Absenteeism and How to Fight it

Absenteeism happens. You can’t eliminate bad weather, traffic accidents, and other unexpected reasons for employees missing work. It’s not something any company can overcome. But it is something that can be combated. It may seem like an uphill battle, but if you know what causes it, you can do something about it. There are also tools and methods to keep absenteeism under control. 

What is Absenteeism?

Absenteeism doesn’t refer to all the workdays your employees miss. Absenteeism is unexpected and doesn’t include planned time off or the occasional sick day. Those are acceptable and ligament reasons for not coming to work. Those are things you can plan and prepare for. 

Absenteeism refers to the habitual pattern of missing work without a reasonable explanation. It means missing work and not calling ahead of time to inform management. If the employee does call ahead with a legitimate reason for missing work, human resource professionals refer to that as non-culpable absenteeism. 

What is the cost of absenteeism?

If you have employees that constantly miss work, productivity will inevitably go down. When productivity takes a hit, your finances will shortly follow. While absenteeism does affect every industry, studies have shown that it affects professional occupations the most. 

The Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index surveyed nearly 100,000 employees across 14 major occupations. The annual cost of lost productivity per occupation are as follows:

Occupation The annual cost of lost productivity due to absenteeism (in billions)
Professional (excluding nurses, teachers, and physicians) $24.2
Managers & executives $15.7
Service workers $8.5
Clerical/office $8.1
Sales $6.8
School teachers (K-12) $5.6
Nurses $3.6
Transportation $3.5
Manufacturing/production $2.8
Business owners $2.0
Installation/repair $1.5
Construction/mining $1.3
Physicians $0.25
Farmers/foresters/fishers $0.16

What are the reasons for absenteeism?

To fight absenteeism, you first must understand why your employees are missing work. While every situation may vary, a Circadian Shiftwork Practices study found these as the reasons for unscheduled absences:

  • Personal illness (30%)
  • Personal needs (27%)
  • Family issues (20%)
  • Stress (12%)
  • Entitlement mentality (12%)

That same study found that unscheduled absenteeism costs businesses $2,660 per year for each salaried employee and $3,600 each year for each hourly worker. Those costs include wages paid to absent workers, replacement and overtime pay (for workers that need to pick up their slack), and the managing costs of absenteeism. 

How to fix absenteeism

Absenteeism has always been a tricky issue to tackle because of the fine line that separates legitimate and poor reasons for missing work. To better monitor, control, and reduce absenteeism, you should put policies in place and offer incentives for not missing work. 

Policies should always focus on the health of your employees, such as physical and psychological health, economic and environmental health, as well as work-life balance. When employees are healthier, they will be much happier, which is a good formula for keeping morale up and absenteeism down. 

Use a time tracking solution

With a time and attendance solution, managers can easily track employee PTO, absences, and receive alerts when employees don’t punch in on their scheduled workdays. It also allows managers to nip absenteeism in the bud once an employee starts showing signs of habitual absences. 

With a solid workforce management system, you can fight absenteeism and even win the battle. Join the InfiniTime network and start combating absenteeism today! Request a demo here.