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by Jen Leigh on February 9, 2021

How to Manage Excessive Absenteeism


In 2017 findings from the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL), revealed that on any given day, about 3% of a company's employees are absent from work. Managing employee absenteeism in the workplace is one of the most significant challenges facing companies since it affects productivity and the bottom-line results. This costs U.S. companies billions of dollars yearly in wages and lost productivity due to poor quality of goods/services.

Due to the multiplying effect of absenteeism in the workplace, management must find the root cause of the absences. Is there a legitimate reason for an absence? Is the employee seeking ways to avoid work? Managers must be aware of patterns of absenteeism and excessive absenteeism, and learn how to address them effectively.

Impact of Employee Absenteeism in the Workplace

Absenteeism Affects Productivity

Excessive employee absenteeism affects your company's revenue and productivity. Findings from the Gallup-Healthways Well-Being Index shows that employee absenteeism costs close to $84 billion in lost productivity across all industries.

Absenteeism Affects Company Image

Your business suffers when the rate of employee absenteeism gets too high. The workload becomes excessive for those who show up, and this could result in poor decisions due to stress and dissatisfaction among customers.

Absenteeism Affects Co-workers

Excessive workplace absenteeism could create a negative impression of weak management in your co-workers. This could lead to apprehension among your key staff about the company's future and may result in a flight to companies they consider more business savvy. In short, absenteeism in the workplace hurts your employee retention rates. 

Absenteeism Affects Morale

Excessive absenteeism leads to excessive workload and loss of confidence for employees who show up because they have to stand in for those not available. This could result in anger, resentment, and loss of patience when dealing with co-workers and customers.

Absenteeism Management in the Workplace

Many unforeseen circumstances could result in absenteeism, and this makes it very challenging to tackle. However, you can put in place policies that can minimize and effectively manage excessive absenteeism, and encourage staff to want to show up in the office.

Some of these include:
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Create an Absence Management Policy

According to the Employment Policy Foundation, 50% of leave takers did not provide prior notice. By creating an absence management policy that is expected of all staff to abide by will reduce this occurrence. The policy will include procedures for reporting leave with an accrual management solution that includes who to report to, the purpose of the leave, the number of days permitted, paid or unpaid leave, and more. This will minimize the occurrence of staff staying out without prior notice.

In addition to an absence management policy, employing successful time and attendance strategies can also help manage absenteeism.

Encourage Work-Life Balance

It is essential to create a work-life balance if you want to minimize absenteeism due to employee burnout. This will allow employees time to attend to other important things and will reduce the rate of employee exhaustion because of excessive workload. 

Implement a Mandatory Paid Sick-Leave Policy

This is a practice in some companies. This sample paid sick leave policy will allow your employees to take some days off every year to take care of their challenges and other things that could result in absenteeism. If you are an Arizona-based employer, you can even find Arizona paid sick leave sample policies, tailored to your state. 

Provide Support to Manage Absenteeism

You can minimize absenteeism by offering support to your employees with personal challenges, such as bereavement or having mental health problems. Support can be offered during the period of absence and after returning to the office. This would make such an employee feel loved and will want to return to work earlier.

Reduce Stress to Manage Absenteeism

Stress can be healthy or counterproductive. Some pressure is needed to bring out the best in your employees, but when it's excessive and toxic, it can lead to burnout resulting in a mental or physical breakdown.

Final Thoughts on Absenteeism Management

Creating a workplace as a place where every employee feels respected, wanted, appreciated, and valued remains the best way to manage employee absenteeism. A culture built on these foundational tenets adds value, retention, and loyalty to the company's brand and future revenues.

If you are an Arizona-based employer, an Arizona-based HR and payroll company may be able to help you better manage absenteeism in the workplace. To see how we are already helping countless businesses with their absenteeism management and time and attendance, contact us today. 

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Jen Leigh

Jen Leigh is a Senior Product Specialist with Inflection HR's Cloud Based HR and Workforce Management Solutions. Connect with Jenni and the rest of the Inflection HR Team on Twitter, Facebook, or LinkedIn.