Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Work Flexibility and Absenteeism

The White House Council of Economic Advisers issued a new report, Work-Life Balance and the Economics of Workplace Flexibility (.pdf). The new report contains some common sense, some empirical data, and some advocacy for certain workplace policies.

One particularly interesting section shows the effect a flexible work schedule program had on one subdivision of a large public utility. The chart shows absenteeism in that subdivision in comparison to other subdivisions that did not implement the flexible work schedule.
As you can see, the subdivision that implemented the program had a similar rate of absenteeism to the rest of the utility (actually a little higher) both before and after the temporary program. During the program, however, the rate in that subdivision dropped significantly. Granted this is a sample size of a whopping one employer. Still, it offers some evidence that flexible scheduling may save money by cutting the costs of absenteeism.

Posted by Philip Miles, an employment lawyer with McQuaide Blasko in State College, Pennsylvania.