What is an absenteeism policy?

An absenteeism policy refers to a document that brings together the rules that govern the absences (planned or unplanned) of employees within a company.

Why implement an absenteeism policy?

A absenteeism policy is an effective tool to reduce repeated absences and the problems that follow. It also allows managers to demonstrate that they are empathetic and that they understand that absences can occur, but that there is still a framework to be respected.

The absenteeism policy also helps human resources managers to better oversee personnel management within the organization.

What should a work absenteeism policy contain?

An absenteeism policy should be written in a clear and concise manner. It usually includes the following information:

  • The objectives of the policy.
  • The roles and responsibilities of team members (employee, manager, human resources officer, etc.).
  • The maximum number of days of absence without an official form (medical certificate, for example) allowed per year.
  • The procedure for leave requests.
  • The procedure for sick days.
  • The forms to be completed in the event of absence.
  • The consequences of unjustified absences.
  • Contact information in case of questions.

What are the different forms of absenteeism at work?

The different forms of work absenteeism include: 

  • Unethical absenteeism: unjustified absences, without valid reason or for false reasons.
  • Normal absenteeism: holidays, days off previously requested and accepted, absences beyond control (family problems, weather events, accidents, etc.).
  • Excessive absenteeism: repeated absences (justified or not).

How to fight absenteeism at work?

Managers who want to tackle absenteeism at work can implement several strategies such as: 

What are the benefits of having an absenteeism policy?

The benefits of having an absenteeism policy within a company include:

  • Avoid monetary losses related to employee absences.
  • Better structure the management of absences.
  • Provide clear procedures to employees.
  • Demonstrate proactivity.
  • Increase the productivity of team members.

How to implement an absenteeism policy?

It is possible to implement an absenteeism policy in 5 steps:

  1. Define policy objectives.
  2. Define the responsibilities of each member of the team.
  3. Determine the different procedures to follow for all possible cases of absence (unplanned absences, work stoppage, accident, vacation, unpaid leave, etc.).
  4. Present the policy to all employees and answer their questions.
  5. Adjust the policy as needed.
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