The long and the short of it


Employee absences considerably impact the productivity of a company, and not all kinds of leave are created equal. Here’s a quick guide to understanding ‘the long and the short’ of long and short term leave.

Short term absences

Companies are not typically particularly negatively impacted by employees taking normal, short term leave – especially if it is planned. Properly scheduled short term leave, and the odd sick day here and there are part and parcel of running a business. But unscheduled leave, and recurring, short term sick leave do tend to represent more of a problem to a company. In such cases, proper action has to be taken. The following are some pointers to assist in managing short term absenteeism:

·         Check the frequency of unscheduled leave and sick leave taken by your employees. Is it excessive?

·         Determine whether the employee had notified the supervisor in advance before taking that leave. Was enough notice given?

·         Assess the impact the absence of the employee is having on the business. The Bradford Factor is a useful tool.

·         Meet with the employee, and find out the reasons for their absenteeism. Do you need to take action?

·         Inform all employees of the consequences in cases of continued absenteeism, and follow up on enforcing your policies.

Long term absences

Long term absenteeism becomes much more of a liability for companies in the long run if not properly managed. Employees do occasionally need to take longer term leave for situations like marriage, long vacations, and long term illness and so on. It is therefore important for a company to have a long term absence policy. The following are key considerations for long term absenteeism:

·         Review the duration and nature of long term employee absence.

·         If it is sick leave, then ask for medical records to be furnished as evidence.

·         Meet with the employee and check whether there is any internal issue that is the cause of them taking long term leave. Take action if necessary to improve the situation.

·         Educate the employee about the impact their absenteeism is having on the business, and ensure they are aware of the company policies in place.

Check out what Mitrefinch Absence Management can do to help you tackle these issues.