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Absent Employees Costing Malaysian Firms Over RM6b Annually

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Companies here lose more than RM6 billion each year in lost productivity from unscheduled employee absence, according to a survey by the Malaysian Employers Federation (MEF). According to a report by The Star, the survey indicated that reasons for the absenteeism include clinic visits, sick leave, prolonged illness, lateness and absence without leave. A man-day is a unit of one day's work by a single employee.

The MEF survey also found that healthcare costs of companies were on the rise, along with insurance premiums. “The increase in insurance premiums is a worrying trend, because it means that more employees are getting sick and using this facility,” MEF executive director Datuk Shamsuddin Bardan was quoted saying. He said while the private sector was less concerned with hospitalisation benefits and costs, there was a greater concern of the abuse of clinic MCs by employees.

Another problem, Shamsuddin said was that Malaysians generally do not like to go for health screenings. “You can see this from the Socso Health Screening Programme, where only about 20 per cent of the vouchers issued were used". "And about 65 per cent of those screened were found to have health issues that needed to be addressed,” he added.

The MEF survey last year was aimed at gauging the medical benefits incurred by companies and man-days lost in 2014. For a projected workforce of 6.6 million, the MEF said that companies forked out RM1.18 billion in medical costs for hospitalised employees and RM46.3 million in non-hospitalisation medical costs in 2014.

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