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Key findings

The human capital of the APS is an important resource for Australia and the maintenance of this is a key concern for the APS. The health and wellbeing of the workforce is therefore a key concern for APS managers and human resource practitioners, but the effect the workplace can have on employee health and wellbeing is complex and can be positive and negative.

Employee health and wellbeing can have a direct effect on organisational productivity through presenteeism or employee absence for reasons of ill health. While more difficult to quantify, the positive impacts of being at work and contributing to outcomes while recovering from illness or injury need to be assessed having regard to the potential additional losses in productivity from the possible spread of infection or lengthened recovery. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that the bulk of productivity losses due to illness or injury are within the control of the employer.

The APS actively manages many health and wellbeing risks inherent in its workplace through comprehensive health and safety regulations, bullying prevention programs and a range of health and wellbeing programs. However, the data would suggest that other aspects of a healthy workplace contribute significantly to employee health and wellbeing and that these warrant further attention, including the consistency of the safety culture of the workplace and the more consistent application of supportive leadership practices.