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Best Arthritis Workplaces: It’s Arthritis Awareness Month – the search is on!

Best Arthritis Workplaces BannerACE is searching for Canada’s Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis

To help kick off Arthritis Awareness Month in Canada, Arthritis Consumer Experts ACE) today announced the launch of the third annual Canada’s Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis. The judging criteria this year will particularly value those organizations providing an environment that meets the needs of employees living with arthritis to manage their disease and work with symptoms such as pain, fatigue, joint dysfunction or immobility.

“Smart employers know committed, productive teams require an environment where employees know they can balance work, family and personal responsibilities. In this third year of our award, we are looking closely at the availability of flexible work benefits and policies, as well as employees’ comments on their effectiveness,” said Cheryl Koehn, President and Founder, Arthritis Consumer Experts. “We want to recognize companies providing innovative flexible work arrangements to help employees with arthritis, and other chronic diseases, take better care of themselves, and in turn report less pain, fatigue, and disruption at work, allowing them to remain employed for longer.”

Flexible work arrangements are vitally important for employees working with arthritis due to its significant impact on productivity and its cost to society. Arthritis is the most common cause of disability in Canada, typically striking people, between ages 35-50, in their prime working years. Studies have also clearly shown that the cost of being present at work, but less productive, is higher than the cost of being absent, with a workforce survey showing the cost or presenteeism was four times higher than the cost of missed days from work. Statistics Canada estimates the annual cost of workplace disability from arthritis at $13.6 billion per year.

“Our research shows that employees with arthritis who have flexibility in their work arrangements, more control and autonomy related to how they do their job and organize their schedule, and who have received job accommodations if they are needed, are more productive at work and less likely to have disruptions to their jobs or ongoing activity limitations,“ said Dr. Monique Gignac, Associate Scientific Director and Senior Scientist at the Institute for Work and Health and a Professor at the University of Toronto.

In a recent poll, commissioned by the Arthritis Alliance of Canada, approximately seven in 10 Canadians are of the view that “employers need to make much more of an effort to ensure that workers with chronic illness that limits their mobility can continue to be productive and contribute to the Canadian economy.” Only 44% of Canadians felt “confident that their employer would accommodate their needs if they developed a chronic illness that limits their mobility.”

Is your company a candidate for Canada’s Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis award?

To identify Canada’s Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis, Arthritis Consumer Experts, together with its Scientific Partner, Arthritis Research Canada, evaluates submissions from employers or employees from across Canada.

In choosing the finalists, ACE employs an extensive evaluation process, which includes wide-ranging criteria from which to judge and recognize Canadian companies’ best arthritis strategies and practices in the workplace. Categorizing companies by size (small, medium and large), ACE analyzes company practices and programs compared to other candidate companies based on criteria such as physical workplace adaptability, flexible hours, employee education, and benefit plans.

The deadline for applications is 5:00 p.m. EST on October 21, 2016 and winners will be announced during the American College of Rheumatology Annual Meeting – the premier scientific meeting in rheumatology – on November 14, 2016. To determine if your company is eligible for Canada’s Best Workplaces for Employees Living with Arthritis award, please click here.