What is an absenteeism policy?

An absenteeism policy should thoroughly address:

  • Excused absences
  • Unexcused absences
  • No shows
  • Tardiness and early departures   
  • Necessary documentation for employee absences
  • Disciplinary measures 

The policy should also include governmental labor laws concerning sick days, vacation days, and unpaid leave.

Why should HR leaders care about an absenteeism policy?

Implementing an absenteeism policy can:

  • Promote responsible work habits
  • Maintain productivity and morale 
  • Reduce company costs

A policy that explains absenteeism procedures can clarify employee responsibilities, and help managers fulfill their obligations in overseeing employee attendance.

What can HR leaders do to implement an effective absenteeism policy?

HR leaders can:  

  • Draft a user-friendly policy. The absenteeism guidelines can define the different types of employee absences and explain the procedure for each case. This way, managers and employees can easily reference it to check their duties and any disciplinary measures. 
  • Request manager feedback. HR leaders can submit the policy for managers to review. Involving managers in the revision process can establish fair and realistic absenteeism parameters for employees. For example, a workforce composed of many young parents may need flexible morning work hours so they can take their kids to school and still arrive to work at an acceptable time.  
  • Train managers on how to implement the policy. HR leaders can educate managers about the company policy and effective methods to deal with employees who are frequently absent. While many managers may find it challenging to maintain compliance among employees, manager adherence is key to promoting fair and equal employee treatment throughout all departments.
  • Align the policy with company culture. Employees are likely to accept a policy that meshes with company practices and values. A reasonable policy that encourages employee autonomy while maintaining a steady work schedule can support employee engagement and productivity.
  • Nurture employee engagement. HR leaders can reduce absenteeism in the workplace by strengthening interpersonal employee relationships in the workplace and offering attractive compensation plans. .  

How can an effective absenteeism policy improve company culture?

Employees who habitually fail to show up, or often arrive late, can negatively impact overall motivation in the workplace. Implementing an objective absenteeism policy can lessen absenteeism, nudging employees to follow company regulations. A reasonable and clear absenteeism policy, combined with an engaged workforce, can contribute toward a healthy and thriving company culture.