THE failing economy and pressure at work is driving Mzansi people to despair.

With workers facing the constant threat of retrenchment, businesses are forced to find ways to improve their employee’s wellness.

Martin Neethling, head of health insurance at Sanlam, said wellness includes access to pharmacists, doctors, dentists, maternity benefits and more.


He said the cost of absenteeism has a significant impact on profits. Businesses that ignore it do so at their own peril.

“Occupational Care South Africa did a study in 2015 which discovered that every day, of the 15% of staff across Mzansi who call in sick, only one in three is actually ill.”

Colds and flu cost the economy over R2 billion every year and extended periods of absenteeism are often linked to an illness associated with undiagnosed chronic conditions. Staff also have to waste hours queuing at public clinics.

Other causes of absenteeism

Psychological reasons: Low morale or lack of motivation.

Personal reasons: Childcare or caring for the elderly

Financial reasons: Stress from financial worry

Health reasons: Inability to afford illness or injury

Workplace reasons: Low job satisfaction, perceived unfair treatment, boredom or bullying.

WorKing when ill

Another problem is sick people who need to be at home who come to work. They infect their co-workers and ultimately increase the absenteeism rate.

Reducing absenteeism

There’s no easy way to reduce absenteeism. You can force sick or injured workers to leave work but it is illegal to force sick staff to work.

Even forcing the sick to get doctor’s letters means they have to wait in queues, spreading their germs and taking longer to heal.

Neethling said that many employers are using online tools to measure employee satisfaction and look for signs of stress and burnout.

“Financial stress is a growing problem in Mzansi, so employers need to alleviate this anxiety by providing decent health programmes.”