VanAntwerp Attorneys, LLP
Phone: 606-618-0698

Employee absenteeism: a complex problem in need of a solution

Playing "hooky," once reserved for elementary, middle and high school is a continuing and growing problem in the workplace.

No one will argue that employees are entitled to taking days off for illness, vacation and other valid reasons. However, intentional and habitual absenteeism can affect productivity, morale and a company's financial bottom line.

The Tangible And Intangible Consequences Of Chronic Absenteeism

U.S. companies lose billions of dollars in lost productivity due to employees not showing up to work. Unscheduled absenteeism has a direct and indirect effect on any business. Examples include:

  • Wages paid to absent employees
  • Overtime pay for replacement employees or temporary workers
  • Significant reductions in productivity
  • Reduced quality of goods and services from understaffing and overworked employees
  • Poor morale when staff are forced to fill in or do extra work to cover absences
  • Excess administrative costs involved in managing absenteeism
  • Managers spending excess time locating replacements and disciplining employees for unexcused absences

No employer will deny that employees get sick and injured. Staff members need time off to care for others or attend to personal business. The problem is habitual absences that present the greatest challenges. An employee skipping out on a few days here and there can add up to substantial employer costs.

The Challenges Employers Face In Finding A Solution

Absenteeism is a serious problem where there does not seem to be a simple solution. Determining the legitimacy of the "excuses" are next to impossible. An employee may call in claiming to be under the weather while they prepare to play golf instead. Conversely, a sick employee will try to power through an illness and show up for work, exposing fellow staff members to illness.

Identifying the specific issues that cause absenteeism is an important step in the right direction. Proactive measures by employers can address the problem if they are customized to their unique operations.

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