DEFINITION of 'Presenteeism'

A loss of workplace productivity resulting from employee health problems and/or personal issues. Even though the employee is physically present at work, because they are experiencing problems such as arthritis, allergies, family illness or stress, they are unable to fully perform their work duties and are more likely to make mistakes in the work they do perform.

BREAKING DOWN 'Presenteeism'

Like absenteeism, presenteeism costs employers money. Presenteeism can even be more costly than absenteeism because the unproductive employee may detract from coworkers' performance as well. In the case of a physically sick employee who shows up to work, the cost of that employee's illness is likely to spread to other workers. Companies must account for the loss of productivity from presenteeism in addition to lost time from sick days, vacation days and other forms of employee absence.