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Did you Know That Short Term Disability Costs $374 Per Employee?


By Truven Staff/Thursday, December 10, 2015

National Business Group on Health (the Business Group) and Truven Health Analytics partnered to conduct a study to determine the per-employee financial impact short term disability has on companies.

EMPAQ® (Employer Measures of Productivity, Absence and Quality™) is an employer-developed and -driven measurement tool. Short-term disability (STD) is one of the categories researched in the recent study. STD payments provide some income protection to employees who can’t work due to medical disability, though policies don’t cover the medical-related expenses that may be paid by a separate group health policy. The EMPAQ research findings on STD programs include:

  • On a per-industry basis, the cost per-employee for short-term disability varied. On average, the cost per covered employee was $374.
  • The average rate of lost work days was 321.4 per 100 employees.
  • The manufacturing industry experienced the highest rate of STD lost workdays (390.6 per 100 employees) and the
  • College and university industry reported the lowest rate (216.4 per 100 employees).
  • Employers offering a fitness program had a 16 percent lower incidence rate of short-term disability
Use EMPAQ Data to Improve Your Work Programs

Having access to data on the management of absence, health, and productivity programs is one aspect of having a successful workforce. But it’s important to use the statistics to improve the company:

  • Companies that provided employees with a fitness program had a 16 percent lower rate of STD-claim incidence. Consider offering a fitness program or incentives to lower disability claims.
  • Consider a stay-at-home work policy that enables employees to continue to work while recovering.

EMPAQ provides employers with a framework by which to measure and monitor the return on investment they’re receiving from their human capital investments. The EMPAQ insight report delivers an overview of the EMPAQ metrics for program year 2014. It was developed by analyzing responses to EMPAQ surveys from more than 100 large employers representing nearly 4 million employees. For more information, download the Insights Report or visit EMPAQ.org. 

The EMPAQ data collected for 2014 included information for four distinct categories, including STD programs, and six key health and productivity programs. Organizations that participate in the survey process receive a customized benchmarking report. Download a sample customized report.


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