COVID-19 absences have cost employers more than $78.4 billion, according to an analysis from the Integrated Benefits Institute (IBI). Since April 2021, the loses have approached $1 billion per week. In addition, employees who get COVID-19 are expected to lose an estimated $33.3 billion in wages.

IBI used data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statics, the U.S. Census Bureau, and its on database to estimate the losses, which include potential sick leave wages, short-term disability payments, and spending on employee benefits.

Nearly half of the losses ($35.3 billion) are attributed to employee benefits, followed by sick leave wages ($24.3 billion), disability wage payments ($16.6 billion), and state disability insurance ($2.2 billion, California and New York only).

“The true cost of the COVID-19 pandemic to employers is far more than just the expense of workplace sanitization, testing, and masks,” said Joseph Aller, Director, Research and Analytics, IBI. “A holistic view of productivity presents a more accurate overall cost estimation.”