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How to deal with absenteeism in these three situations...

by , 08 June 2015
There are three different situations where absenteeism may arise:

1. Your employee is absent without permission;
2. Your employee is genuinely too ill to work or to perform his functions; or
3. Your employee uses sick leave excessively but still 'plays by the rules'.

If you don't manage absenteeism in these situations, the consequences can result in a decrease in productivity and possible financial losses.

Keep reading below and we'll show you how to deal with absenteeism in these three situations...

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How to deal with three different types of absenteeism

1. Your employee is absent without permission. For example, Themba requested leave to visit his mother in Limpopo. But you declined it and gave him an alternative date because it was last minute and there's no one to supervise the cleaners. Themba took the day off anyway without your permission.

In this case you should deal with the absenteeism in terms of your disciplinary code and procedure.

2. Your employee is genuinely too ill to work or to perform his functions. For example, James has been in a serious car accident and now has to use a wheelchair. He can't work on the construction site anymore.

In this case you should use the services of medical professionals to determine if and how you can accommodate the person, before considering dismissal for ill health. For example, maybe James can work in the office instead. A dismissal for ill health must always be your last resort.

3. Your employee uses sick leave excessively but still 'plays by the rules'. For example, Tim is always sick for different reasons but he either produces a medical certificate when required or stays away just long enough not to have to produce one.

In this case, investigate if the employee really is sick or he's abusing sick leave. You can:

  • Check if the medical certificates are valid;
  • Record his absences;
  • Conduct an audit;
  • Conduct return to work interviews;
  • Set clear absenteeism standards in your employment contracts; and
  • Take action against the employee if he's contravened your rules.

You need to understand why employees stay away from work and have a strategy for controlling the problem!

If you want to manage the problem of absenteeism effectively, identify and deal with the causes as well as take corrective action against employees. Dealing with the causes is usually more cost effective than merely tackling the symptoms.

To read a 12-step strategy for dealing with sick leave abuse, turn to chapter A06: Absenteeism and sick leave abuse in your Practical Guide to Human Resources Management. If you don't have a copy yet, click here.


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