Absenteeism is one of the trickiest human resources issues for employers to manage. In instances where it is suspected that an employee is not genuinely ill, workplace laws in relation to managing absenteeism can often leave the manager feeling frustrated and as though their hands are tied. While it is true that absenteeism is difficult to manage, there is actually quite a lot an employer can do to improve non-genuine absenteeism.
Where absenteeism is happening within the workplace but it’s considered to be more of an annoyance than a major concern (severe absenteeism is discussed further down), employers might like to make some changes to the overall workplace to see if these can improve absence statistics over a number of months.
Some of these changes might include:
1. Implementing a clear personal leave policy which makes it less desirable for employees to take non-genuine sick leave. For example, some policies have specific rules such as insisting employees call and speak to their direct manager on the day of the absence, rather than opting to text message. For an employee who may be considering to ‘chuck a sickie’, having a discussion about the impending absence is a much more difficult option than sending a text message to avoid a discussion.
2. Programming day to day activities that inspire employees to attend work. Non-genuine sick leave can be more prevalent in work environments which are monotonous and where the culture is rigid and mundane. If yours is a bit lacklustre, have a think about what can be done to change this. A great way to start is to map out specific dates on a calendar which might include activities that help break repetitiousness like morning tea celebrations for birthdays, dress up days to support charitable causes, casual Fridays, team meetings etc.
3. Be a bit more flexible with your employees. Employers who don’t recognise that employees have lives outside of work and therefore do not reasonably accommodate small and insignificant requests will increase their chances of having employees call in sick for the entire day out of fear of their request being declined. Where employers are able to allow employees some freedom from time to time during shift, it will likely increase the commitment they show towards their job and reduce non-genuine absenteeism.
But what happens when there is an employee whose absenteeism is concerning in some way, or who has repeated and severe absenteeism?
Each situation should be treated independently, which means employers are best to consult an employment relations expert so that the situation can be assessed and a plan worked out to get results. Severe absenteeism can be successfully managed on an individual basis and in some cases eliminated completely, but employers need to be careful not to manage it without seeking the assistance from an experienced HR services provider such as Industryus HR.
For a free and no obligation consultation about absenteeism or other Human Resources issues, call Industryus HR on 07 5655 4047 or click here