Employee absenteeism can’t be avoided entirely, and most people occasionally need to miss work at the last minute. But, when an employee frequently doesn’t show up, arrives late, leaves early, or takes long breaks, it can take a toll on your business’s bottom line.
It’s crucial to have clear workplace attendance policies and track absences so you can manage any problems that arise. The following tips can help you set your policy and create a tracking process.
What is Employee Absenteeism?
When an employee is absent during their regular working hours, they are considered absent whether it’s a scheduled or unscheduled absence (according to U.S. employment law). An employee is likely to ask for time off in advance for a vacation, doctor’s appointment, or event, in contrast to unscheduled absences such as an illness, caring for a sick family member, or dealing with an emergency.
The law specifies that absences are either excused, unexcused, or “no-fault.” Excused absences are approved in advance and unexcused are not. They are considered “no-fault” if the company policy allows for a set number of days off and doesn’t weigh excused and unexcused absences differently.
The Negative Impact of Absenteeism
If there’s widespread absenteeism at your company, it will cost you. Salaried employees will be paid for unworked time. Absenteeism is likely to lead to decreased productivity, quality of work, and employee retention. You may also see lower employee morale and engagement because other employees may be frustrated that they need to pick up the slack.
Keep in mind that constant absenteeism could be a sign of larger issues, like burnout, stress, depression, bullying, and low job satisfaction. If an employee frequently misses work, reach out to see how you can help. You may be able to work with them to improve their role and the company culture.
Create an Attendance Policy
To track employee absenteeism, you need to know your definition. For example, some companies only consider someone to be absent when they don’t adhere to the attendance policy. If you weigh excused and unexcused absences differently, specify what is excused and unexcused. For example, someone may have an excused absence if it’s approved a set time in advance or the person could count it toward their remaining paid time off (if it’s offered).
For legal reasons, it’s important to note that any leave that is approved under the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), and any other relevant federal or state laws doesn’t count as an absence. You may also want to note how many unexcused absences someone can have and the repercussions, in case someone files a wrongful termination lawsuit in response to any punitive employer actions.
How to Track and Measure Absenteeism
You can use employee time tracking management software to manage paid time off requests and approvals and timesheets. Your employees can simply log in to request time off in advance or log last-minute absences. This software is also helpful if you have hourly employees, bill clients by the hour, or want employees to clock in and out and track breaks.
There are several ways to measure employee absenteeism, but here are some of the most common:
Individual Absenteeism Rate
- Days: Divide the employee’s total unexcused absences in the specified time frame by the total workdays in the specified time frame and multiply the result by 100. If Tim has four unexcused absences in a month, the formula would be (4/20) x 100 = 20%.
- Hours: Divide the employee’s total unexcused missed hours in the specified time frame by the total work hours in the specified time frame and multiply the result by 100. If Tim has missed four full days and miscellaneous hours, the formula would be (38/160) x 100 = 24%.
Team Absenteeism Rate
- Days: Divide the team’s total unexcused absences in the specified time frame by the total number of employees multiplied by the total workdays in the specified time frame and multiply the result by 100. If your 30-person team had 20 unexcused absences in a month, the formula would be (20 / (30 x 20)) x 100 = 5%.
- Hours: Divide the employee’s total unexcused absences in the specified time frame by the total number of employees multiplied by the total working hours in the specified time frame and multiply the result by 100. If your 30-person team had 165 unexcused hours in a month, the formula would be (165 / (30 x 160) x 100 = 3%.
To evaluate your employee absenteeism rate, it’s helpful to see how it compares against the national average for your industry.
How to Decrease Absenteeism
Many companies have decreased absenteeism by increasing work-life balance. Consider adopting flexible work policies, such as:
- Flextime. Employees set their own schedule instead of working the standard nine-to-five.
- Job-sharing. Two or more employees work part-time to complete the responsibilities of one role.
- Remote work. Employees work outside of the office.
- Shift work. Employees work early or late shifts and weekends if they can’t work during the typical workday and workweek.
- Compressed workweek. Employees work more than eight hours a day multiple days a week to hit 40 hours faster. (Commonly, employees work ten hours a day, four days a week.)
- Hybrid workplace. Employees work remotely and in the office. Depending on your policy, employees must work in the office a set number of days a week, when their manager requests it, or at their discretion.
Continue to Measure and Improve Employee Performance
These tips for tracking, measuring, and decreasing employee absenteeism rates will help you improve employee performance, so your company is more successful. You’re likely to boost employee morale and engagement, which will make your company more attractive to candidates and employees. Keep up the momentum by receiving expert hiring and management advice from Monster.