South African employers are wasting a staggering 35% of their payroll bill due to staff productivity being impaired by medical and financial problems, Alexander Forbes estimates. Alexander Forbes is one of several employee benefits companies that are persuading employers to take a greater interest in their staff's personal finances, as doing so is likely to have a significant impact on their bottom line. While many employers have already introduced workplace wellness programmes that focus on health to minimise absenteeism, company executives are now beginning to see the value of helping employees to manage their finances. Momentum has estimated the cost of lost productivity as a result of absenteeism in South Africa to be R70-billion, or 2% of GDP. It also estimates that the cost of lost productivity as a result of "presenteeism" - the hours when you are present at work but not focused on your job as a result of financial or other stress - to be four times as much. Global human reso...

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