6 Things You Can Do To Improve Employee Attendance
Written on the 21st of June 2012 by Andrew Bull
Employee Absenteeism - What can you do about it?
Excessive absenteeism can be costly for business in terms of both replacement costs and lost productivity. If not managed properly, chronic offenders can also be a source of frustration for those employees who generally do the right thing.
1. Make Employees Aware of Expectations
Make sure employees are aware of attendance expectations and the effects of excessive absenteeism on the business including remaining team members, productivity and customer service. This sort of information should be made clear at an employee’s induction and reinforced through your employee manual, code of conduct and/or Personal/Carer’s Leave policy.
2. Analyse Attendance Records
Analyse attendance records to properly identify the extent of employee absence and any particular trends. For example, employees who seem to always be off on a Monday or a Friday or before or after a public holiday. There is no law against confronting an employee and asking for an explanation as to why their absences mostly seem to occur on particular days.
3. Have a Clear Policy in Place
Have a clear policy and procedure that employees must follow if they are going to be absent. For example, you could state that employees:
4. Make Employees Aware of the Consequences
Make employees aware of the consequences of not adhering to your Personal/Carer’s leave policy which may include disciplinary action. Remember to focus on whether the employee has followed the correct notice and evidence procedures rather than try and establish whether the person was genuinely sick or not. Only a Doctor is qualified to do that!
5. Follow Up With Employees Upon Their Return
Follow up with employees face to face when they return to work and enquire about their wellness and whether they are fit to resume normal duties. This lets the employee know that you are concerned about their well-being and that you have “noticed” their absence.
6. Identify Any Hidden Causes
Identify any hidden causes. Often poor attendance is just a symptom of a greater problem and not the real cause. Aside from common illness, there can be many reasons why an employee is taking excessive sick leave:
Before launching into disciplinary action, it makes good sense to speak with the employee concerned and try to uncover the root cause of the problem. You may then be able to determine some strategies to address the situation. For example:
Note: Drug and alcohol abuse may be viewed as a disability and therefore if an employee claims they have a drug or alcohol dependency, the employee’s absence should be assessed in that context.
It is possible to terminate the employment of a staff member who has been absent on extended sick leave exceeding a period of 3 months. However, this can be complicated as there are a number of workplace laws that protect the rights of employees who are absent on sick leave. We recommend employers seek legal advice prior to taking such action.
Author: Andrew Bull
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