Firms suffer from workers’ absence

PETALING JAYA: Malaysian companies suffer more than RM6bil in yearly costs for man-days lost through the absence of their employees, a survey by the Malaysian Employers Fede­ra­tion (MEF) has found.

The survey indicated that the absence of employees when scheduled to work encompassed clinic visits, sick leave, prolonged illness, lateness and absence without leave.

A man-day is a unit of one day’s work by one person.

The MEF also found that the health costs of companies was on the rise, with insurance premiums also heading upwards.

“The increase in insurance premiums is a worrying trend, because it means that more employees are getting sick and using this facility.

“And this drives the premiums up,” said MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan.

“In the private sector, we are less concerned with hospitalisation benefits because nobody really likes to be hospitalised. The abuse of clinic MCs is a greater concern,” he said.

He said Malaysians did not seem to be keen on going for health screenings.

“You can see this from the Socso Health Screening Programme, where only about 20% of the vouchers issued were used. And about 65% of those screened were found to have health issues that needed to be addressed,” he added.

“As such, it is important for employers to put in place work-life balance practices as part of an employee retention programme in order to address wellness issues before they become problematic,” said Shamsuddin.

The MEF survey last year aimed to gauge the medical benefits incurred and man-days lost by companies in 2014.

For a projected workforce of 6.6 million, the MEF calculated that the companies paid out RM1.18bil in medical costs for hospitalised employees and RM46.3mil in non-hospitalisation medical costs that same year.

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