Domestic Violence Impacts Employee Health

This article is from Domestic Violence and the Workplace.

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Have you seen the “Blueprint for Health”? It is a calculator tool is available to help companies estimate their health and productivity costs. You can take a look at it by clicking here. It was created by Riedel & Associates, a health and productivity management consulting firm, and other organizations involved in building the tool include the Health as Human Capital Foundation, the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine and the National Business Coalition on Health. In addition, pharmaceutical maker Sanofi-Aventis U.S. supported the effort with a grant and a national advisory committee of corporate medical directors and benefits experts also helped steer the project.

While this is really great, you know what I find interesting? In all the variables they are looking at affecting productivity, absenteeism and presenteeism, nowhere do they seem to address or acknowledge the role of domestic violence. They cannot look at everything, I realize. But, I still find this fascinating.

So — what do we know about the impact of domestic violence on the workplace:

We know that 21% of full-time employed adults are victims of domestic violence according to a survey of 1,200 of them that the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence did in 2005
In a survey we released in September 2007, we found that 1 in 4 female employees in Fortune 1500 workplaces are victims of domestic violence — and 90% of employees think managers should be trained to recognize the signs of domestic violence
The CDC indicates that intimate partner violence victims lose a total of nearly 8.0 million days of paid work—the equivalent of more than 32,000 full-time jobs—and nearly 5.6 million days of household productivity as a result of the violence. They estimate the annual cost of lost productivity due to domestic violence at $727.8 million per year
The health-related costs of rape, physical assault, stalking, and homicide by intimate partners exceed $5.8 billion each year. Of this total, nearly $4.1 billion are for direct medical and mental health care services and productivity losses account for nearly $1.8 billion, according to a report by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
A study from the United Kingdom estimates time off work due to injuries caused by domestic violence costs employers and workers nearly 5.4 billion US dollars a year. Approximately half the costs of such absence is borne by the employer, and half by the individual in lost wages.
Researchers from the University of Arkansas found that women who were victims of recent domestic violence had 26 percent more time lost to tardiness and absenteeism than non-victims.
(If you want to read more, visit the “FACTS and STATS” area of the CAEPV website at http://www.caepv.org/getinfo/facts_stats.php)

And on it goes. . .

So, it seems to me while domestic violence is not the ONLY thing impacting health and productivity, it is certainly has an impact. And companies that have enlightened self-interest recognize this and want to do something about it.

About a year ago I was talking to an official who has responsibilities for addressing worker health and productivity issues for a large Fortune 100 company and we were talking about the potential impact that domestic violence could be having on this company’s workforce. The person indicated they had not really considered things in quite that way before and decided to change some metrics to begin measuring for this issue.

I talked with this individual several months after the implementation of this new metric involving domestic violence and the person said they were BLOWN AWAY by how much domestic violence was impacting the workforce just in the small area they were measuring.

The official said, “If it this measurement trend continues, then domestic violence is significantly impacting our workforce in a way we cannot begin to imagine.”

I think that Fortune 100 official was definitely right.

By the way, if you DO want to use a “Cost Calculator” for domestic violence, check out the one created by CAEPV Member Texas Health Resources by clicking here!

And, as always, there are all sorts of resources to assist employers at the Corporate Alliance to End Partner Violence website at http://www.caepv.org.

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