Absenteeism is informed or uninformed unavailability of an employee at work. Taking long, unnecessary breaks at work, being disinterested, leaving early etc. are also forms of absenteeism. Employee absenteeism can be very costly for the organization due to the fact of the unavailability of the employee.
Classification of Absenteeism is based on the causes. There are 3 classes of Absenteeism, within which there are 8 types of absenteism. The classes of absenteeism are :
- Planned and Approved
- Unplanned but Approved
- Unplanned and Unapproved
Following are the 8 Types of Absenteeism
A) Planned and Approved
These are the circumstances in which the employee has already planned to take a leave and it is approved by the organization. It may be further classified as
Employees plan their holidays in advance to spend time with their families. Every organization has a pre-approved number of holidays which the employee can avail. Planned holidays are called vacations and organizations even pay the expenses for holidays under the category of leave travel allowance (LTA).
Holidays are paid leaves which the employee can avail on yearly or on monthly basis, as per the policy of the organization. Holidays are taken either for vacation purpose or for any family event. Few organizations offer a sabbatical for employees which is classified under holidays.
This is not seen as a negative type of absenteeism and if an employee does not take holidays the organization pay salary for the days worked. In companies like Google, it is mandatory for employees to avail all the holidays. They believe that making employees overwork is not a good option and taking holiday once in a while is healthy for the employee and productive for the organization.
Organizations have different policies and different leave structure but most of the multinationals provide about 30 days of paid leaves which the employees can avail in a period of one year.
2) Maternity or paternity
Employees can avail maternity or paternity leave in the organization for a limited number of days. The number of days differs from organization to organization. Paternity leave is usually lesser than maternity leave.
Female employees can avail about six months or more of maternity leaves. There are organizations which approve work from home during this period. Paternity leave is anywhere between one day to one week. Both maternity and paternity are paid leaves and employees may extend it after approval from the organization.
3) Work from home
Many organizations offer work from home options for their employees. Employees can avail this facility for a limited number of days wherein the employee can work from home and the employees fully paid for it. Although the employee is not entirely absent from the organization it is categorized under the form of absenteeism.
B) Unplanned but Approved
Absenteeism which is unforeseen by the employee, but already approved by the organization fall into this category. Employees have not foreseen this kind of leave and hence this is categorized as unplanned on account of employees.
4) Sick leave/Accident :
A sickness is an unplanned event which every employee suffers from time to time. Every organization has a limited number of approved sick leaves and in most of the organizations, these are paid. Sickness is not something that employee plans for and hence organizations remain flexible as long as employees are not recovered fully.
Most of the multinational does not keep a capping on the number of sick leaves as illness may extend from one day to one month or one year depending on the severity of illness. The accident is another category of the sick leaves. Employees travel on business purposes during which they may face an unfortunate event of an accident. Accidental recoveries take a long time and may extend for years.
Most of the organizations take responsibility for all of the expenses of the employee if the employee has suffered an accident in the workplace or while traveling for work. Other organizations pay employees through insurance. It is the sole discretion of organization whether to keep the employee or ask to resign on account of long-term illness or accident.
This is a leave availed by the employee when someone in the family passes away. Very few organizations provide bereavement leave, which ranges from one day to a couple of days. It is generally unplanned but approved type of Absenteeism
C) Unplanned and unapproved
The above two categories are manageable from the employer’s end but the third category which is unplanned and unapproved is out of the employer control and strong steps would be needed on employer’s end in order to deal with it.
Employees meeting to dislike work which leads to disengagement. More precisely this is termed as active disengagement. the employees on purpose do not take an interest in the proceedings of the organization. Demi take leaves on important days might not do the work correctly, do not be supportive to the others in the team, may always pick a fight with seniors and bosses.
Disengagement is a serious concern for most of the organizations. to reduce the disengagement organizations have come up with all sorts of rewards and recognition for the employees which include incentives, pay for extra work, overtime salary. Organizations have also followed the strategy of moving the employees into the area of interest. This makes employees work on the project of his liking rather than sulk in the area of work of his disliking.
The other part of disengagement is passive disengagement wherein the employees may not be attentive at work due to the reasons out of their control. Things like family disputes, family issues, sickness in the family or personal issues may be the cause of passive disengagement. Many organizations have initiated employee assistance cells wherein employees can discuss their personal problems in full confidence and the cells provide or attempt to provide a solution to their problems. The solution may be in monetary or non-monetary terms.
A lot of employees overwork every day, which may be due to financial or non-financial reasons. Financial reasons may include the need for money for family needs, while non-financial reasons may include struggling to save the job, workaholics or pressurizing boss.
Employees work to provide for the family but sometimes the salaries may not suffice the needs of the family is due to which employees may have to work overtime in the same organization or pick up another job to provide for the family. This leads to overworking burnout and ultimately absenteeism. There are times when an organization may be going through a phase of cost-cutting.
To prove their efficiency employees, have to work double time and justify their salaries and save jobs. That will only be possible after overworking which ultimately leads burnout and this leads to intentional long-term absenteeism. Incompatibility with supervisors may be other reason for absenteeism.
8) Personal reasons
Every individual is different and so is every employee. The personal reasons for one employee may not be applicable to all the employees. Personal reasons may include but are not limited to, workplace bullying wherein other employees pick on the employee and disturb the work-life balance.
Bullying can be related to personal inefficiencies or racial causes. Organizations have now become aware of this problem and encourage employees to talk about it with the respective HR. Depression is another cause due to which there may be employee absenteeism. Depression may be due to personal or professional reasons but can be noticed in the behavior of employee very easily.
Here is a video by Marketing91 on Absenteeism.
How to deal with Absenteeism?
While the causes of absenteeism maybe numerous it is essential to deal with those causes in order to increase the productivity of the organization. Here are a few ways in which you can deal with employee absenteeism:
A) Conversations :
Supervisors or HR on behalf of an organization can have a conversation with employees regarding absenteeism. Genuine reasons such as family issues, sickness in the family or any other personal problem should be talked with supervisors in strictest confidence and gotten approved by the employee.
Even though this may cause a temporary disruption in the work schedules, in the long run, it proves to be favorable. The absence of an employee is better than having an employee with divided attention.
In case of intentional absenteeism, the supervisors all teachers should take a strict approach and won the employee to stop the international absenteeism at earliest.
B) Work Load :
Overworked burnouts are very common at workplaces. The organization should ensure that they have enough team members to fulfill the job and the per employee work is according to the employee’s capacity. Employers can facilitate this in a positive way by providing incentives and bonuses for the overwork.
While this may motivate a few of them not everyone would be motivated by it. Hiring more employees is also one of the approaches to reducing the workload.
C) Temporary hiring :
There are incidences when employees take long absence such as maternity or accident. Recoveries in such instances take long time and organization cannot work with an unfilled seat.
In those cases, the job is delegated to someone within the team or within the organization on a temporary basis or a new employee is hired on contract basis till the absence of the regular employee. This is a better approach than keeping the position vacant.
D) Strict steps :
In cases of intentional absenteeism, employers are advised to take strict steps to stop it. Supervisors can talk to the employees who are not interested in the working and can either cut out a deal for long-term or ask the employee to leave the organization on good terms. The employer may further push the employee to look for a work which falls in his area of interest rather than costing him his precious time and organization, money.
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