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In an ideal world, you’d know when your employees will be absent weeks or even months ahead of time. We’ve talked in the past about how to best manage planned absences, but just as a quick refresher, make sure all supervisors and direct coworkers are in the loop in regards to the dates your employee will be gone. Also ask the employee to review any upcoming deadlines and fill in their coworkers on any projects in the works.
But what about those other kinds of absences, where you only have a few hours’ notice or no notice?
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that unplanned absences cost employers 2.8 million work days last year. Another study conducted by Mercer on behalf of Kronos found that each employee averages 5.4 unplanned absences per year. The bulk of these occur during the winter and summer, both of which have weather that can affect commuters and breaks for kids in school. How can you manage all of these unexpected absences?
As the saying goes, the best defense is a good offense. Send out a memo ahead of time to remind your employees of your attendance policies and any disciplinary actions that might occur should they not adhere to those policies. Encourage your employees to request time off in advance to avoid any disappointments. During the summer or around the winter holidays, you might even consider beefing up your attendance policies with harsher punishments for those who don’t follow the rules. If you do this, make sure you include set dates so your employees know it’s just on a temporary basis.
Here’s a few other tips to help you out with different kinds of absences:
If your absenteeism issues aren’t just seasonal, you might want to consider revising your vacation or absence policy. Some employers do a points system, assigning different point values to different offenses. For example, arriving late is one point, an unplanned absence is two points, and an unannounced absence is three points. After six months, if an employee has too many points, then some kind of serious disciplinary action should take place. Other employers choose to reward perfect attendance with bonuses, gift cards, PTO, or some other kind of gift, or they take attendance into consideration when determining promotions or raises. You should also take a look at your organization and make sure it’s not any issues on your end.
Whatever your policies, make sure your employees adhere to them, and always document any kind of absence. We’re halfway through summer now, but Thanksgiving and the rest of the winter holidays will be here before you know it.