Distinct longitudinal patterns of absenteeism and their antecedents in full-time Australian employees
This paper investigated distinct longitudinal trajectories of absenteeism over time, and underlying demographic, work, and health antecedents. Data from the Household, Income, and Labor Dynamics in Australia Survey were used; this is a panel study of a representative sample of Australian households. This paper focused on 2,481 full-time employees across a 5-year period. Information on annual sick leave and relevant sociodemographic, work, and health-related factors was collected through interviews and self-completed surveys. Growth mixture modeling indicated 4 distinct longitudinal patterns of absenteeism over time. The moderate absenteeism trajectory (34.8%) of the sample had 4-5 days of sick leave per year and was used as the reference group. The low absenteeism trajectory (33.5%) had 1 - 2 days of absenteeism per year, while the no absenteeism trajectory (23.6%) had very low rates of absenteeism (< 11 day per year). Finally, a smaller trajectory accounting for 8.1% of the sample had high levels of absenteeism (> 11 days per year). Compared with the moderate absenteeism trajectory, the high absenteeism trajectory was characterized by poor health; the no absenteeism and low absenteeism trajectories had better health but may also reflect processes relating to presenteeism. These results provide important insights into the nature of absenteeism in Australian employees, and suggest that different patterns of absenteeism over time could reflect a range of demographic, work, and health related factors.