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Managing Unplanned Absenteeism

 Increase productivity by up to 30%

without increasing costs


It has long been recognised that unplanned absenteeism has a direct impact on productivity.

However the causes of absenteeism are many, varied and at times complex and sick pay is for sick people.

Absenteeism is linked to; the nature of the work, workplace relationships, employee turnover, HR policies, Workers Compensation claims, return to work programs, Induction programs, Industrial disputation, Shift patterns, Distance to travel to and from work.

Absenteeism discussions usually lead to polarised views regarding the causes, the management and attitudes as to whether it is an entitlement or a privilege.

Creditable research by The Royal Australasian College of Physicians asserts that there is an inverse causal relationship between productivity of an organisation and the numbers of days absent, That is; productivity is a function of number of days worked. Further the ARACP finds that the average number of day absent by employees in Australia is 9 (in whole figures) and that, in careful narrative, only half of which are medically related.

MMHR's proven approach begins with a diagnostic review of the previous three years attendance and a review of the absence management systems or lack there of.

Absences may be divided into a number of classifications; Planned leave, Long Service leave, Industrial leave without pay, Health related leave, Unplanned leave, Pressing domestic leave and the like.

The data is then analysed and scrutinised for patterns that are reoccurring or are triggered and/or related to a person, event or season.

What follows is a round of policy formulation and training of all managers and supervisors in counselling skills and absenteeism management.

Case Study:

Working with an organisation of less than 400 people we were able to reduce the unplanned absenteeism by 1800 days in the first 12 months plus an additional 500 the next 12 months and constant reduction of about 100 days the next 12 monthly periods. Saving the wages of 10 people estimated to be a minimum of $800,000 each year plus productivity improvements in the order of 30%

Case Study:

After serving their employee for 18 years two workmates decide to bide their time and retire on the same day. One had had 3 days absent in the entire 18 years and the other did one better with only 2 days absent in the 18 years. The General Manager with a little prompting from our firm rewarded the 2 men with a trip to Fiji for them and their wives in recognition of their outstanding absentee record. Thus sending a positive message to the rest of the company.

Consequences of Workplace Absenteeism are:

  • Loss of productivity
  • Increased Costs
  • Low Motivation
  • Increase workloads
  • Poor quality
  • Frustration in every part of the organisation
  • Poor Employer Branding
  • Increase in Management Time and Costs
  • Poor Safety
  • Increase in overtime costs
  • Loss of Customers
  • Increase in training costs
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