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What is Absence Management?

What is Absence?

The Official Definition

Absenteeism broadly refers to the failure of an employee to report for work when they are scheduled.

The Employer’s Definition

The first word most employers use when defining absence is not loss or inconvenience, but frustration.  And the Latin root of this word really brings home the problem with absence, because it derives from the word frustra, which means ‘in vain’, or ‘for nothing, to no purpose.’  No one wants any part of their business to be definable in this way.

So, instead of managing sick pay levels, let’s do what we’re paid to do, which is manage people.

What is Ansence Management?

Modern Absence Management policies focus on promoting good health and attendance, and not on penalising absence.

Question: does your Company have Return to Work interviews with Employees who’ve been on sick leave?  If not, chances are you don’t have an Absence Management Policy.  And that’s probably costing the Company more than just money.

Absence Management (and let’s face it: more often than not we’re talking about Sickness Absence Management) is a considered and appropriate Management response to the issue of Absence in the Workplace.   It’s the effect of an agreed Absence Management Policy and its consistent application within the organisation. And people-focussed actions such as a Return to work interview, can be easy to introduce, and very effective.

Because when employees return to work, if they are treated consistently, with a discussion about how they are and what caused their absence (including recurring absences) then you can identify whether there are ill-health issues for which the employee may need support and understanding, or if there are issues in the workplace which need to be addressed, and which may be entirely unrelated to illness.

So, instead of managing sick pay levels, effective Absence Management policies help us to do what we’re paid to do, which is manage people.

April 22, 2021
By Florence Kenefick

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