Addressing Employee Absenteeism

For a business to maximize its productivity, employees must have a clear understanding of the importance attendance plays in work performance. The following information will shed some insight on employee absenteeism and the methods employers can adopt to minimise work absenteeism and promote positive employee morale. 

The Two Types of Employee Absenteeism

  • Employee absenteeism can be divided into two broad categories:
  • Planned Absenteeism: Planned absenteeism are absences that usually involve the use of annual leave or other types of paid off days (such as professional development days and/or conferences, planned medical procedures, or military duty). Also, long-term absences would fall into this category. 
  • Unplanned Absenteeism: Unplanned absenteeism consists of days that are not planned or are emergencies. Also, short-term absences that are not already scheduled to occur would fall into this category. 
  • Short and long-term absences often result from the following circumstances: long-term absences.   
  • Illness: Most short-term absences result from illnesses and recurring medical situations. 
  • Injury: Musculoskeletal issues are the most common injuries that keep people out. 
  • Stress: Most long-term illnesses for office employees result from stress. 
  • Family and Other Personal Issues: Problems with child care and care for the elderly are often reasons why people stay out of work. Also, bereavement and other emotional issues can also cause employee absenteeism. 

The Expensive Consequences of Absenteeism
According to the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, every working employee in the UK misses an average of 6.3 days, which costs the UK over 137 million days of productivity each year.  Therefore, approximately £500 per employee is spent on employee absenteeism. Also, employers in the UK pay up to £8.4 billion a year in mental health-related absences alone.

According to the Revised Estimate for Public Services 2018, the Irish government expects to pay over €3,000,000 in funds for illness, carer and disability benefits. A recent study of over 200,000 workers in Ireland revealed that employers pay at least €500 per employee each year for absences. per year per employee.  

On some days, a national study revealed that Australia can expect up to 5% of its total workforce to be out at one time, costing the nation up to $33 billion each year for dealing with absenteeism. 

How to Address Employee Absenteeism 
The following are popular practices used by businesses to deter unnecessary employee absenteeism:

Design a Well-Written Attendance Policy
Any business serious about employee productivity will have a policy in place explaining how the company will address attendance issues. This plan will provide detailed information on attendance expectations and will cover procedures the company will implement when absences occur. Making employees aware of company attendance expectations is easily done when employers invest in having new employee orientations and employee handbooks with space to discuss attendance issues. At the end of the orientation, a new employee should leave with a thorough understanding of the company’s expectation for work productivity, and employers can refer employees to the handbook to remind them of pertinent information concerning the attendance policy should the need arise.   

Create an Environment Conducive for Positive Employee Morale
Business researchers stress the importance of the impact of ergonomic work environments on employee morale. Ergonomic workstations, ergonomic breakrooms, appropriate lighting, and other ergonomic accessories are certain to boost employee morale and decrease the tendency to associate dread with the work environment.  Break rooms should foster a feeling of being in a separate environment from the regular workstation when employees occupy them. 

Monitor Time Taken Off
A popular method used by many businesses to address absenteeism is the return-to-work interview. This procedure communicates to the employee that the employer does care about the employee’s well-being, and the employer understands that people may have to miss days at work. Also, a careful monitoring of employee absences allows management to spot any patterns in absentee behaviour. 

Research has shown that just the idea of an employer monitoring attendance patterns is often a deterrent to unnecessary employee absenteeism.  If an employer detects a pattern of unnecessary absenteeism, disciplinary actions can be implemented. However, if the absences are authentic, the employer can refer the employee to local assistance programs for further help. 

Establish a Work-Life Balance
Sometimes, people experience circumstances that hinder their ability to come to work. In these cases, the employer can help by offering programs that allow employees to address life’s circumstances. The term employee assistance program (EAP) is used to identify the concept of offering workshops and other referral services to help troubled employees.  

Offer Incentives to Decrease Absenteeism
Giving employees work incentives like paid time off for a few days or up to a week for perfect monthly attendance is an awesome approach to motivating employees to refrain from unnecessary absences. Also, an employer can offer a financial bonus for employees who had no unexpected absences during the work year or add attendance performance to the employee annual evaluation form. 

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