Project Description

The Issue: Older workers remain highly productive members of the labor force, as reflected in their wages and contributions to business outcomes. As the workforce ages, employers looking to maximize the value of their workforce and to make proper investments in employee health need to more fully understand how age fits into the health and productivity equation.

Evidence: We use data on lost-time benefits from IBI’s Health and Productivity Benchmarking program reflecting the experiences of 52,000 employers. Analyzing short-term disability (STD), long-term disability (LTD), federal Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) and workers’ compensation (WC) claims, we examine how age impacts the reasons for work absence and for the associated lost-time durations. Although practitioners may think that older workers have higher leave incidence and longer durations for all types of health conditions, the data tell a different story. This brief provides a brief overview of the findings.

Solution: Employers can make better decisions about how to structure their health promotion, absence management, (RTW) return-to-work and disability benefits if they understand the productivity impacts of disability absences in their workforce. Understanding how age factors into disability lost productivity is a key component. The findings point to the advantage of targeted disease management strategies according to the age profile of the workforce.

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