DOI: 10.1093/joccuh/uiad015 ISSN: 1348-9585

A prospective cohort study of presenteeism and increased risk of unemployment among Japanese workers during COVID-19 pandemic

Yoshihisa Fujino, Makoto Okawara, Ayako Hino, Keiji Muramatsu, Tomohisa Nagata, Seiichiro Tateishi, Mayumi Tsuji, Akira Ogami, Tomohiro Ishimaru, for The Coronawork Project
  • Public Health, Environmental and Occupational Health


Objectives: Presenteeism adversely affects workers' quality of life, leading to further deterioration of their health and affecting their ability to continue working. Unemployment is one of the most serious consequences for workers experiencing presenteeism. A worker's ability to work depends on the degree of mismatch between the health status, and job demands and work factors. The COVID-19 pandemic has affected workers' experiences of presenteeism as well as their employment status. We examined the association between presenteeism and risk of job resignations and unemployment among Japanese workers during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Methods: A prospective study of 27,036 Internet monitors was conducted, starting in December 2020, with 18,560 (68.7%) participating in the follow-up by December 2021. The Work Functioning Impairment Scale (WFun) was used to measure the degree of work function impairment.

Results: The group with the highest WFun scores had higher odds ratios (ORs) for both retirement and unemployment for health reasons than the group with the lowest WFun scores. ORs were 2.99 (95%CI: 2.48-3.62, p<0. 001) and 1.82 (95%CI: 1.65-2.00, p<0.001), respectively.

Conclusions: Workers with work functioning impairment were at increased risk of resignation or unemployment. Management strategies for workers with work functioning impairment are needed to reduce their disadvantages in employment.

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