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Absent employees cost the Canadian economy $16.6-billion in 2012, found a study by the Conference Board of Canada.

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The Canadian economy lost $16.6-billion last year due to absenteeism, according to a study by the Conference Board of Canada.

The board's report says that on average, a full-time Canadian worker was absent for 9.3 days in 2011, based on Statistics Canada data, with the highest absenteeism rates found in the health care and social assistance sectors.

The cost of lost days amounted to an average of 2.4 per cent of the gross annual payroll in Canada in 2012.

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The report found that the reasons for the absences ranged from illness to long-term leave of absences.

Those who worked in the public sector were absent for an average 12.9 days, compared to those in the private sector with an average of 8.2 days. Unionized workers had an absenteeism rate of 13.2 days, compared with 7.5 days for non-unionized workers.

The report also noted that despite the cost of the absences, only 46 per cent of employers admitted to tracking the number of days workers are absent and the reasons why.

The Canadian Press

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