Today’s post comes from guest author Nathan Reckman from Paul McAndrew Law Firm in Iowa. It looks like the flu season has come early and with a vengeance this year. This appears to be the case both nationwide and in our part of the Great Plains. A really impressive graphic in the “recently reported” link that Mr. Reckman highlights below shows that 39% of U.S. GDP is affected due to lost productivity! In this flu season, the article shows how important it is for all employers to provide sick days and also invest in the health of their employees. Because healthy workers are more productive, and the post below shows that the return on investment is worth it!
The Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI), a nonprofit health and productivity research organization for businesses, recently reported that poor health costs the U.S. economy $576 billion per year. Of this amount:
- $227 billion is lost due to sick days or reduced productivity due to illness,
- $232 billion is spent by employers on medical and pharmacy treatments, and
- $117 billion is spent on workers’ compensation and short- or long-term disability wage replacement.
To give you a sense of the scale of this loss, it is larger than the entire gross domestic product (GDP) of all but the top 20 countries. Our $576 billion loss dues to poor health costs would fall directly behind the GDP of Saudi Arabia (2011 GDP: $577.6 billion) and in front of the Swedes (2011 GDP: $538.2 billion). For comparison, the U.S.’s $15,090 billion GDP was the largest in the world, followed by China at $7,298 billion.
…for every $1 employers invest in improving their employees’ health and wellness they save $3…
Sean Nicholson, Ph.D., quoted in the IBI report, has stated that for every $1 employers invest in improving their employees’ health and wellness they save $3 (quite a good return on their investment!). As wisely pointed out by IBI’s President, Thomas Parry, Ph.D., this report puts employers on notice that their investment in workers’ health and wellness will benefit both the workers and their employers.
This report, in addition to pointing out the dual benefits posed by increased employer investment in their employees’ health and wellness, points out one of the important choices facing our country’s healthcare system.
Source for 2011 GDP information: CIA World Factbook