Presenteeism: The Dark Side of Employee Attendance




Poms, Laura Wheeler

Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Employee attendance is of primary importance to virtually every organization. Until recently this research has focused primarily on absenteeism. Researchers have now begun to focus on the other side of the attendance equation, presenteeism, which is going to work despite feeling ill. This study examined both presenteeism and absenteeism and provides the beginning of a theoretical rational based on the effort-reward imbalance framework for how certain factors influence an employee’s decision to attend or not attend work when sick. Using an internet-based survey, data from 424 working adults in the United States were collected. Results suggest that individuals high in overcommitment are more likely to come to work when sick, to have lower self-reported health and to continue to work at home, even when they are supposed to be taking sick leave. A direct effect on health was found for recovery, suggesting that individuals who participate in activities that help them disengage from work were healthier. These results imply that organizations should consider policies and supervisor training programs that encourage employees to use sick leave when needed.



Psychology, Management, Absenteeism, Effort-reward Imbalance, Employee Attendance, Health, Presenteeism, Recovery