Generally, every employee of a company has to be subjected to certain policies and procedures. The essence of these policies is to regulate the activities of employees in the company and create an orderly environment. One of such policies is the absenteeism policy.
An employee who is absent from work is capable of disrupting activities in the company, reducing productivity levels, and bringing about a financial loss to the business.
To ensure none of these happens and the number of days employees miss work is reduced, companies and businesses are advised to have a comprehensive absenteeism policy in place.
What Is Absenteeism Policy And What Does It Entail?
Absenteeism policy in a more corporate light refers to guidelines and procedures in place to reduce employee absenteeism. It usually contains certain grounds on which an employee can be absent from work.
The most common of these grounds include: sickness, loss of a relative or loved one, an accident, or a leave.
However, for an employee to be absent, the policy is expected to state the means of communicating such absence. If there are processes to be followed before an employee’s absence is documented, the absenteeism policy should provide that.
Another important component of an absenteeism policy is the disciplinary options opened to an employer over an employee who is always absent. Every disciplinary action listed in the absenteeism policy should be in line with the provisions of the law. It should not attempt to take away the rights of employees.
In some businesses, the absenteeism policy is referred to as the attendance policy. Other than the grounds on which an employee can be absent, this policy also contains vacation schedules, paid leave, and parental excuses, among others.
The goal of every absenteeism policy should be to reduce the number of days an employee misses work to increase their productivity. The principles of justice and fairness are two cardinal considerations when drafting a comprehensive absenteeism policy.
Paid Time Off and Excessive Absenteeism
One of the most adopted strategies regarding employee absenteeism is to provide for a paid time off or PTO as it is sometimes called. Every business is expected to integrate into its culture a paid time off. This time allows employees to take care of other areas of their lives outside their profession.
It can be a time where they get to spend with their families and loved ones, go on a vacation, attend to their health, and do any other thing that matters to them. Paid time off also allows employees to relax from all the stress of work and take out time to recharge and re-energize for the tasks ahead.
Many businesses adopt PTO as a means to reduce excessive absenteeism and boost the productivity of employees. As the name implies, the paid time off is where employees still get paid even if they are away.
For example, you are earning $10,000 from your workplace every week, and you decided to write a request for a paid work leave for a week. During the one week you’d be away from work; you will still be entitled to your full payment.
For a PTO to reduce absenteeism in a workplace, it must be incorporated into the absenteeism policy and state in clear times how many days employees are entitled to during such period.
There should also be a system to help employees determine how much time they have spent on their paid time off and know how many days they have left.
How to Draft the Best Absenteeism Policy
No doubt, the absenteeism policy is as important as every other policy in the workplace. However, to ensure you have a comprehensive absenteeism policy that neither harms the company nor its employees, you have to know how to draft one effectively.
Major factors to include when drafting the best absenteeism policy include:
- Definition of an absence
If a term is not properly defined, everything can look like the definition. One of the most important things to include when drafting the best absenteeism policy is the definition of an absence.
To develop a comprehensive definition, you can consult a dictionary, the internet, or other absenteeism policies. Employers have to exercise care when defining an absence as it can have legal consequences when taking disciplinary actions.
- How absences should be reported
The best absenteeism policy should also have a defined process employees can follow when reporting or seeking permission to be absent. For example, it can be that they have to write a letter to the HR department a week or two before the said date.
The main goal of creating a system for reporting absences in the workplace is to help the business prepare a possible replacement to avoid a decline in productivity level. It also serves as a good way to document absences and determine when it’s becoming excessive.
- Who absences are to be reported to
The process to be followed when reporting absences in the workplace is incomplete without a person or department documenting the absence. Employees should know a person they can send a letter to or make a report before or when they eventually miss work.
Appointing someone or a department to oversee this task helps to give structure to the business. However, it is important that you don’t just appoint a person or a department alone, but you include such an appointment in the absenteeism policy.
- Disciplinary action to be taken against excessive absenteeism
Finally, the best absenteeism policy should contain the disciplinary actions to be taken against employees who violate the policy’s provisions. Note that every disciplinary action stated in the policy should conform to the spirit and the letter of the law.
Where a disciplinary action in an absenteeism policy is against the law, it becomes difficult to enforce such action.
A comprehensive absenteeism policy is required for every business to survive in the long run. However, beyond knowing how to draft the best absenteeism policy, a system of rewarding diligent workers with excellent attendance records should be created. This will help to reduce the number of employees who take permission to be absent for trivial reasons.
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