Handling employee attendance is one of the more difficult parts of managing a company. Some absences are legitimate while others are inappropriate; it is a delicate process determining which is the case. Managers cannot begin to handle absence issues without understanding why employees call out of work in the first place. Once a manager has a grasp of why employees are struggling with attendance, they can develop a plan to resolve the issue.
Common Causes of Absenteeism
Employees take paid time off (PTO) for a number of reasons—some more legitimate than others. Some of these reasons include:
- Illness or injury: Being sick or going to doctor appointments are the most common reasons employees give for missing work. This type of absence is most prolific during cold and flu season. Injuries that occur on or off the clock also sideline employees. These injuries can be acute or chronic.
- Caring for others: Another common cause of employee absence is the need to care for a child or elder when other sources of care are unavailable. For example, a parent may call out of work when their child cannot attend school due to a snow day.
- Borrowing time: Sometimes attendance issues are not related to absences. Employees who skim time off their workday can cause just as many productivity problems as those who miss the entire workday. Patterns employers should look for are employees who arrive late, leave early, or take lengthy breaks.
- Morale and motivation: Employees that are overworked or feel unappreciated have little motivation to come to work. In fact, the stress of the workplace can drive them to avoid the environment entirely. Once an employee loses their enthusiasm for their job, they are more prone to call out of work.
- Harassment: If an employee feels like a coworker or boss is bullying them, they may call out to avoid the individual.
The costs related to absenteeism and the related loss in productivity add up quickly. Some of the direct costs include lost wages paid to the absent employee, the wages paid to other employees working overtime to cover the extra work, and administrative expenses spent on managing attendance issues.
What Employers Can do to Reduce Absenteeism
There are a number of approaches employers can take to reduce absenteeism. Some of these include:
- Require a written doctor’s note for employees who call out sick.
- Offer paid sick leave in addition to paid vacation days. This will help reduce the number of employees who come into work when ill to avoid burning through their leave. This stops sick staff members from spreading their germs. The end result is fewer sick employees overall.
- Implement a health and wellness program to address employees’ physical, mental, and economic health.
Employers also need a high quality absence reporting program to track attendance and simplify the leave process for both human resources and employees. Investing in Actec’s absence reporting solutions can help managers improve productivity and combat absenteeism. Contact us to learn more.