Session Type: Poster Session (Tuesday)
Session Time: 9:00AM-11:00AM
Background/Purpose: Young adults with rheumatic disease who are employed frequently report presenteeism (i.e., working while unwell). Workplace supports including extended health benefits, job accommodations and work modifications have the potential to minimize presenteeism and promote long-term labor market engagement. Study objectives are to examine the most needed workplace supports reported by young adults with rheumatic disease, and to determine the relationship between meeting workplace support needs and presenteeism.
Methods: Baseline findings from an ongoing three-year longitudinal study of the transitional work experiences of Canadian young adults (18-35 years) with rheumatic disease are presented. Participants were recruited from rheumatology clinics, community-based patient organizations and a survey research firm. All participants completed an online survey that asked about sociodemographic (e.g., age, gender), health factors (e.g., pain, fatigue, disease activity) and work context (e.g., work hours, job demands). Participants were also asked about need for and use of twelve workplace supports. Participants were categorized as having workplace support needs met or exceeded when workplace supports used were equal or greater than the number of workplace supports needed, respectively. Presenteeism was assessed using one item from the Work Productivity and Impairment Questionnaire that asked about the effect of health on work (0= no effect; 10= completely prevented from working). A multivariable proportional odds model was used to examine the relationship between meeting workplace support needs and presenteeism.
Results: 412 young adult participants with rheumatic disease completed the baseline survey. Mean age of participants was 29 years (±4.2) and over half were female (51%). A majority of participants had rheumatoid arthritis (36%) or juvenile arthritis (20%). Participants indicated moderate pain, fatigue and disease activity. The most needed workplace supports included scheduling flexibility (92%), drug coverage (91%), paid sick leave (86%) and modified job duties (81%). Just over half of participants reported that their workplace needs were met (41%) or exceeded (16%); 43% reported unmet need. The sample’s mean presenteeism score was 5.3 (±2.3). Those who reported that their workplace support needs were exceeded indicated significantly lower presenteeism (mean = 4.2 ± 2.8) compared to those who reported workplace support needs met (mean = 5.4 ± 2.5) or unmet (mean = 5.4 ± 2.4). When controlling for sociodemographic and health factors, those whose workplace support needs were exceeded showed 50% lower risk of reporting presenteeism (RR = 0.50, 95% CI 0.29-0.87). Having workplace needs met or unmet were not significantly associated with presenteeism.
Conclusion: For young adults, the workplace plays an important role in fostering work productivity. By providing diverse workplace supports and encouraging their use, employers can attenuate the relationship between rheumatic disease and presenteeism at the early career phase.
To cite this abstract in AMA style:Jetha A, Tucker L, Bowring J, Backman C, Proulx L, Kristman V, Hazel E, Perlin L, Gignac M. It Starts at Work: The Relationship Between Workplace Supports and Presenteeism Among Young Adults with Rheumatic Disease [abstract]. Arthritis Rheumatol. 2019; 71 (suppl 10). https://acrabstracts.org/abstract/it-starts-at-work-the-relationship-between-workplace-supports-and-presenteeism-among-young-adults-with-rheumatic-disease/. Accessed October 1, 2022.
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