With flu season peaking in February and already more than 300 confirmed influenza cases in Maricopa County, it’s no surprise that health issues are among the top reasons working parents say they’ll be absent from the office this winter.
But what are the other reasons they’ll call out of work? A new survey1 from Delta Dental of Arizona details why most parents say they’ll have to miss at least some work this season:
- Wintertime Blues – Unfortunately, escaping season illnesses such as the cold or flu are often unavoidable for a working parent. Nearly six in ten (57 percent) employed moms and dads are most likely to miss work this winter from being too ill, while nearly the same amount (53 percent) say they will have to call out of work if their child becomes ill.
- A Family Affair – In addition to health issues, working parents often need to call out of work for other family issues. Nearly four in ten (36 percent) working parents will miss work for a family engagement or emergency, while 16 percent say it would be due to childcare issues, such as needing to find a babysitter on short notice.
- Smile Protection – Similar to overall illnesses, oral health problems, such as cavities or routine dental checkups, often cause parents to miss work. Parents surveyed say they are likely to miss work during the winter months due to their own oral health issues (9 percent) and those of their children (17 percent).
Delta Dental of Arizona has the following tips to help employers—and working parents—get through the season:
- To prevent illness:
- Encourage employees to wash their hands frequently and/or an alcohol-based gel if soap and water is not readily available.
- Educate employees on habits that help prevent many sicknesses from spreading: Cough and sneeze into your elbow to avoid direct contact with your hands; turn your head away from others when you cough or sneeze; and avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
- Encourage employees to get their annual flu shot as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.
- To limit absences due to oral health issues:
- Offer dental benefits to employees. An oral infection such as a cavity, tooth decay or gum disease could put employees at risk for other, more serious health problems like cardiovascular disease, diabetes or osteoporosis. Gum disease in pregnant women has even been linked to lower birth weights and premature births.
- Encourage employees—and their dependents—to use their preventive benefits. Twice yearly dental checkups are covered at no additional cost by most group dental plans and can identify the potential for dental disease before an issue becomes painful and expensive.
- If you have a wellness plan, consider adding an incentive to for employees who get routine dental preventive care twice a year.
1The survey was conducted by Kelton Global on behalf of the Delta Dental Plans Association October 26-29, 2015 among 1,013 nationally representative Americans 18+. The margin of error is +/-3.1 percent.