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What Is Absenteeism Management?

Alex Newth
Alex Newth

Absenteeism management is how a business attempts to manage and reduce its overall number of employee absences. Most businesses have a policy detailing what would happen to employees if they are frequently absent, but this policy may not be enforced or may detail absences incorrectly. Aside from making and enforcing policies, on-the-job measures such as helping employees voice their dissatisfaction will help lower absentee rates. Absenteeism management is usually not handled by a specific absenteeism manager, but rather by all the managers. The managers and supervisors tend to work together to ease absenteeism.

The effects of employee absences are more devastating than many businesses understand. Both direct and indirect costs mean absenteeism commands about one-third of payroll, a number that increases if an employee is terminated as a result of absenteeism. While absenteeism cannot be stopped entirely — employees will always get sick — absenteeism management seeks to reduce employee absence to help the business save money.

Woman holding a book
Woman holding a book

Each business should have its own policy regarding absenteeism, and enforcing that policy is part of absenteeism management. By enforcing this policy fairly and equally, employees will understand they cannot be irresponsibly absent, and they will not feel that some employees can take advantage of the policy. Absenteeism is not a singular issue — it has many reasons. This means the policy should have different sections detailing sick leave, doctor notes, extended leave because of pregnancy or disability, and other facets of absenteeism to ensure no employee is unfairly terminated.

A policy helps an employee understand what will happen if he or she is out sick too many times, but absenteeism management also is about keeping employees from feeling they should be out. Confident employees and employees who enjoy working for a company are less likely to call in sick than others, and these qualities should be brought out with get-togethers and meetings. Recognition of good attendance also can alleviate absentee rates. If an employee has a problem, he or she is less likely to call in sick if there is a manager or supervisor to whom he or she can immediately talk, rather than internalizing any problems concerning work.

Absenteeism management is usually handled by a group of managers and supervisors, not just a single manager. By grouping together the supervisors and managers and ensuring each one is strictly enforcing the absentee policy and taking on-the-job measures, the effectiveness of absenteeism management can be increased. Employees are subject to absenteeism policies, so supervisors and managers should be subject to the same policies, to show fairness regardless of position.

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