6 Steps to absence management in the workplace

Step 1: Have a clear policy in place

Your company policy on absence management should be very clear to understand for all your employees. It needs to include:

  • Details of what an employee is entitled to with regards to absence allowances
  • When and how an employee should report an absence to their line manager
  • Details of who an employee can turn to should they need support in any way

Step 2: Act Immediately

When a absence is reported, it is essential that the first steps in managing it are taken on the first day of the absence. You should verify the absence and any assess any impact on the company and address them. Train your line managers in how to handle an absence report and ensure they are in a position to inform the employee accordingly.

Step 3: Review longer term absence

When an employee has been absent for 2 or 3 weeks the absence is starting to fall into long term absence. You should review the absence to ensure that the employee and their family are being supported accordingly. You should have a discussion with the employee to positively focus on what steps can be taken to return them to work.

Step 4:  Monitor patterns and trends

Employees who are regularly absent should have their absence patterns analysed. You could discover trends related to:

  • Working environment
  • Working shifts
  • Delivery deadlines
  • Long working hours.

If you find such patterns, action can be taken to prevent them in future. Recording details of each absence is crucial to aid in finding these kind of patterns. It is more and more common to record these details using a HRIS.

Step 5: Involve more of the team

Make the management of absences a team effort. Do not put the responsibility onto just one person. By involving the right people in finding a solution to the absence, it will lighten the pressure on a single person. It will also encourage the culture that managing absences is a part of the normal process of a business rather than a stand alone project.

Step 6: Communicate

Like most aspects of a business, communication is key when managing absences. All employees should know what support is available for them and what their responsibilities are towards others.

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