Covid-19: why presenteeism at work could amplify the epidemic

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Presentism is a phenomenon that consists of going to work after a sick leave. A practice that could promote the spread of the coronavirus in companies.

On August 5, the Directorate for the Animation of Research, Studies and Statistics published a new survey on presenteeism. This tendency is to go weakened to work. On average, employees reported eleven days of sick leave in 2016. During this period, employees were absent for at least eight days. For the past three days, they admitted to going to work without being fully healed.

Presentism in companies could help spread the virus. If employees continue to go to work while they are still sick, they could infect other people. "According to various studies, this practice has on average the effect of aggravating the health problems of employees and increasing, in the medium and long term, the number of absences for health reasons. Therefore, presenteeism is costly for the community of employees, "explained the study officials.

According to the survey, published on the website of the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Integration, France is one of the first countries in Europe affected by the phenomenon of presenteeism. Almost 62% of French employees have already practiced presenteeism in 2015 compared to 42% of employees across the European Union.

Research results have shown that women are the most likely to participate (3.4 points more than men). Regarding the socio-professional categories, managers are the most concerned about this phenomenon. People over 60 are the ones who return to work the most, always sick compared to employees under 30.

Covid-19: presenteeism a risk of the spread of the epidemic?

According to the researchers, working conditions also encourage presenteeism. When the employee is subject to time pressures or intense pace, they are more likely to return to work before the end of their sick leave. A misunderstanding with their hierarchy and the absence of a work group also favor this type of behavior.

In France, several clusters have been identified in public and private companies. In an opinion, dated July 27, the Scientific Council fears the return of a second epidemic wave for the fall. Therefore, the phenomenon of presenteeism could contribute to the rapid spread of the virus.

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