Jottings By An Employer's Lawyer

Thursday, December 01, 2005

The Importance of Paralegals - An Interesting Look at Employee Absenteeism

Although prepared for a different purpose (to show the value of investing in programs for employee health) a recent Wharton study, Multiplier Effect: The Financial Consequences of Worker Absences, ranks paralegals as the #1 most costly person to have absent out of 35 job types considered. The reason -- the multiplier effect:
Many paralegals, for example, serve as the "memory and legs" of lawyers in a law firm by helping to keep tabs on deadlines and making sure filings are delivered in a timely fashion, says Wharton professor of health care systems Mark V. Pauly. So, when a paralegal is sick, the loss in productivity can be large as replacements struggle to learn about the absent worker's cases. That's not as true, however, with fast food cooks, waiters and hotel maids. Because employees in those fields tend to perform discrete, measurable tasks and work individually, managers don't struggle as much to replace sick workers.
The concept -- the multiplier reflects the cost to the firm as a proportion of the absent worker's daily wage. The multiplier for a paralegal -- 1.93. If you're intrigued about the concept, check out the full research paper, How to Present the Business Case for Healthcare Quality to Employers[pdf].

Not a bad thing to have when impressing on employees, or perhaps even a jury, how costly workers absences are.

Thanks to the TP Wire Service for the link.

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