Wellness Report – Workers not bouncing back quickly

April 11, 2023

For business owners, plan sponsors and administrators

Post-pandemic challenges: Canadian workers losing 48 days per year to absences and presenteeism according to Manulife data


  • An average of 48 days per employee were lost in 2022 due to health-related absences and presenteeism1
  • Absences and presenteeism are costing employers close to $645 million annually1
  • 18 to 24-year-old workers have poorer results in key mental, physical, and financial health indicators combined with higher productivity loss compared to older age groups1

TORONTO – Manulife’s 2022 Wellness Report, an assessment of existing workplace wellness measures of Canadian employers, highlights that a sizeable portion of Canadian workers are struggling to take care of their health and well-being, resulting in a significant drop in productivity throughout the workforce.

“While some productivity loss due to absences and presenteeism is expected, it is concerning to see these numbers have increased year-over-year, for the past three years," says Ashesh Desai, Head, Group Benefits, Manulife Canada. “In response to this trend, I encourage leaders and organizations to focus on the needs of their employees and design innovative, health-focused plans to support stronger, healthier cultures and high performance.”

The pandemic put new pressures and strains on Canadians, and as a result, we’re seeing potential effects on their health continue three years later. According to The Wellness Report, the average number of days lost to absences and presenteeism has increased by 7 days compared to data from 2021, and the health of younger Canadians (18 to 24-year-old workers) shows worrying trends. The data also shows poor sleep is associated with decreased levels of physical and mental health – with work-related stress being the top contributor to poor sleep.

“The trends in this report underline the close connections between stress and sleep, and physical and mental health – and offer insights into how to help support employee health and well-being,” says Dr. Steve Pomedli of Cleveland Clinic Canada. As Medical Director for Manulife, Cleveland Clinic Canada reviewed The Wellness Report and analyzed its key findings.

However, The Wellness Report identified that workplace culture, including the availability of programs and support from management, has an important influence on employee health. The report identified that employees of the top scoring participating organizations were more aware of the programs available through their employer to support their physical and mental health.

Starting with management, these top organizations have built an environment in which employees feel supported in achieving healthy lifestyles and habits, resulting in higher productivity, and 9 fewer days lost to absences and presenteeism.

To read the full report.

About The Manulife Wellness Report2


Since 2020, more than 18,300 employees and more than 170 organizations have participated in The Wellness Report. In 2022, 47 Manulife Group Benefits corporate customers participated, and 4,921 employees responded to the online surveys. The Wellness Report surveys were conducted in February, May, and October 2022.

The Wellness Report powered by Manulife Vitality for Group Benefits, is free for Manulife Group Benefits or Group Retirement customers, and after participating, qualifying organizations receive a free tailored health report. To learn more and sign up to participate, visit Manulife.ca

All statistics and data within this document were pulled from the 2022 Wellness Report survey results. Manulife collaborated with Phase 5 and RAND Corporation to conduct The Wellness Report surveys and reporting.

About Manulife

Manulife Financial Corporation is a leading international financial services provider, helping people make their decisions easier and lives better. With our global headquarters in Toronto, Canada, we provide financial advice and insurance, operating as Manulife across Canada, Asia, and Europe, and primarily as John Hancock in the United States. Through Manulife Investment Management, the global brand for our Global Wealth and Asset Management segment, we serve individuals, institutions, and retirement plan members worldwide. At the end of 2022, we had more than 40,000 employees, over 116,000 agents, and thousands of distribution partners, serving over 34 million customers. We trade as 'MFC' on the Toronto, New York, and the Philippine stock exchanges and under '945' in Hong Kong.

Not all offerings are available in all jurisdictions. For additional information, please visit manulife.com.


Media Contact:                                        

Odette Coleman          


1 This figure represents employers who participated in The Wellness Report.

2 The Wellness Report is free for Manulife Group Benefits or Group Retirement customers, and after participating, qualifying organizations receive a free tailored health report. To learn more and sign up to participate, visit Manulife.ca

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