Navigating the Grey Area of Employee Absences

Employee Absences


Effectively addressing employee absences is one of the most important things an employer can do. After all, excessive absenteeism can throw a wrench in operations, hurt productivity, diminish morale, reduce productivity and so on. Here are some tips for handling this issue and ensuring that you’re on the same page as your employees.

Developing an Absence Policy

Absenteeism is an inherent factor for every business, and there’s just no getting around it. But it’s crucial that it’s never allowed to get out of control. You can keep it in check by taking the time to address employee absences in your policy book. For example, you’ll want to point out what is and what isn’t tolerated, what kind of documentation needs to be followed and so on. This will ensure that everyone is held to the same standard and should minimize employees from abusing their sick days.

Considering Absences When Hiring

You can do yourself a big favor by taking absence history into account when looking at potential new hires. If there’s a clear trend of excessive absenteeism, this can be a red flag, and there’s a good chance that the candidate will repeat this behavior. If possible, try to stick with hiring individuals who aren’t prone to being chronically absent.

Addressing Problems Early On

While nearly everyone is going to absent from time to time, you’ll want to be aware of when absenteeism becomes a trend. If it’s clear that a particular employee is consistently absent, then you’ll want to talk about the problem and gather all of the facts. Meet privately and discuss the situation to figure out exactly what’s going on.

Do they have a legitimate health problem or personal issue? Or is there simply “sick day abuse” taking place?

Make sure that you explain how their absences are adversely impacting your company and the rest of your employees. Also be sure to follow company policy and document everything along the way. After hearing what your employee has to say, try to come up with a solution.

In some cases, this may require making some adjustments on your end where you need to adjust their work schedule. Maybe an employee has a major health problem or an ongoing illness. Or maybe they have an issue with transportation or child care. Whatever the case may be, try to remain objective and adhere to policy.

The sooner you have a discussion, the better, and it can prevent more serious problems from occurring.

Handling employee absences can be tricky, and every instance is a little different. But by developing a formalized policy and being proactive, you should be able to minimize this problem and ensure that your company is equipped with adequate manpower to meet demand.

Need help on getting the most from your workforce? Contact SelecSource today.

Request Talent