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Every Business Needs to Have an Employee Absence Policy

By   /  May 21, 2023  /  Comments Off on Every Business Needs to Have an Employee Absence Policy

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Employee absence can adversely affect the bottom line of your business, and yet it is arguably something that can be easily overcome with the right information and HR strategies in place. Here are the basics of employee absence and what your business can do to address it in a sustainable manner over the long term.

The costs of employee absence for any business

  • Affects workplace motivation

When employees simply don’t turn up for work and don’t have a genuine reason or permission for this absence, the motivation of those who are at work will be lowered. They will feel that they are somewhat disadvantaged and perhaps even have to work extra to cover for the missing employee. If such absences are continual, then it is also possible that the absent employee’s motivation will also be lowered and badly affected by their ongoing absence from work. Returning to work is always more stressful, thinking of how behind they may be and how they need to explain away the unplanned absence.

  • Can affect critical production and work patterns

Habitual absences by any worker who is part of a business cycle or production process can have a disastrous effect on any targets and work patterns that would have relied on this worker. It becomes impossible to plan ahead and to meet targets that would have been set with the human resource component in mind.

  • Increased costs of managing the absence process

The costs of employee absence will not all be restricted to lost production and lost time of the employee themselves, but also the time and efforts of all those involved in this process. The time off/absence needs to be recorded, monitored, and dealt with using company policy, and as such, this is additional time required by HR and employee support.

There are a number of different forms of absence from work, but the distinction made herein is simply between planned and unplanned absence.

Planned absence:- This is an absence that has been noted in advance and will cover holidays that have been booked and any time off in lieu, or changes to work hours based on any flexible work arrangements.

Unplanned absences:- This is where the employee simply doesn’t turn up for work. There are no ideas about why they aren’t there and no way to confirm whether they will be in later.

There is a third form of absence that should also be noted herein, and that is absence that is unplanned and unexpected but it is communicated – the reasons for the absence is provided by the employee as soon as they are aware that they will be absent. Sickness-related absence generally falls into this category.

How to deal with employee absence

There are a number of ways that your business can choose to deal with employee absence, but the main aim is to reduce unplanned absences and ensure that whatever absence there is can be planned for. You will simply not have a full staff complement that achieves a 100% attendance all the time, and as such, it is best to plan for absence and determine what the business needs to do to manage it and reduce it accordingly. But you can put the following in place to increase attendance.

Build employee motivation: this can combat some of the employee absence; a happy employee is likely to still come to work on days when they aren’t at their best.

Have clear guidelines and consequences for non-compliance: an employee absence policy. You may ask what is an employee absence policy, and the basic explanation is that everybody involved in the employee relationship needs to be clear on the consequences of unplanned and non-notified absences. A policy will provide the details of any such consequences, systems, and processes to follow when an absence occurs. Furthermore, these absence guidelines need to be explained and provided to employees in writing.

 A return-to-work process: this will also be included in the employee absence policy and must set out in detail what the process is for the employee to return to work after a period of absence.

Concluding comments

Every business needs to have an employee absence policy to govern and control what happens when an employee is absent from work for whatever reason. The aim should be to reduce unplanned absences and create a culture of attendance based on a motivated and dedicated workforce. This is why every business needs an employee absence policy.

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