- In the last 22 months, workers' pandemic-related absences have cost employers more than $78.4 billion — nearly $1 billion each week — according to a Dec. 20 analysis from the Integrated Benefits Institute.
- The institute considered disability wage payments, state disability insurance, sick leave wages and employee benefits in its calculation. It used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, as well as "lost workday experiences contained in its own dataset of employer-sponsored disability claims to model lost work time impacts" based on the total case count in the U.S.
- California, Texas and New York exhibited the highest lost work time. Among metropolitan areas, New York City, Los Angeles and Chicago incurred the largest lost-work-time-cost burden.
Employers may find it easy to track tangible pandemic expenses, but an outstanding cost lies in a more intangible area, acoording to IBI Research and Analytics Director Joseph Aller.
"The true cost of the COVID-19 pandemic to employers is far more than just the expense of workplace sanitization, testing, and masks," he said in a statement. "A holistic view of productivity presents a more accurate overall cost estimation."
Employers may battle productivity issues even among workers who clock in. Stress can cost employees hours of work time, a 2020 Headspace survey found. A quarter of the respondents said they lose an hour of work per day to stress. A fifth said they lose up to two hours.
To combat employee stress, many employers have adopted or augmented mental health benefits. One source recently told HR Dive that employers ought to emphasize preventative mental health care. Conditions like depression develop over time, meaning employers have many places on the mental health spectrum they can meet somebody before a condition becomes severe.