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Managing Absenteeism Essay Writing

Definition of absenteeism: An employee's deliberate or habitual absence from work. In today's working organisations everybody misses a day of work now and then. But when an employee misses too many days of work it can be a big problem for the organisation and this can cause serious problems when all other employees have to cover for the missing worker or in worse cases the work simply doesn't get done.

Absenteeism can cost the business

It's no secret that missing workers cost companies millions of dollars in lost revenue each year. But exactly how much does absenteeism costyour business? According to a new survey by Mercer,Absences," the total cost of absence can equal as much as 36% of payroll (compared to 15.4% for health care coverage). Of that figure, 9% accounts for unplanned absences. Planned absences, like vacations and holidays, average 26.6%. For a midsize business, this unplanned absence can account for as much as $4.5 million per year.[1]

While in the UK 93% of employees cite colds and flu as their reason for being away from work, IHC estimates that 13.4 million working days a year are lost to stress, anxiety and depression, and 12.3 million to back and upper limb problems. And the overall cost to UK industry? A whopping £11.5bn in 2002 was paid out in wages to absent employees and on additional overtime and temporary staff cover, according to the CBI. One such firm that has decided to tackle the problem of workplace absence is investment management company INVESCO.

Based in the City of London and Henley-on-Thames and employing 1,000 permanent staff, it realised that absenteeism, whether to visit a doctor, physiotherapist or councillor, was costing it an estimated £38,000 a year after carrying out a study into the problem in late 2002. [2]

Because of the unplanned absences like casual sick days cause the highest per-day productivity loss, 21% versus just 15% for planned absences like vacation days. On an average, employees have 5.3 unplanned absence days per year.


The search for a generalized theory of motivation at work appears to be in vain. A major determinant of behaviour is the particular situation in which individual workers find themselves.


The most obvious way to measure worker absenteeism is to record how many days have employees not come in to work. The companies should have some sort of clock-in or accountability set-up making this step relatively simple. Once the numbers are available, surely it would be interesting to know how many of those workers were genuinely ill. Asking the employee directly is not a good idea because they can lie about their well being. Perhaps a better idea would be a less intimidating anonymous survey, to ask the employee, "Have you ever called in sick for reasons other than actually being ill?" And then ask what the reasons were. The employees are often happy to express their frustrations. They want changes just as badly as the manager want things to change. Employees are more likely to be honest if there is no way to trace their comments back to them. Exit surveys are other good opportunities to ask for an employee's honest answers. When the worker doesn't fear loosing his job, he is usually more open with his true feelings.

Employees are not perfect. Human error, burnout, and frustration are inevitable. It is difficult to make changes to the way that people think and perform. An individual is more likely to change personal behavior is it is a choice that he has made, not an order given. Below are some suggestions for encouraging worker compliance and creating motivation for personal attendance responsibilities, sometimes referred to as a worker absenteeism preventative program: Wage Payment/IncentiveSystem- Workers respond to monetary incentives. If they know that wage payment is dependent on production quality, you can bet that they are going to try harder to produce the best product possible. Hourly Earnings - Evaluate how your pay method relates to production. Is the slothful worker being paid equal to the worker who is more efficient? Is your goal quantity or quality and does your compensation reflect your answer? CashRewardsand Recognition - Healthy competition can do wonders for an unmotivated group. Spice things up! Having fun is not against the rules. Let your outstanding employees know that their efforts have not gone unnoticed. Breaks - people can only work so hard for so long. Burning your employees out by overworking them is not good incentive for continuing to work at their peak abilities. Competency overload - Part of enjoying your work is understanding your contribution to the bigger picture and being confident in your efforts. Insufficient training, Stress, fatigue, constantly malfunctioning equipment, etc. can discourage your workers. Make sure you are given them the tools necessary to do their best. Child care and Employee assistance programs - Let your actions show that you care about your employees. Provide them with services that will reduce the stresses experience not only at work but outside of work as well. It is unreasonable to expect 100% focus from a worker who is having a traumatic situation at home. Be sensitive to the individual.

Although these suggestions seem a bit elementary, less than 30% of companies actually implement an aggressive worker absenteeism preventative program. In today's society of wanting everything without giving anything, both the worker and the employer lose.

What can you do to manage the costs of absenteeism?

  1. Know your costs.

  2. Use the ratios of total costs to direct costs to estimate your organization's total costs.

Educate your staff and managers on:

  1. What the real costs of absences are.

  2. What other employers are doing (or not doing) to better trackandmanage absences.


The continuing cost of absenteeism
By Will Smale

BBC News Online business reporter

Workplace stress can be a genuine cause of absenteeism

Most of us have been there at least once: you wake up with a screaming hangover and really can't face going into work.

In fact even getting out of bed seems impossible, the pain and misery is that bad.

You knew you shouldn't have drunk so much on a school night, but you got a bit carried away with the fun and the company. Throwing a sickie or possibly death are the only answers.

So hangover fear rising, you ask your flatmate to phone your boss to say you've got a "migraine".

Leaving you feeling grim and guilty for the rest of the day, but at least with lots of comfort food and telly.

Numerous factors

Taking a one-off sickie may not seem too much of a crime, but they all add up to a major headache for UK industry.

So much so that according to a report by healthcare consultancy IHC, 40 million days are lost each year in the UK to workplace absenteeism.

That's got hangover written all over it

And while 93% of employees cite colds and flu as their reason for being away from work, IHC says that in reality at least half of all workplace absence has absolutely nothing whatsoever to do with health.

Instead, it says, people decide to stay away from the office for a whole host of work, personal or domestic issues.

These range from bullying in the workplace, to responsibility for children or elderly relatives, to job demotivation, low pay, or the above-mentioned hangover.

High cost

Yet of course ill health can still be caused by someone's job, be it a bad back due to inappropriate seating, or mental issues such as stress or depression as a result of bullying, pressure, alcoholism or drug problems, or over-work

There will always be a certain level of absenteeism - around 15% - which there is not a lot employers can do about it

CBI spokesman

IHC estimates that 13.4 million working days a year are lost to stress, anxiety and depression, and 12.3 million to back and upper limb problems.

And the overall cost to UK industry? A whopping £11.5bn in 2002 was paid out in wages to absent employees and on additional overtime and temporary staff cover, according to the CBI.

The message of IHC is simply prevention - try to remove the reasons why staff may be absent in the first place, not just react to the problem after it has happened.

"Dig beneath the surface of any company, and you will probably find a whole host of cultural, organisational and management issues lurking behind high absenteeism rates," said healthcare consultant Paul Roberts, the author of the IHC report Absenteeism - Industry's Hidden Disease.

"The good news is that it's actually quite simple to manage absenteeism - and the benefits are both immediate and long-term."

Removing causes

One such firm that has decided to tackle the problem of workplace absence is investment management company Invesco.

Based in the City of London and Henley-on-Thames and employing 1,000 permanent staff, it realised that absenteeism, whether to visit a doctor, physiotherapist or councillor, was costing it an estimated £38,000 a year after carrying out a study into the problem in late 2002.

Taking on the problem, Invesco overhauled its health provision, deciding to invest in a private GP for its staff and also to bring in a phsyiotherapist.

In addition it started workstation assessments by a qualified ergonomist, free health tests and counselling, and non-contributory private medical insurance for its staff.

It has found that one-day sickness absences have fallen by 6%, saving 60 working days per year.

"It has helped us raise staff morale and increase wellness at the same time as reducing down-time in the office and improve productivity," said Laura Ashford, the company's compensation and benefits manager.


Yet according to the CBI, there will always only ever be so much a company can do to prevent absenteeism.

While it calls on companies to do all they can to try to limit the problem, its most recent study on the issue estimates that up to 15% of absences are not genuine.

"Employers obviously have an obligation to make working life as pleasant as possible for their staff," said a CBI spokesman.

"However, there will always be a certain level of absenteeism - around 15% - which there is not a lot employers can do about."

Or in layman terms some employees will always try and take the proverbial, or wake up with the occasional bad hangover.


Absenteeism occurs when an employee of a company does not come to work due to scheduled time off, illness, injury, or any other reason. The cost of absenteeism to business, usually expressed in terms of lost productivity, is difficult to determine. Studies from government sources such as the U.S. Bureau of the Census and U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics put the direct losses at more than $40 billion a year; the Social Security Administration determined that, in one year, workers missed more than half a billion days. Various private studies and polls studying particular elements of absenteeism sometimes put the figure much higher. One recent Gallup poll did not put a price tag on the sniffles and swollen eyes, but claimed that more than 3 million workdays per year are lost when working people stay home because their allergies are acting up. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology released a study in 1994 claiming that clinical depression alone resulted in more than 213 million lost workdays, costing $24 billion.

There is little written history of absenteeism in business literature, probably because until the 20th century businesses had a simple rule, "No work: no pay." The practice of offering paid "sick days" did not become widespread untillabor unionsforced companies intocontractsallowing employees to take time off for illness or vacation. While practices vary among companies and union contracts, an average of four to ten sick days per year is standard.

Although companies were originally unwilling to offer paid leave to workers, they have come to realize that humane absence-management policies are cost-effective. In fact, it is estimated that companies with effective employee absence strategies reduce their overall payroll costs by 10 percent. Furthermore, a 1995 study discovered a correlation between absenteeism and employee turnover. Companies with high rates of absenteeism were found to be more likely to have their employees leave for jobs with other firms. In light of such findings, employers have recognized that a generous absence policy can be profitable and contribute to employee satisfaction and stability.


The problem of absenteeism is addressed directly by some companies, and some handle the situation better than others. One recent study involved a television manufacturer that operated with a lean staff. Every nonsalaried employee scheduled to work was required to be on the floor, or a substitute had to be found. The union negotiated with the company to reduce the number of annual excused absences allowable from 24 days to 18, but allowed some vacation days to be applied toward other forms of absence. Employees with more than 18 absences could be terminated. The company thought that this reduction in absences before termination would show how serious it was about keeping employees on the line, and reduce absenteeism.

After the new contract went into effect there was a 45 percent decline in the number of unexcused absences and a 22 percent drop in excused absences, which was in keeping with corporate intentions. The use of vacation time to compensate for absences jumped 81 percent, however, leaving a net increase of 12 percent in work hours lost to absenteeism. In-creased use of vacation time, which could be taken without advance notice, also caused greater disruption than the use of excused absences, which had to be scheduled in advance with supervisors.

In the next round of labor negotiations, the company secured the elimination of the vacation-day substitution practice. It also told employees desiring to move into different jobs that they must have had a good attendance record the previous year. As an additional incentive, the company also offered a perfect attendance bonus of $200. In the first year of the new arrangement, 127 employees qualified for the bonus; during the previous year only 27 employees had perfect attendance records. The experience of this company shows the importance of understanding absenteeism and the potential abuses of absence-management policies.


Some companies have approached similar problems by eliminating sick leave altogether. Instead of vacation time and sick leave, the companies have developed "paid-leave banks." In one study of 464 hospitals using seven different methods of controlling absenteeism, only the paid leave bank consistently showed a positive effect in controlling absenteeism. This method of absence management is known as the "paid time off system.

Often, companies have halved the amount of time previously set aside for sick leave and added those days to the "bank." At the start of the year employees understand they have a certain number of paid days off work that can be taken for any reason of their choosing. No sick days are allotted. If an employee is legitimately ill and cannot return to work after using all the days in his or her "bank," short term disability payments start. One company using such a policy found its employees' reporting of illness absences dropped by more than 30 percent in one year.


Human resources managers also grapple with problems posed by workers who are chronically absent. The legal right of employers to discipline employees who are chronically absent is firmly established; employers must first, however, make such employees aware of the problem and give them a chance to improve. Some companies have implemented a surprisingly simple solution to the problem of chronic absenteeism: they have the worst offenders counsel each other. In one research study patterned after drug and alcohol abuse programs, a company paired valued employees who had absence problems with each other. If one felt like skipping work, he or she was encouraged to call the buddy to talk it out.

During the study, the employees' absence rates dropped by nearly 50 percent. Once they stopped participating in this absence-intervention program, their absence levels increased, but they remained lower than they had been before peer counseling. Employees who participated in the study found that they could talk freely with each other about the reasons behind their absences. The buddy would help talk through the problem, and encourage the wavering employee to return to work. Absence-intervention programs have also revealed that absentee workers have little idea how much time they were really missing from work. They knew they were taking "too much" time, but until the buddy started tracking it for them, they were unaware of how their absence was affecting the company.

Similarly, companies are increasingly aware that, by understanding the causes of absenteeism, the phenomenon can be reduced to its lowest possible level. Recent research has indicated that rates of absenteeism can be predicted by analyzing an employee's job satisfaction, job involvement, and work stress. Additionally, a worker's family status is a key predictor of absenteeism. Employees with children, particularly single parents, are far more likely to be absent than those without children. As such, future absence-management policies will most likely include the concept of paid time off coupled with improved family health, child care/elder care, and other programs designed to improve the quality of employees' lives and relieve some of their family and other nonwork responsibilities.


Practical Guideline for Controlling Unauthorized Absence

There are many theories to explain of absence causes. And it make us realize, we can not solve causal absence problem and control absenteeism as minimum as we could, with simply method. We need comprehensive approach to reducing absenteeism issue. Here some practical method explained :

1. Make your absences policy work out. You have to apply other system to make sure your absenteeism rule and regulation implemented well to all employee. Such as :

  • Put absenteeism rate as a standard objective to work towards. Its not enough if you just make a statement such as, "reducing absence into minimum". Put them as part of the performance appraisal system and give a target with number. Of course, you still have to give tolerance for them for getting sick, having babies or in crisis situation. With those consideration, you can give absence rate such as 3.5%

  • Train managers about cost of absenteeism, how to control it and how to conducting counseling session with their subordinate.

  • Make additional regulation to reduce pay on their absence day and communicate to them how much that they have lost money. It will prevent them to extend their absence any longer that necessary. But you have to check the local legal regulation and policy before apply this method.

  • Make system to records the employee absence. Someday you will need it to find absence pattern, unreasonable absence excuse or anything else as strong facts for give consequences or legal actions.

  • Give appreciation to the attendance. You can make simple celebration just to pronounce who the best employee in attendance. Let all member of the team to choose the winner.

  • Create social punishment to the absenteeism. You can make it by giving reward for team who has excellent member attendance. It will make other member give pressure to employee who has bad attendance record.

  • Make absence policy align with other policy, especially for policy related to the employee benefit. Such as you can make regulation to do not give loan for anyone with poor attendance.

2. Make sure your recruitment and selection procedure consider absence issue, such as :

  • The recruiter should put medical and health condition of candidate as one of priority.

  • Make sure that candidate has positive attitude about attendance importance

  • Its very important to count not only competency fit, but you have to consider job fit. Its include the compatibility of candidate interest and personality with nature of the job. If there is no chemistry, there is no motivation also. Employee with low motivation to work tend to high in absenteeism rate.

3. Since some absenteeism are related to the job problem, you can use some method to identify the core problem as I describe in my former writing about How to Handle Poor Performer, before you apply some solutions. But here some additional guideline to be considered :

  • Make flexible working time arrangement. Such as, if employee can not go on Monday for domestic demands, they can replace them with Saturday. Or if he/she attend half day, he/she can substitute it with additional working hours tomorrow

  • Make job interesting. You can enlarge responsibility, enhance the nature of job or make it challenging to your subordinate. Don't forget to give additional support such as training and coaching

Absence measurement and management

This factsheet gives introductory guidance. It:

* highlights some of the main causes of absence

* provides practical information on managing sickness absence effectively

* outlines the implications of legislation affecting absence

* includes the CIPD viewpoint.

Employee absence is a significant cost to businesses, according to research from the CIPD. Our annual employee absence surveyhas data onsickness absence costs and the number of working days lost.

* Go to our most recent absence survey

Types of absence

There are many reasons why people take time off work. These can be categorised as:

* short-term sickness absence (uncertificated, self-certificated, or covered by a doctor's 'fit note' which replaced the 'sick note' from April 2010)

* long-term sickness absence

* unauthorised absence or persistent lateness

* other authorised absences:for example,annual leave; maternity, paternity, adoption, or parental leave; time off for public or trade union duties, or to care for dependents; compassionate leave; educational leave.

This factsheet focuses on sickness absence issues. For more information onauthorised forms of absence, see our factsheet on holidays and other time off work.

* Go to our factsheet on Holidays and other time off work

Why measure absence?

A key element of managing absence effectively is accurate measurement and monitoring. An organisation must assess if it has a problem with absence, its extent and the best way to tackle it. In the latest CIPD absence survey, fewer than half of employers monitor the cost of absence,just underhalf of organisations have set a target for reducing absence and just 38% of organisations benchmark themselves against other employers.

Employers should collect and use data to identify particular patterns of absence and underlying causes, for example, the management style of a particular manager or an increase in workloads. It can also provide the board with evidence of how absence impacts on the bottom line and why it is worth investing in an effective absence management programme.

How to measure time lost

There are a number of measures that can be used to assess absence, each of which gives information about different aspects of absence.

'Lost time' rate

This measureexpresses the percentage of total time available which has been lost due to absence:

Total absence (hours or days) in the periodx 100
Possible total (hours or days) in the period

For example, if the total absence in the period is 124 person-hours and the total time available is 1,550 person-hours, the lost time rate is:

124 x 100 = 8 %

It can be calculated separately for individual departments of groups of employees to reveal particular absence problems.

Frequency rate

The method shows the average number of absences per employee, expressed as a percentage. It does not give any indication of the length of each absence period, nor any indication of employees who take more than one spell of absence:

No of spells of absence in the period x 100
No of employees

For example, if in one month and organisation employed on average 80 workers, and during this time there were a total of 16 spells of absence, the frequency rate is:

16x 100 = 20%

By counting the number of employees who take at least one spell of absence in the period, rather than to total number of spells of absence, this calculation gives an individual frequency rate.

Bradford Factor

The Bradford Factor identifies persistent short-term absence for individuals, by measuring the number of spells of absence, and is therefore a useful measure of the disruption caused by this type of absence. It is calculated using the formula:

S x S x D

S = number of spells of absence in 52 weeks taken by an individual

For example:
10 one-day absences: 10 x 10 x 10 = 1,000
1 ten-day absence: 1 x 1 x 10 = 10

5 two-day absences: 5 x 5 x 10 = 250
2 five-day absences: 2 x 2 x 10 = 40

The trigger points will differ between organisations. As for all unauthorised absence, the underlying causes will need to be identified.

What causes absence?

The main causes of sickness absence for manual and non-manual employees have been identified as:

Minor illness*Minor illness*
Back painStress
Musculo-skeletal injuriesMusculo-skeletal injuries
Home/family responsibilitiesBack pain
StressHome/family responsibilities
Recurring medical conditionsRecurring medical conditions
Injuries/accidents not related to workOther absences not related to ill-health

*Minor illness includes colds, flu, stomach upsets and headaches.

The number of employers reporting an increase in stress-relatedabsence continues to rise according to our latest absence survey. See our factsheet onhandling stress in the workplace for more information on this issue.

* View our factsheet on Stress at work

What absence policies need to contain

The first step to managing absence effectively is to ensure that you have a clear policy in place that supports your organisation's business objectives and culture. Legislation requires employers to provide staff with information on 'any terms and conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including any provision for sick pay'.

Effective absence policies must spell out employees' rights and obligations when taking time off from work due to sickness. The policy should:

* provide details of contractual sick pay terms and its relationship with statutory sick pay

* outline the process employees must follow if taking time off sick - covering when and whom employees should notify if they are not able to attend work

* include when (after how many days) employees need a self-certificate form

* contain details of when they require a fit note from their doctor

* explain that adjustments may be appropriate to assist the employee in returning to work as soon as is practicable

* mention that the organisation reserves the right to require employees to attend an examination by a company doctor and (with the worker's consent) to request a report from the employee's doctor

* include provisions for return-to-work interviews as these have been identified as the most effective intervention to manage short-term absence.

Managing short-term absence

Absence interventions

Effective interventions in managing short-term absence include:

* a proactive absence management policy

* return-to-work interviews

* disciplinary procedures for unacceptable absence levels

* use of trigger mechanisms such as the Bradford Factor to review attendance

* involving trained line managers in absence management

* providing sickness absence information to line managers

* restricting sick pay

* involving occupational health professionals.

Return-to-work interviews can help identify short-term absence problems at an early stage. They also provide managers with an opportunity to start a dialogue with staff over underlying issues, which might be causing the absence.

The use of disciplinary procedures for unacceptable absence may be used to make it clear to employees that unjustified absence will not be tolerated and that absence policies will be enforced.

Only 12% of organisations use attendance incentives or bonuses as a tool of absence management according to our latest absence survey.

The role of line managers

Line managers have an important role to play, either directly or indirectly, in the interventions to reduce absence levels. How managers behave has a significant impact on employee health and wellbeing. CIPD research shows that line managers are the category of employees most likely to be reported as bullies within organisations. Management style is also one of the top causes of stress at work.

Managers also need good communications skills to encourage employees to discuss any problems they may have at an early stage so that employees can be given support or advice before matters escalate. But despite the importance placed on line manager/supervisor involvement, only just over 50% of organisations train their line managers in the skills needed to do this effectively!

Line managers need to be trained in:

* the organisation's absence policies and procedures

* their role in the absence management programme

* the way fit notes operate and how to act upon any advice given by the doctor

* legal and disciplinary aspects of absence including potential disability discrimination issues

* maintaining absence record-keeping and understanding facts and figures on absence

* role of occupational health services services and proactive measures to support staff health and wellbeing

* operation (where applicable) of trigger points

* development of return-to-work interview skills

* development of counselling skills.

Managing long-term absence

CIPD research shows that absence ofeight days or more accounts forabout one thirdof total time lost through absence and absence of four weeks or more accounts for more than 15%. Consequently it is vital organisations have a formal strategy in place to help employees to get back to work after a prolonged spell of sickness or injury-related absence. Awareness of potential disability discrimination claims is also crucial.

The role of the line manager is also crucial in managing long-term absence but other interventions are also important. These include:

* occupational health involvement and proactive measures to support staff health and wellbeing

* line management involvement as part of the absence management programme

* restricting sick pay

* changes to work patterns or environment

* return-to-work interviews

* rehabilitation programme.

There are four typical elements in the recovery and return-to-work process.

* Keeping in contact with sick employees- ensure contact is maintained on a regular basis using a sensitive and non-intrusive approach. The form of this contact should be agreed with the member of staff and manager and, where appropriate, the union or employee representative.

* Planning and undertaking workplace controls or adjustments- some obstacles may hinder an employee's return to work. A risk assessment can identify measures or adjustments to help workers return and stay in work. Examples may include:

o allowing a gradual return-to-work, for example,building up from part-time to full-time over a period of weeks

o changing work patterns or management style to reduce pressure and give the employee more control

o altering the employees working hours, for example allowing flexi-working to accommodate family demands

o accommodating the employee's mobility.

* Using professional advice and treatment- occupational health professionals should be able to play a major role in evaluating the reason for absence, carrying out health assessments, and assisting HR professionals and managers in planning a return to work. For more information see our factsheet on occupational health.

o Go to our factsheet on Occupational health

* Planning and co-ordinating a return-to-work plan- a return to work plan must be agreed by the employee and the line manager, and any other staff likely to be affected. The plan needs to include:

o the goals, such as modified working hours, or a modified job role

o the time period

o a statement about the new working arrangements

o the checks that will need to be made to make sure the plan is put into practice

o the dates when the plan will be reviewed by the employee and the line manager.

It may be helpful to appoint someone to co-ordinate the return-to-work process. This may include keeping colleagues of the absent employee informed of progress, so that all understand the situation, as well as easing the transition back to work and maintaining working relationships.

The legal position

Used properly, the Acas Code on discipline and grievance as referred to in the Employment Act 2008, together with the employer's own procedures, provide the main tools for facilitating absence management - see our factsheet on discipline and grievances in the workplace for more information.

* View our Discipline and grievances at work factsheet

Disability discrimination

Perhaps most pitfalls for employers in dealing with absence management issues concern the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA). The management of employees who become disabled as a result of sickness may mean employers have to make 'reasonable adjustments' as dictated by the DDA before they can return to their job. The types of adjustments that employers might be required to consider include:

* making physical adjustments to the workplace

* allocating some of the disabled person's duties to another person

* transferring the disabled person to another vacant post, with or without reasonable adjustments being made

altering the disabled person's working hours through, for example, part-time working, job sharing or other flexible hours arrangements

* providing special equipment to assist the disabled person to perform his or her tasks, and giving training in the use of the equipment.

The DDA covers physical and mental impairments which have a long-term adverse effect on employees' ability to carry out normal-day-to day activities. Conditions such as stress will often be covered under the DDA. For more information see our factsheet on Disability in the workplace.

* Viewour factsheet on Disability and employment

Other legislation affecting absence management

Numerous other pieces of legislation have an impact on absence management. For example employers must be careful not to breach the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) when they collect, use and store information about their employees' absence. Details of an employee's health, either physical or mental, are categorised as 'sensitive personal data' under the DPA.

* Viewour factsheet on data protection

Some important other examples include:

* Employment Rights Act 1996 as amended

* Employment Rights (Dispute Resolution Act) 1998

* Employment Relations Act 1999

* Social Security (Medical Evidence) and Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 (SI 2010/137).

CIPD members can find out more on the legal aspects from our FAQ on Absence management in the Employment Law at Work area of our website.

* Go to our Absence management FAQ

CIPD viewpoint

Effective people management policies are needed to encourage employee motivation and commitment and reduce absence. Employees need well-defined job roles, challenging but realistic targets, and support and training to help them achieve these targets.

Our research reveals that some of the most successful tools in reducing employee absence are an early intervention by line managers and good communication. A large part of managing absence is about ensuring staff can raise issues that may be troubling them at an early stage so that they can be addressed before they escalate. Effective absence management is also about creating work environments where employees are less likely to wake up and think 'I don't feel like going in to work today'.

Useful contacts

* Acas

* Health and Safety Executive

* Managing sickness absence

* Business Link - fit notes

Further reading

CIPD members can use our Advanced Search to find additional library resources on this topic and also use our online journals collection to view journal articles online.People Managementarticles are available to subscribers and CIPD members on thePeople Managementwebsite. CIPD books in print can be ordered from our Bookstore

* Go to Advanced Search

* Go to our online journals collection

* Go toPeople Managementonline

* Go to our online Bookstore

Books and reports

ACAS. (2009)Managing attendance and employee turnover. Advisory booklet. London: Acas. Available at:http://www.acas.org.uk/

EVANS, A and WALTERS, M. (2002)From absence to attendance.2nd ed. London: Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development.

HM REVENUE & CUSTOMS. (2008)Employer helpbook for statutory sick pay. Employer Helpbook E14. London: HMRC. Available athttp://www.hmrc.gov.uk/employers/employee_sick.htm


Here are keys to controlling absenteeism in your growing company:

* Find out whether the absent employee missed work voluntarily or involuntarily.Involuntarily means illness or another unavoidable reason--this is the kind of absenteeism you shouldn't concern yourself with as a manager, unless some kind of counseling or assistance could help the employee regain his or her health. Voluntary absenteeism is the kind you need to worry about. This occurs when an employee is absent without good reason. Get documentation--for example, a doctor's note--to ascertain whether an absence was involuntary or voluntary.

* Decide whether the absenteeism is excessive.Compare the employee's attendance record with other employees' records. If one employee's record is way out of line, unless there are extenuating circumstances, that's probably excessive absenteeism.

* Meet with the employee to explore the absences.Keep your discussion friendly and oriented toward understanding and solving the problem, not placing blame and dispensing discipline.

* If things don't get better, explain the problem to the employee and request improved performance.Employees may not know their absences are affecting others unless you tell them and ask them to improve.

* Put the problem in writing.Make sure you give the employee a copy of the written notice. In addition, you should also put one in his or her personnel file.

* Most employees will straighten up and start coming to work regularly during this process.If they don't, however, you'll be prepared to terminate them, if necessary, if you follow these guidelines.

[1] http://www.super-solutions.com/CostofAbsenteeism.asp

[2] http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/3563609.stm

Source: Essay UK - http://www.essay.uk.com/free-essays/management/absenteeism.php

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Essay on Employee Absenteeism

2263 Words10 Pages

We all have been absent from work for one reason or another. Some are absent more than others, but when it takes place on a regular basis then absenteeism is a noticeable problem for that company. Absenteeism can defined as habitual absence from work, thought to reflect employee demoralization or dissatisfaction. Employee absenteeism is a costly problem for almost all employers. The definition of absenteeism, its causes, its affects on productivity, and its costs in terms of finances and administrative effectiveness are quite clear, the challenge is in taking affirmative action to control it. People can be absent from work for a number or reasons, some of them for a very good reason, but whatever the reason, absence is costly and…show more content…

Cost of self-insured income protection plans must be borne, since it requires the employer to pay on absent days as well. Moreover, the wage costs of replacement employees. Lastly, premium costs may rise for insured plans. Finally, the administrative costs are last. Staff time is required to secure replacement employees or to re-assign the remaining employees. Staff time is required to maintain and control absenteeism, which is all will result in loss to the employer.
There is a point at which the employer's right to expect the employee to attend regularly and fulfill the employment contract will outweigh the employee's right to be sick. At such a point the termination of the employee may be justified. Therefore, good preventive procedures should be put in place to avoid such happenings to occur. It is very difficult to take affirmative action to control absenteeism in such a way as not to create mistrust, costly administration and systems avoidance. First and foremost, training for managing attendance must be administered. The human resource department must have the ability to supervise attendance. Managing attendance is far more than just controlling it. It will consist of being able to look at the problem of short term, intermittent and long term absences. As well as examining the detailed legal provisions for justifiable absences. In abstract, as an administrator, you can positively, proactively and consistently encourage this by communicating, keeping

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