Calculating ROI & Savings
Since school districts need to find replacements for teachers, bus drivers, and other staff when they are absent, an analysis of the rate of absenteeism and the cost of substitute staff before and after initiation of the program can demonstrate one cost benefit. Below is a sample analysis.
1. Number of sick days per year = 5.5 days per teacher.
2. Cost per teacher = $825 (Total annual cost = cost per teacher X number of teachers in district).
3. Cost of substitute teacher = $ 75/day (Total number of sick days X cost of substitute teacher).
4. Add administrative costs, such as secretary time, scheduling time, etc.
5. Total cost of absenteeism: Total annual cost of teacher absenteeism + administrative costs.
If the total cost of absenteeism is $100,000/year and the program reduces absenteeism by 50%, the cost savings would be 50% (or $50,000/year). The program cost-to-benefit ratio is easy to determine. The wellness program cost is the total spent in terms of salaries, materials, equipment, contracts, and supplies that are used to offer the employee wellness promotion program. To determine the cost-to-benefit ration, add up the total cost and subtract the savings. For example, if the wellness program cost $10,000, the total cost savings would be $40,000.i In this example, the program would have a cost-to-benefit ratio of 1:4 – for every dollar spent, the district saved $4 because of reduced absenteeism.
Why are School Employee Wellness Programs (SEWP) Important?
More than 6.7 million people are employed by public school systems in the United States – about 3.5 million teachers and 3.2 million other employees[i]. This large workforce is charged with one of the nation’s most critical functions—preparing our youth to become successful and productive citizens. When school districts ignore the health of their employees, a valuable asset of the nation’s schools is put at risk. Further, conditions that affect the health of employees also influence the health and learning of students. Protecting the physical and mental health of school employees is integral to protecting the health of students and ensuring their academic success.
What a School Employee Wellness Program Can Do
School employee wellness programs can reduce employee health risk behaviors, absenteeism, and escalating costs of health care, as well as identify and correct conditions in the workplace that threaten employee health, reduce their levels of productivity, and impede student success. Healthy employees also become positive role models for their students.
Research has confirmed that school employees who participate in wellness programs are absent from work less, increase their productivity, have lower health care and insurance costs, and have fewer work-related injuries with associated worker compensation and disability claims. School districts that implement employee wellness programs are able to improve morale and retention of current employees as well as recruit prospective employees more easily.
Worksites also benefit financially from employee wellness programs:
Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) leads nationwide SEW effort
The Directors of Health Promotion and Education (DHPE) has led the nationwide effort to provide tools and resources for implementing SEW programs since 2004. DHPE, with support from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has developed a nationally award winning guide entitled School Employee Wellness: A Guide for Protecting the Assets of Our Nation’s Schools. The guide provides step by step guidance for implementing school employee wellness programs and is available at www.dhpe.org. DHPE has also created an awards program to recognize schools and school districts that demonstrate commitment to the health of their employees by implementing school employee wellness programs. The awards program is based on the nine steps for establishing a school employee wellness program, outlined in School Employee Wellness: A Guide for Protecting the Assets of Our Nation's Schools.
[i] U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics. (2005). Digest of Education Statistics Tables and Figures. Washington, DC: U.S. Department of Education. Website: http://nces.ed.gov/programs/digest/d05/tables/dt05_001.asp. Retrieved June 14, 2006.
[ii] O’Donnell, M.P. (2002). Employer’s financial perspective on workplace health promotion in Health promotion in the workplace, third edition, M.P. O’Donnell, ed. Albany, NY: Delmar.
[iii] Whitmer, R.W., Pelletier, K.R., Anderson, D.R., Baase, C.M., and Frost, C.J. (2003). A wake-up call for corporate America. Journal of Occupational and Environmental Medicine, 45:9, 916-925.
A cost-benefit analysis of the district’s wellness programs uncovered that the district saved $15.60 for every dollar spent on wellness programs. In total the employee wellness program saved the district $2.5 mission dollars in a two-year period. – Washoe County School District, Nevada.
The Benefits of
School Employee Wellness Programs
Several school districts have seen benefits from the implementation of school employee wellness programs. The highlights: