, which used to be a rare event and has become a widespread phenomenon during the lockdown, have given way to new issues related to work discipline and employee health and allowing or preventing employees from completing their tasks. In case of the coronavirus, infected employees accomplish their work distantly from home using their computer, and give lectures, using digital platforms. At the same time, they are on a sick leave. A failure to communicate on time can be due to issues with network connection. Therefore, absenteeism and presenteeism are acquiring new characteristics, which can become an object for further research.


  1. Bierla, I., Huver, B., & Richard, S. (2013). New evidence on absenteeism and presenteeism. The International Journal of Human Resource Management, 24(7), 1536-1550.
  2. Frick, B., Simmons, R., & Stein, F. (2020). Timing matters: Worker absenteeism in a weekly backward rotating shift model. European Journal of Health Economics, 21(9), 1399-1410
  3. Johns, G., & Al Hajj, R. (2016). Frequency versus time lost measures of absenteeism: Is the voluntariness distinction an urban legend? Journal of Organizational Behavior, 37(3), 456-479.
  4. Mastekaasa, A. (2020). Absenteeism in the public and the private sector: Does the public sector attract high absence employees? Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory, 30(1), 60-76
  5. Melsom, A. M., & Mastekaasa, A. (2018). Gender, occupational gender segregation and sickness absence: Longitudinal evidence. Acta Soziologica, 61(3), 227-245
  6. Ruhle, S., & Süß, S. (2020). Presenteeism and absenteeism at work — An analysis of archetypes of sickness attendance cultures. Journal of Business and Psychology, 35, 241-255.
  7. Stopp, U. (1993). Betriebliche Personalwirtschaft. Verlag Ehningen Taylorich.
  8. Tourigny, L., Baba, V. V., Monserrat, S. I., & Lituchy, T. (2019). Burnout and absence among hospital nurses: An empirical study of the role of context in Argentina. European Journal of International Management, 13(2), 198-223.
  9. Yang, T., Ma, M., Guo, Y., Zhang, S., & Deng, J. (2020). Do job stress, health, and presenteeism differ between Chinese healthcare workers in public and private hospitals: A cross sectional study Psychology, Health and Medicine, 25(6), 653-665.

Copyright information

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.

About this article

Publication Date

30 April 2021

eBook ISBN



European Publisher



Print ISBN (optional)


Edition Number

1st Edition




Socio-economic development, digital economy, management, public administration

Cite this article as:

Endovitskiy, D. A., & Durakova, I. B. (2021). Economical Analysis Of Preventive Measures For Decreasing Absenteeism And Presenteeism In Organizations. In S. I. Ashmarina, V. V. Mantulenko, M. I. Inozemtsev, & E. L. Sidorenko (Eds.), Global Challenges and Prospects of The Modern Economic Development, vol 106. European Proceedings of Social and Behavioural Sciences (pp. 800-810). European Publisher.