Absence Management is the process of managing absences from the workplace. It is important to have a plan for dealing with employees who miss work because it can be disruptive and expensive when many people are absent at the same time. When designing an absenteeism management plan, you should consider how often people leave, what percentage of the workforce needs coverage when someone is absent, and whether there are consequences for absenteeism.
The most important thing you can do as an employer is to listen to your team members about what they need to do to work each day more comfortably. Let’s take a look at the best strategies for managing absenteeism and examine their importance to employee productivity and engagement.
What is Absence management?
Absenteeism management is about reducing employee absenteeism (usually due to illness or injury) through policies and procedures. To have an effective impact, these policies and procedures must be communicated to employees and managers, with management and human resources playing a proactive role in their implementation. Some organizations prefer to use the term presence management as it is seen as more positive and can even be extended to reward employees for good service.
Why is absenteeism important?
The CIPD Absence Management Survey report found that:
- An employee is absent an average of 6.9 days per year;
- Minor illnesses (eg, cold/flu, stomach upset, headaches and migraines) are the most common causes of short-term absenteeism
- The average cost of absenteeism per employee was £554.
- While there are obvious financial costs associated with absence, it can also lead to work interruptions and negativity from colleagues who may have to cover the extra work.
Absence Management Policy
Each organization determines its patterns of absenteeism. Therefore, an absenteeism policy must inform employees of these standards and let them know what is expected. An absence policy must provide a fair and consistent process to help managers manage absences and let employees know how they will be assessed. Provisions should also be made to support staff and absence management methods such as flexible working.
There must be a state that covers the payment terms, regardless of whether the organization provides the legal minimum or an increase in sick pay for a certain period. The policy should also explain what happens if absence becomes an issue and when disciplinary action can be taken.
Absence Management Data
By capturing absenteeism levels with employee absenteeism management software, data can be measured and compared internally and externally. Internally, the data can be used to measure the absenteeism of each employee by the absenteeism policy. For example, the Bradford factor can be used, which is useful for marking frequent and short-term absences.
Employee absence management data can be used against external metrics to compare an organization’s absenteeism rate with others in the same industry or of a similar size.
Employee absenteeism management data output can be used to define the arrangements that organizations implement to reduce absenteeism.
Absence management software
Managing such an important part of the business can be difficult, but absence management software makes it easier.
Using an absenteeism tracking system can make it easier to record absenteeism, understand the causes of absenteeism, and analyze data for underlying trends such as a specific department with the highest absenteeism.
Manage absenteeism and absenteeism solutions
It can be difficult to manage all the different types of absences. By establishing an absence management system, you can effectively manage your company’s schedule so everyone has the time they need while maintaining company production levels.
Return to work interviews
Recurring job interviews are considered the most effective way to reduce absences. They open up the dialogue between employees and managers from the start and allow you to reach agreements before a situation becomes a bigger problem. For example, an employee may need to change work hours one day a week to temporarily care for family members undergoing medical treatment.
Communication with the employee during long absences, whether by phone, letter, or home visit, is essential to understand the situation and plan the return to work, which must be personalized for each person. However, in some cases involving an employee’s physical or mental health, it may be necessary to refer the employee to an occupational health practitioner. In addition, experts assess the employee, recommend workplace adjustments and report to management / human resources.
An Employee Assistance Program (EAP) can also help manage absences, as programs often provide advice to employees that can help them resolve ongoing issues.
When an organization has exhausted all options for dealing with absenteeism, it is clear that there is a disciplinary process and possible dismissal. It is important that the organization’s procedures are fair, non-discriminatory, and duly followed to minimize the risk of false dismissals.