16 Nov 2010

Ill-health costing economy billions a year - Treasury

11:39 am on 16 November 2010

Ill-health among workers is costing the New Zealand economy between $5.4 billion and $12.8 billion a year, the Treasury says.

The report, based on Statistics New Zealand data, says that equates to as much as 8.5% of the nation's gross domestic product.

The Treasury says by far the biggest indirect cost of sickness is due to the loss of productivity at work by people who are ill, rather than from people who do not turn up at all.

The report says absenteeism accounts for just 3% of the indirect costs of ill-health, compared with 55% for productivity losses due to people not performing efficiently.