Growing Worker Stress Seen in Benefits Use

A survey of large companies shows the economy is prompting
stressed-out workers to call in sick more and seek greater help from employee assistance programs.

Benefits consultant Watson Wyatt says 22 percent of companies responding to an e-mail survey have seen an increase in unplanned
absences. Nearly half saw more use of employee assistance programs, which typically offer counseling or stress management help.

Workers also are using their health benefits more. Watson Wyatt says this is typical in a tough economy, when employees worried about layoffs try to use benefits while they still have them.

Watson Wyatt Worldwide Inc. conducted the survey with the National Business Group on Health.

(Copyright 2009 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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