1. Absenteeism
2. Root Causes
3. Consequences
4. Explanations
5. Role of Supervisors
6. Actions to Take
7. Responsibilities
8. Additional Steps
9. Monitor Accordingly
10. No Other Options


Absenteeism is a worker's intentional or usual absence from work. Extreme absences can reduce productivity and have a major effect on company finances, morale, and other factors. Absenteeism does not contain unintentional or occasional absence due to valid reasons outside one's control, such as accidents or sickness.

Root Causes

Individuals may skip work for many circumstances, some of which are genuine. Heavy workloads, chaotic meetings, or presentations and feeling unappreciated can cause staff members to skip work. Personal issues and stress can also cause missed work days.

Workers may miss a shift to remain home and attend to family members. Depression is also a root cause of absenteeism in the U.S., and those who suffer from depression may rely on alcohol or drugs. Injuries, disease, and doctor appointments are the usually reported causes for skipping work.

Absenteeism in part-time and full-time work usually increases during the flu season. Accidents can happen while working or outside of the workplace. Chronic pain is another common explanation of absenteeism. Staff sometimes asked for sick leave just to go to job interviews. In addition, tardiness, skipping work early, or long breaks can be other types of absenteeism. Absenteeism can affect morale and workplace efficiency.


The absenteeism costs can be attributed to any compensation paid to absent employees and administrative costs of managing absenteeism.

Companies lose about 2.8 million workdays a year because of employee injuries and illnesses, according to the U.S. Department of Labor.

  • Costs associated with poor customer service.
  • Lost productivity of the absent employee is hidden cost factors associated with absenteeism.
  • Overtime for fill-in employees.
  • Decreased productivity.
  • Additional costs in getting extra help.
  • Loss of business due to customer dissatisfaction.
  • Lowered staff morale.


Some company wants a documented explanation from a doctor. It is significant for employers to consider additional cost burdens related with a sick worker who can spread a sickness that infects an entire group. Sick leave that is mandatory works when the employee receives a certain number of days per year for sick leave. Antagonists of mandatory sick leave contend that it will eventually impose additional costs and lead to possible layoffs.

Sick leave that is paid makes financial sense because it will prevent the spread of illnesses in the workplace. Other firms may try to install various policies addressing health concerns, such as:

  • Physical health
  • Mental health
  • Environmental well-being
  • Economic circumstances

A healthier, happier staff will be more motivated to go to work each day.

Role of Supervisors

According to a CCH survey, many employers are struggling to retain workers. Unintended absenteeism has been on the rise since 1999. Immediate supervisors are primarily responsible for dealing with workplace absences.

Supervisors are the only people who are sensitive that a certain employee is absent. Supervisors are on the ground and directly understand why an employee is absent. Supervisors must deal with the problem of absenteeism to improve workplace efficiency.

Most supervisors have not established any assistance or training in managing absenteeism. Most supervisors have the unpleasant task of dealing with abusing absence privileges. Supervisors need to have the full encouragement from senior management to guarantee that supervisors are capable in their role of managing absenteeism. Senior management and supervisors must be aware of the goal of absence policies and processes. Policies can be watered down due to discrepancies between senior management and supervisors.

Actions to Take

You can take the following measures to ensure shifts are properly covered:

  • Supervisors must safeguard that all staffs are made aware of the organization’s procedures and policies on dealing with absence.
  • Supervisors must communicate directly with sick employees.
  • Supervisors must preserve properly detailed, correct, and up-to-date absence records for their staff.
  • Supervisors must monitor consistent patterns of absences.
  • Supervisors must have return-to-work interviews.
  • Supervisors must apply punitive procedures when deemed appropriate.


Supervisors must be trained to conduct return-to-work interviews. Return-to-work interviews are one of the most efficient tools to manage short-term absenteeism. Return-to-work conversations will allow the supervisor to welcome back the employee to work, but also assess the commitment of management to deal with the number of absences on the job.

The interview also ensures that an employee is ready to work again. Results of the interview should be recorded for future reference.

  • Supervisor should determine the cause of the sickness and what could be done to foster a committed presence on the job.
  • Make an appointment with a company physician to assess an employee’s condition and see if they are ready to work again, which should have employee confirmation within five business days.

An evaluation of the attendance will automatically be made each month for the next six months.

If an employee is verified as healthy, the supervisor should let that person know that the sickness may be currently genuine, but that he or she should start showing up to work regularly and that continue absences will be addressed accordingly.

Additional Steps

If the situation does not improve, a formal hearing with the supervisor is necessary. The absence record should be complete in a letter inviting the employee for the interview. An absence record needs to be saved and placed on file after the interview. In addition, notify the worker that he or she can be representative by a union rep or an employee.

Let the employee know about the absence and the cost it brings on the business. The meeting is consequently finished to make a determination. The worker should receive the proper directives within five working days. The meeting is resumed at HR and will talk about the results. If the doctor authorizes work fitness, the employee should be notified regarding potential consequences if the absence continues.

Monitor Accordingly

Consistent monitoring specifies that no development in the absence pattern has occurred and another meeting will be scheduled with HR. Any additional information at the meeting regarding change will need to be assessed by the doctor. The employee should be afforded the opportunity to explain the situation.

The supervisor should tell the employee verbally regarding a written warning and inform him or her about how long the blemish will appear on their file. Any copy should be made to the worker and/or the representative. For any doubts regarding an employee’s ability to work, confer with the doctor, and talk with a union representative if necessary. Suspension can follow if there is no solution. Write down the purpose of the suspension, including the start and end date, and a copy should be sent to the rep.

No Other Options

You can terminate an employee for the incapability of following rules regarding workplace attendance. Termination can only follow with written approval with someone from senior management or HR. Entitlement for disability benefit will depend on the circumstances of each case.

Disability eligibility depends on the scenarios in each case. If a conclusion is made to dismiss on the basis of capability, a copy of letter of dismissal should be sent to the employee’s representative if appropriate. The employee has the right to appeal the decision, but the appeal should fall within the guidelines of the company.

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