What Employers Need to Know About Protected Absences

Posted on

April 8th, 2019


Employees need access to paid time off to recover from illnesses, address family matters, and take well-deserved vacations. However, there is a big difference between an employee who calls out sick to recover from the flu and an employee who calls out frequently for no apparent reason. Every employer knows that chronic employee absences are bad for business; however, not all absences are punishable. In fact, federal law protects many of them.

Before employers begin disciplinary action against chronically absent employees, they need to make sure the employee didn’t miss work for any of the following reasons:

  1. FMLA. The Family and Medical Leave Act allows employees to take time off work to deal with major life events. These include the birth of a child; adopting a child; caring for a severely ill or injured parent, spouse, or child; severe health conditions that prevent the employee from working; and personal or family emergencies related to their involvement with the military. To qualify, employees must provide documentation such as a doctor’s note, adoption paperwork, etc.
  2. USERRA. The Uniformed Services Employment and Reemployment Act protects service members against disciplinary action following absences due to their service. For example, the military may activate employees serving in the reserves, requiring them to deploy. This act protects absences related to tours of duty as well as absences spent addressing emotional and administrative issues related to the deployment.
  3. ADA. The Americans with Disabilities Act requires employers to provide reasonable accommodations for employees with documented disabilities. If an employee misses work because his or her duties cause undue hardship, federal law protects that absence.
  4. Title VII of the Civil Rights Act. While this act focuses on preventing discrimination in the workplace, employers need to keep it in mind when addressing absences. For example, the act protects employees who call out for a religious holiday or ceremony. Employees need to determine the root cause of an absence before beginning disciplinary actions; otherwise, they may find themselves facing a discrimination lawsuit.

While the above absences have legal protection, not all absences are legitimate. Employers need a robust absence management solution to help them keep track of employee attendance and determine which absences are reasonable and which require a closer look. Contact the experts at Actec to learn more about reducing absenteeism in the workplace.

How to Reduce Summer Seasonal Absences

Posted on

May 28th, 2018


shutterstock_174875483The lure of the sun, beaches, and time with family grows stronger with each passing week of summer. Employees will want to take advantage of their vacation time, and so long as employers manage the schedule, it shouldn’t be a problem. What is an issue, however, is unscheduled or frequent absences. Employees who always call out on Monday or seem to fall ill every Friday take their toll on the rest of the staff’s morale as well as their productivity. The following are several methods employers can use to manage summertime absenteeism.

  1. Remind employees of their current sick leave, vacation time, or overall paid time off (PTO). Employees who take a day here or there may not realize how much time off they actually have. Remind employees to check their leave bank so they remain aware of the time they are burning. This may curb the urge to call out on Monday if the employee realizes he or she won’t have enough time off to take their long-awaited vacation.
  2. Balance remaining employees’ workload when staff members go on vacation. Everyone deserves a break, but it shouldn’t come at the expense of the remaining employees at the office. Stressed employees are more likely to call out themselves, exacerbating the workload problem. Managers should spread load the absent employee’s work so as not to overwhelm the remaining staff.
  3. Provide incentives for perfect attendance. For example, every employee who has perfect attendance for a week gets his or her name entered into a drawing. At the end of the month, their employee will pick a name and give that employee a reward such as free movie tickets, a gift card, etc. This encourages employees to come to work on time every day to have their name entered as many times as possible to increase their odds of winning.
  4. Keep track of attendance. Companies that don’t have a system for tracking absences will quickly have an attendance problem on their hands. Implementing a system that allows employers to see patterns in absences gives them the opportunity to address attendance problems before they get out of control.

If you suspect that your business has a summertime absenteeism problem, Actec can help. Our absence reporting system can track casual absences, FML, and disability. Our system helps businesses reduce absenteeism while complying with federal and state laws regarding leave. Contact us to learn more.