Tony, This is a new one on me also. According to the Oxford English Dictionary
and the Oxford Dictionaries Online
, but no one else mentioned this, it is said to be a British usage. A Google Ngram (for what it’s worth) has it appearing about twice as often in British English than in American English. A Google search produced 187,000 hits at my space-time coordinates. And a cursory look at one news archive showed its use to be overwhelmingly British. I did note its absence in Merriam-Webster Online
, and Random House Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary
and the American Heritage Dictionary
(4th edition, 2006). However, it does appear in the American Heritage Dictionary
(5th edition, 2013).
OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY
: The fact or condition of being present, especially at work; (British
) (a) the practice of working more hours than is required by one's terms of employment, or of continuing to work without regard to one's health, especially because of perceived job insecurity; (b) the practice of attending a job but not working at full capacity, especially because of illness or stress. Usually opposed to [[and a play on]] absenteeism
lists “perceived job insecurity” as a major motivation for presenteeism
. Here are some others:
a) One simply loves one’s job.
b) One is trying to impress one’s boss and/or fellow workers.
c) Fear of being considered a slacker.
c) One simply needs the money if overtime is being paid or if one has no paid sick leave.
d) It is part of the corporate culture.
For more than you ever want to know about presenteeism
see Wikipedia here
The following quotes are from the Oxford English Dictionary
and archived sources:
<1931 “Certainly he is an absentee. . .—if he adopted the habit of dropping in at the works and making well-meant suggestions . . . , is it likely that his presenteeism would be helpful?”—Everybody’s Business by H. Withers, ix. page 161>
<1943 “The Kaiser Company's public relation officials discovered that the term ‘absenteeism’ irked the people who read it . . . The Kaiser Company . . . changed its policy and praised those who were on the job by using the term ‘presenteeism’.”—National Liquor Review, July, page 4/2> [[Hmm! Kaiser was a U.S. company.]]
<1948 “In addition to trying to decrease absenteeism (and increase ‘presenteeism’), the committees also took steps to reduce labor turnover.”—Contemporary Unionism by C. E. Dankert, xxvi. page 474>
<1989 “Executives might be suffering from levels of stress that impair their performance . . . through what she calls ‘presenteeism’—being at work but not fully available psychologically.”—EuroBusiness, January, page 17/1>
<1994 “[Two employees] are typical of a workforce now motivated by presenteeism—the exact opposite of absenteeism—being at work when you should be at home, either because you are ill or because you are working such long hours that you are no longer effective.”—Sunday Times (London), (News Review section), 16 October, page 8>
<1999 “Deborah Orr . . . rightly identifies the macho culture of presenteeism as an impediment to genuine equality at the workplace and in wider society.”—The Independent (London), (Friday Review), 25 January, page 2/1>
<2004 “Presenteeism At Work--But Out of It: Employers are beginning to realize that they face a nearly invisible but significant drain on productivity: presenteeism, the problem of workers being on the job but, because of illness or other medical conditions, not fully functioning. By some estimates, the phenomenon costs U.S. companies over $150 billion a year--much more than absenteeism does.”—Harvard Business Review, 1 October>
<2005 “You know the feeling -- your throat is scratchy, your cough persistent and your boss a stickler for attendance. Or a deadline looms as your stomach churns. So you pack up the cough drops or Pepto-Bismol and head to the office. And you work at half speed and hope your co-workers don't catch what ails you. HR folks call this growing reality ‘presenteeism’ -- as in the opposite of absenteeism.”—Washington Post (D.C.), 18 October>
<2010 “And job insecurity is breeding self-protection, presenteeism, and a tougher fight to the top for all, according to business advisers PricewaterhouseCoopers.”—Birmingham Mail (England), 9 March>
<2014 “Macho Culture ‘Forces Mothers out of Work’: . . . Many of the women said they found it hard to combine work and motherhood because of the dominant culture of presenteeism - the notion that they should be at their desks until late.”—The Scotsman (Edinburgh), 10 March>
Ken – April 29, 2014