You should expect a certain amount of employee absenteeism in your workplace. People have health issues, parents need time off to take care of children, and family emergencies never come at convenient times. Absenteeism is a normal part of every business.
Employee absenteeism becomes a problem when it’s not the occasional missed day of work—and when it’s not isolated to a few select individuals. Absenteeism in the workplace is often attributed to overall dissatisfaction with the working conditions.
Absenteeism can cost a business both time and money. In the workplace, absenteeism can result in missed deadlines, increased employee dissatisfaction, and poor customer service.
According to research by PwC, U.S. employees are absent an average of 4.9 days per year. While that may not seem like much, the days can add up when all your employees take unexpected absences.
Ways to reduce absenteeism in the workplace
There are ways to effectively reduce absenteeism in the workplace. Here are five things you can try to limit employee absenteeism at your business.
1. Foster a work-life balance
You might be able to add flexibility to your work culture. A culture of empathy could help facilitate a work-life balance that benefits your employees. For example, you can let employees arrange for days off in advance. Employees could make up the time or trade hours with others. You should set some basic rules. For example, you might say that you won’t give extensions on deadlines. Or, you might require a certain number of employees to be present at a time.
2. Find patterns
Are employees frequently absent on certain days? See if there are patterns in employee absences.
Some patterns might have an obvious cause. For example, employees might be absent around holidays.
With other patterns, you might need to talk to your employees. Let’s say you notice that an employee is absent the last Friday of every month. You talk to him and find out that he is missing work to pick up his daughter. You could then schedule him so that he doesn’t have to work on the last Friday of a month.
Employees can use intermittent Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) leave for personal or family medical care. For example, an employee needs to take one day off a month for recurring medical treatments. She might be able to use FMLA leave. And, you can schedule your staff coverage to ensure your business runs smoothly on that day. With this kind of leave, make sure you follow FMLA rules.
3. Create an attendance policy
You should consider creating a formal attendance policy. Your small business attendance policy should include the requirements for scheduling time off. For example, you might say employees must give you a certain amount of notice before they are absent. In your attendance management policy, you might include any disciplinary actions employees could receive if they are unexpectedly absent.
4. Allow sick and personal days
What is sick pay like in your state? Sick and personal days are not a legal requirement in most states—although some states have enacted mandatory paid sick leave laws. While sick time and personal days don’t prevent absenteeism in the workplace, they do limit the number of times employees can take an excused absence.
5. Use a timekeeping system
To keep track of when employees are at work, use a time and attendance system. This might be tracked by using a time punch, time & attendance software features, or a spreadsheet for employees to record how many hours they worked. Ideally, the timekeeping system would track any time off employees have used.
You should maintain timekeeping records in a secure file. You should also include the amount of time off taken on employee pay stubs to keep employees up to date.
Do you need help tracking employee hours? Patriot has an online time and attendance software add-on for our easy-to-use payroll software. Employees can record the number of hours they worked so you don’t have to. The hours are sent to the payroll software, so you can quickly run payroll. Try it for free today!
This article was originally published on 7/26/2012.