Attendance Management

by Kate Russell

Introduction

Absence can be a serious drain on a business, with the direct costs alone running to billions of pounds a year across British industry. Absence also places a burden on colleagues and poor morale can result if the issue is not tackled, with consequent effects on productivity and profitability.

High levels of absence can cause serious problems for both large and small organisations. Dealing effectively with absence calls for a continuous and coordinated effort by managers. Sound, fair and consistent policies and procedures can provide a framework within which absence problems can be better handled. Taking action at an early stage is the real key to success in managing absence in the workplace.

Many employers are reluctant to manage absence, but it’s really important to take control of any attendance issues. The costs of absence are high and failure to address problems impacts on everyone in the business.

Simple ‘crack-downs’ have been found to be counter-productive, but attendance control appears to work, however, where it is part of a wider set of measures.

Tackling absence is not always straightforward. Absences come in many different forms, may be of varying durations and come about for a variety of reasons. Employers have to develop a range of proportionate responses. There is no one ‘right’ way of going about it, but any actions taken by the employer must always be fair and reasonable. Inappropriate or discriminatory action can lead to expensive legal settlements.