Anteceding factors predicting absenteeism and presenteeism in urban area in Malaysia

Lei Hum Wee, Lena Lay Ling Yeap, Caryn Mei Hsien Chan, Jyh Eiin Wong, Nor Aini Jamil, Yogarabindranath Swarna Nantha, Ching Sin Siau

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    Background: Organization productivity is strongly linked to employees' socioeconomic characteristics and health which is marked by absenteeism and presenteeism. This study aims to identify anteceding factors predicting employees' absenteeism and presenteeism by income, physical and mental health. Methods: An online health survey was conducted between May to July 2017 among employees from 47 private companies located in urban Malaysia. A total of 5235 respondents completed the 20-min online employee health survey on a voluntary basis. Chi-Square or Fisher's exact tests were used to determine association between income with demographic and categorical factors of absenteeism and presenteeism. Multivariate linear regression was used to identify factors predicting absenteeism and presenteeism. Results: More than one third of respondents' monthly income were less than RM4,000 (35.4%), 29.6% between RM4,000-RM7,999 and 35.0% earned RM8,000 and above. The mean age was 33.8 years (sd ± 8.8) and 49.1% were married. A majority were degree holders (74.4%) and 43.6% were very concerned about their financial status. Mean years of working was 6.2 years (sd ± 6.9) with 68.9% satisfied with their job. More than half reported good general physical health (54.5%) (p = 0.065) and mental health (53.5%) (p = 0.019). The mean hours of sleep were 6.4 h (sd ± 1.1) with 63.2% reporting being unwell due to stress for the past 12 months. Mean work time missed due to ill-health (absenteeism) was 3.1% (sd ± 9.1), 2.8% (sd ± 9.1) and 1.8% (sd ± 6.5) among employees whose monthly income was less than RM4,000, RM4,000-RM7,999 and over RM8,000 respectively (p = 0.0066). Mean impairment while working due to ill-health (presenteeism) was 28.2% (sd ± 25.3), 24.9% (sd ± 25.5) and 20.3% (sd ± 22.9) among employees whose monthly income was less than RM4,000, RM4,000-RM7,999 and over RM8,000 respectively (p < 0.0001). Factors that predict both absenteeism and presenteeism were income, general physical health, sleep length and being unwell due to stress. Conclusions: A combination of socioeconomic, physical and mental health factors predicted absenteeism and presenteeism with different strengths. Having insufficient income may lead to second jobs or working more hours which may affect their sleep, subjecting them to stressful condition and poor physical health. These findings demand holistic interventions from organizations and the government.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number540
    Number of pages12
    JournalBMC Public Health
    Issue numberSuppl 4
    Publication statusPublished - 13 Jun 2019


    • Absenteeism
    • Employees
    • Lower income
    • Malaysia
    • Presenteeism

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