How Employee Absence Tracking Improves Your Business

HR’s Role in Employee Absence Tracking

Employee absenteeism is an unavoidable part of the workplace. Surely, taking time off is something that employees need and are allowed to do, but absenteeism may become a huge issue for your company if it’s not managed properly.

You shouldn’t worry about your workers taking a PTO (Paid Time Off) every once in a while; however, if “every once in a while” becomes “systematically,” that’s when you have to start paying attention to your organization’s absenteeism issues, and, if necessary, do some real action.

In the article below, we’re going to take a look at how to deal with employee absenteeism and what effects it might have on your company.

What Is Employee Absenteeism?

Employee absenteeism is habitual workplace absence without valid cause, usually unplanned and unannounced. While all workers miss work on occasion, you as an HR should distinguish absenteeism from other types of absence. Employee absenteeism does not include instances that can’t be planned or controlled, like sickness or death.

There are two main forms of absenteeism which we’re going to discuss a little later. First, let’s see how a frequent lack of absence may impact your company.

Legal Definition and Consequences of Employee Absenteeism

When it comes to employee absenteeism, the main problem is that it leads to a reduction in manpower or, in some cases, even the necessity to take over client relationships. Good relationships with customers, or clients, are what the success of any company is based on, and if there’s no one to handle communication with a client, it may have a negative impact on your organization’s revenue and even reputation.

To prevent your employees from taking too much time off work, you might want to consider implementing a control program. Before you do so, study the legislation you must be aware of.

1. Employee Compensation Laws

The federal law, which applies to all fifty states, provides victims of industrial accidents with the necessary rehabilitation, treatment, and benefits - because in that case, the employer is fully responsible for the injury. Under the employee compensation law, workers are entitled to absence without a limit. So, employers must respect staff members covered by these laws.

2. Wage and Hour Laws

Employers and HR managers must ensure that their company policy regarding absenteeism is completely in line with the FLSA (Fair Labor Standard Act) as well as state and federal wage and hours laws. These laws provide a minimum hourly wage and overtime for covered staff members. As an HR, you must ensure that when making absence-related deductions from a worker’s salary, they comply with the correct laws for employees.

3. Family and Medical Leave Laws

Family and Medical Leave Laws provide eligible employers with up twelve weeks of protected leave to care for an ill husband/wife, parent, or child. It also will apply if the employee has fallen ill as well.

4. Paid Sick Leave Laws

Quite a few local and state laws regulate the issue of paid sick leave. Some laws obligate employers to make allowances for sick-related absences and include discipline restrictions for this form of absenteeism. Make sure to check your local and state laws to be aware of what applies to you.

Types of Employee Absenteeism

1. Excused Absences

Surely, we all need to take time off from work sometimes. For instance, an illness, vacation, family leave, or scheduled medical absences are likely to be excused by an employer. Such absences are not habitual or regular but are taken with good reason, so they in no way count as absenteeism. These are fully legit, easy to prepare, and, provided they are handled properly, will not do any harm to the organization.

2. Unexcused Absences

As we’ve mentioned before, employee absenteeism is a chronic, systematic absence with no good cause. But many people, including both employees and HR managers, do not realize is that habitual lateness, extended lunch breaks, early departures – all count as unexcused absences as well. The key word here is “absence.” If you’re not working, you are absent, and if the reason you’re absent is not legitimate, it counts as unexcused absenteeism.

How Employee Absenteeism Impacts the Company

Employee absenteeism affects both employees and employers. This is why HR managers should take into account the direct and indirect costs when calculating workers’ salaries over the payroll period.

Direct Costs

When an employer, or an HR, is not dealing with absenteeism in the workplace, the employee gets paid for working time that has not been complete. This is a sign of poor absence management. Other direct costs may include those from managing absenteeism, plus overtime or replacement employee costs to cover the absences. Besides, unexcused absences might lead to the worker not being paid for taking time off and losing their job.

Indirect Costs

Such costs are going to have a huge impact on an organization and the workforce, from lost productivity to delayed work. Both mean that deadlines will not be met, projects will fall behind targets, and overall profits will be affected.

To sum up, the following are some of the most serious effects caused by employee absenteeism:

  • It worsens the impact of every affected party as it always occurs unexpectedly.
  • It may inflict damage upon your company’s employer brand.
  • It shows that working conditions might be too poor, leading to workers getting sick regularly.
  • It affects the relationships between employees and their managers, as well as coworkers themselves.

Tracking Employee Absences

So, we’ve discussed the impact that employee absenteeism may have on literally anyone involved, but we never mentioned how it could be managed or tracked. Frankly speaking, attendance and absence tracking is one of the key responsibilities of an HR department because it’s the HR manager who makes sure that all workers are fulfilling their obligations - and that the organization is in compliance with certain regulations.

If employees’ time and attendance are not monitored or tracked, your company may get into serious trouble. HRs must account for PTOs, vacation days, sick time, and other forms of employee absenteeism. Keep reading to learn why monitoring absences is so important for a company.

Interpersonal Issues

Employee absence tracking is crucial for avoiding interpersonal issues in the workforce. It has been proven that employees resent a coworker who is constantly absent as others will have to cover that person’s work. Thus, some of the employees may have to delay their own assignments to get everything done on time.

Besides, if staff members often see someone taking time off from work for no reason, they also may become disappointed in their own management and the employer in general. It will hurt their morale as they will feel as if no one cares enough to take the necessary steps to prevent the problem.

This will lead to employee disengagement, and some workers may even start looking for new opportunities where they will feel happier and more valuable.

With that being said, it is the HR managers’ job to make sure that all employees show up to work, leave on time, and take as much time off as they are allowed to, according to the company policy. That’s the only way to keep your staff engaged, productive, and effective.

Compliance and Attendance

Attendance and insurance coverage don't seem like they'd have much of an effect on each other. However, both are tied together by the Affordable Care Act (ACA). The federal mandate stipulates that any organization with fifty or more full-time workers must offer group health insurance.

It is essential for HRs to be monitoring every working hour so they can produce an accurate report for the insurance. The total count will affect whether your company has to comply with the new ACA law.

If you have people working remotely, tracking their working time and attendance is especially important.

Employee Absence Tracker

So how do employee absence trackers actually work? Obviously, there are many tools out there, and every HR should decide which one suits them and their company’s needs the best. Choosing the right tracker also depends on your industry, type of work, and other things.

Generally, an attendance tracker provides the following benefits:

  • The tracker shows the rate of employee absenteeism in your company. It might a little time until the tool calculates the rate and provides all the information on your workers’ attendance, but it’s worth the wait.
  • A tool like this is beneficial for both the employer and employees. Obviously, the employer can keep an eye on employee absenteeism, whereas the staff might become more responsible in terms of work, knowing that their attendance is being monitored.
  • To monitor employee absenteeism, you can either choose a person who will be doing it manually or a digital tool. It goes without saying that a real person will require spending more money than a simple app or program, even if it’s not completely free.

Managing Employee Absences

Surely, monitoring a problem is not enough: if there’s an issue, it should be handled correctly. But how to manage absenteeism in the workplace?

Let’s say you’ve found out that your organization has a pretty high employee absenteeism rate – what are you going to do next? There are a number of actions you can take to reduce absences at work.

1. Ask for Verification of Injury of Illness

Most companies take this measure of asking workers to provide verification of injury or illness, especially if the employee is requesting a few days off. However, this could also be implemented when a staff member is taking too much unexcused sick time. For instance, a doctor’s note could count as verification of illness.

2. Establish a Time Off Policy

One of the best ways to manage the issue of absenteeism at work is to establish a general sick leave and excused absence policy, which may help solve a lot of issues regarding time off and remove the stigma of unexcused absenteeism in many cases.

3. Find Motivation

Asking employees not to take time off for no good reason may not be too effective. And, frankly, many employers won’t know how to discuss absenteeism with an employee. So instead, an employer or an HR professional can create a motivation system.

A motivation system for employees consists of a number of measures that encourage staff members to take fewer absences. It doesn’t have to be complicated: you may simply implement a cash or non-cash bonus for those who have taken no, or almost no, absences over this past month. Such a system will improve interpersonal communication within the workforce and make sure your workers are coming into the office.

Track Employee Absences With Lanteria

People are not robots, and every employee might need to take some time off from work either due to a planned or rather unexpected cause. With scheduled absences, it’s all clear: a worker lets their HR department know in advance so that the latter have enough time to prepare for the employee’s absence and find a person to cover their work.

But when it comes to sudden absences, especially if they occur too often and are not monitored at all, they will most likely negatively impact the organization, profits, employee engagement, and salaries. To prevent this from happening, Lanteria offers its own time tracking tool to prevent this from happening, which can show if any action needs to be taken in terms of absenteeism in your company.


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