Absenteeism is an employee’s intentional or habitual absence from work. While employers expect workers to miss a certain number of workdays each year due to illness or some other unforeseen circumstance, excessive absence can inevitably lead to decreased productivity, which impacts negatively on company performance, finances and even morale.
While studies show that annual costs associated with absenteeism vary by industry, the scarce financial resources of companies are being eroded by continually paying the wages of absentee employees in addition to the cost of replacement workers such as overtime pay for other employees and/or temporary workers. And that is before accounting for administrative costs of managing absenteeism which should have been properly channeled to increase the company’s profit margin.
Furthermore, absenteeism causes poor quality of goods/services resulting from overtime fatigue or understaffing, reduced productivity, excess managerial time (dealing with discipline and finding suitable employee replacements), safety issues (inadequately trained employees filling in for others or rushing to catch up after arriving as a replacement, etc.), and poor morale among employees who have to “fill in” or do extra work to cover absent coworkers.
Illustrated below is a statistical survey carried out by Jean Folger on the value of the annual cost of loss of production in dollars associated with absenteeism by occupation:
Professional (excluding nurses, physicians and teachers)
School teachers (K-12)
As stated in our previous article, absenteeism is a disorder that is very difficult to tackle, because just as there are poor excuses for missing work, there are legitimate ones also. Whatever the case, these can best be managed by putting effective tools in place to properly monitor, control and reduce the menace of absenteeism.