Employee Absenteeism Is Best Managed with a Clear Policy

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As with all labor management issues, absenteeism can be legally and more easily managed when employers start with a clearly documented policy in their employee handbooks. In most workplaces, employee absenteeism has a direct effect on the bottom line. Productivity can be hindered, so workflow doesn’t move at a required rate, and employers are faced with paying more overtime and possibly hiring temporary workers.

The following details are what make an absenteeism policy clear and consistent.

  • State exactly how much absenteeism is allowed before it affects employees’ wages and/or what disciplinary practices could be applied.
  • Describe excused and unexcused absences.
  • Maintain accurate attendance and absence records.
  • Be consistent, but flexible.
  • Make sure employees understand that absences, including sick leave, is not the same as vacation or personal leave.
  • Apply a three-step disciplinary process if the absenteeism becomes progressively worse. It starts with a discussion with the absentee employee, moves to a written statement, and then concludes with offering the employee to either comply with the policy or leave the company.

Remember that the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) may require a slightly different absenteeism policy for employees that qualify under these acts. Simply visit these two websites and search for “absenteeism” for the latest federal law updates and rulings.

Your Employee Handbook, available at http://www.YourEmployeeHandbook.com, contains employee policies that address absenteeism issues and that are compliant with both the ADA and FMLA.

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