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  • Dealing With Frequent Absences

    Absences from work cannot be avoided but most companies do have leeway when it comes to this kind of problem. There are excused leaves and there are unexcused leaves which are only dealt with by not giving salaries for the days the employee was absent, for so long as he/she has presented a valid reason for having been absent all of a sudden.

    Most companies also have sick leave benefits, complimentary leaves and some even have birthday leaves. Given all the options for accepted company leave, there are still some employees who cannot avoid being absent from work a lot of times.

    My question now is, how many unexcused absences can you tolerate as an employer? When do you say when its really over for an employee who keeps on having absences?

  • #2
    Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

    If an employee is having a lot of time off, in the past I've had a word with them in my office and asked what the problem is, and if there's anything I can do to help. This as happened on two occasions with two separate employees, and while one of them in the end I had to terminate his contract because it turned out he just didn't want to work, the other one was a totally different story.

    I noticed that every Monday and every Friday he was either late or rang in sick, and while a lot of people said he was just having long weekends I thought there was something other than that. When I asked him, reluctantly he explained that he was currently homeless after splitting up with his wife. The days he wasn't in work was because he had nowhere to stay the night before and as too ashamed to come to work without having a wash or anything, and if I hadn't have asked then he was too proud to tel me what was going on.

    I gave him 2 weeks paid holiday to try and sort his situation out, he did, and since then I don't think he's ever had a day off since and we're talking maybe 5 or 6 years ago. Even now he still says how much he appreciated what me and the business did for him, and even though we now have an agreement not to speak about it, he's an employee now that goes above and beyond and I know for a fact hes a person that I can now rely on.

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    • #3
      Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

      Well I can personally say that this has been an issue of frustration for me in almost every job that I have ever had. I am the employee who is always on time, stays late, and always shows up. I rarely take time off too, which is why it is so annoying seeing companies bend over for people and adjust to their schedules, yet have difficulty giving me time off when they know I need it. I had one job where someone mad significantly more than me and I was constantly doing her work because she was always gone. I could not take it anymore so I left that place, but I am sure that this happens a lot more than a lot of people may think, though. It is certainly a problem for employers, and I am curious to read other people's experiences with it. Thanks for sharing.

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      • #4
        Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

        In my long years of handling a unit ever since I was promoted as unit manager, I have encountered almost all kinds of absenteeism and latecomers. Our company is very strict with attendance. Coming in late 3 times in a month can cause a suspension. Being on sick leave for 3 consecutive days would require a medical certificate from the attending doctor. And frequent absences can be a reason for termination. I have maybe 3 subordinates who have resigned for that issue of excessive absences. Some others have transferred to other companies on their own accord. That may be the reason why I have memorized writing letters of suspension. I tell you, it is too difficult to reform a chronic latecomer and an employee who is sick of absenteeism.

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        • #5
          Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

          I think there should just be a clear set of rules with maybe a bit of allowance for special cases but not much more. That way it can be fair for all employees and nobody gets seen as being given special treatment. Additionally, ones who do go beyond these sets of rules will have something to see as proof of why they are being punished as they were the terms and conditions given to them when they signed up. In smaller businesses I think you could get away with being a little more loose with this but in big businesses I think it would be more advantageous for both parties to have a set of regulations that can be agreed upon.

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          • #6
            Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

            An employee should really avoid being late or absent unless it's absolutely necessary. Some companies are really strict about this rule and with good reason.

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            • #7
              Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

              Well from reading the replies then it looks like it's just me then that tries to find out what the issue is with that employee and I must admit I find that a bit disturbing that others don't. You might be the one that stays behind to finish your work, comes in early and on time every day and be the perfect employee, but what if you do go through some personal issues that mean you have to start taking time off? What if it's a personal issue that you feel you don't want others to know about? Would it be fair for me to suspend and then sack you just because all of a sudden after years of loyal service you are coming in late or absent more than you ever have been before?

              Some employees do take the p**s but you know as a business owner who is genuine and who is just pushing you to the limit, and I don't think it's fair to treat your good employees the same as those that you know are just pushing and bending the rules for their own convenience.

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              • #8
                Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

                Originally posted by pwarbi View Post
                If an employee is having a lot of time off, in the past I've had a word with them in my office and asked what the problem is, and if there's anything I can do to help. This as happened on two occasions with two separate employees, and while one of them in the end I had to terminate his contract because it turned out he just didn't want to work, the other one was a totally different story.

                I noticed that every Monday and every Friday he was either late or rang in sick, and while a lot of people said he was just having long weekends I thought there was something other than that. When I asked him, reluctantly he explained that he was currently homeless after splitting up with his wife. The days he wasn't in work was because he had nowhere to stay the night before and as too ashamed to come to work without having a wash or anything, and if I hadn't have asked then he was too proud to tel me what was going on.

                I gave him 2 weeks paid holiday to try and sort his situation out, he did, and since then I don't think he's ever had a day off since and we're talking maybe 5 or 6 years ago. Even now he still says how much he appreciated what me and the business did for him, and even though we now have an agreement not to speak about it, he's an employee now that goes above and beyond and I know for a fact hes a person that I can now rely on.
                Your story is such a beautiful example of a being a wonderful employer and leader to an employee. To think that you have made the extra effort of trying to find out the reason behind your employee's constant absenteeism makes you deserving of an good employer award, if only there are awards for good employers too.

                I really commend what you did for your employee. In return, he also paid back the second chance that was given to him by performing well as an employee and not repeating the mistake he did before.

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                • #9
                  Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

                  I personally have a policy where if they do not take any leave in the entire month other Sundays, then I would pay them 1 day extra salary in addition to the normal salary. So, if they are taking a holiday the 1 day extra salary goes and since I do not provide any paid leaves, another day goes on which they have taken a leave.

                  Due to this policy, most of the employees do not take any leave unless and until there is a medical emergency which they are facing in which case, they have no other alternative.

                  Due to this policy, the efficiency of the employees is always pretty high in my office.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

                    Originally posted by Dropshipping View Post
                    I personally have a policy where if they do not take any leave in the entire month other Sundays, then I would pay them 1 day extra salary in addition to the normal salary. So, if they are taking a holiday the 1 day extra salary goes and since I do not provide any paid leaves, another day goes on which they have taken a leave.

                    Due to this policy, most of the employees do not take any leave unless and until there is a medical emergency which they are facing in which case, they have no other alternative.

                    Due to this policy, the efficiency of the employees is always pretty high in my office.
                    It looks like you are one strict manager (or owner?). Sometimes it is better to be very strict than lax because the employees tend to abuse your kindness. When we had our computer supplies retailing business, one employee would take the half day off once in a while for her personal affairs - we didn't know that she would on dating a suitor. And even if we do not give vacation leave, absences with permission is not deducted from the salary. And in fairness to us, we sometimes declare a holiday for the employees to get a full rest of 1 week. We time it when business is slow and we inform our clients of such a one week holiday.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

                      Giving an incentive to employees that don't take any time off absent is quite common,but to actually punish them for doing so is going a bit too far in my opinion. As I said before, part of being a good employer is to recognise your good employees from the poor ones, and if an employee is taking a lot of time off then instead of punishing them in some way I'd rather have a sit down with them and find out what the reason is. Obviously if they haven't got a legitimate reason then the disciplinary procedure will then kick in, but to just automatically punish them without question is a bit too harsh and here in the UK i'm not even sure if that's even legal.

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                      • #12
                        Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

                        Originally posted by Corzhens View Post
                        It looks like you are one strict manager (or owner?). Sometimes it is better to be very strict than lax because the employees tend to abuse your kindness. When we had our computer supplies retailing business, one employee would take the half day off once in a while for her personal affairs - we didn't know that she would on dating a suitor. And even if we do not give vacation leave, absences with permission is not deducted from the salary. And in fairness to us, we sometimes declare a holiday for the employees to get a full rest of 1 week. We time it when business is slow and we inform our clients of such a one week holiday.
                        We have also experienced those kinds of employees who took advantage of our kindness to them. There was this particular employee whom we have given many chances for reformation but she never did. Every time we decide to let her go, she would always beg for us to give her a chance and we always do. But after some time she would go on committing absences without permission again. Her frequent unannounced absences has been greatly affecting us and our business because we had to be the ones to make the necessary adjustments on an impromptu basis. We have finally been so full of her excuses and decided to let her go for good. Now we have a really good employee who has taken over her position.

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                        • #13
                          Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

                          I would only tolerate one or two instances that have good reason behind it but further than that I'd have to stop giving consideration just to be fair to the other employees. The only exception I'd accept is if that employee brings in exponentially more profits to my business than all of the other employees which would therefore give me justification on why I would allow such special treatment, but otherwise if the results they put in are equal to the others then I would expect the effort to be the same with others as well.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

                            Originally posted by Corzhens View Post
                            It looks like you are one strict manager (or owner?). Sometimes it is better to be very strict than lax because the employees tend to abuse your kindness. When we had our computer supplies retailing business, one employee would take the half day off once in a while for her personal affairs - we didn't know that she would on dating a suitor. And even if we do not give vacation leave, absences with permission is not deducted from the salary. And in fairness to us, we sometimes declare a holiday for the employees to get a full rest of 1 week. We time it when business is slow and we inform our clients of such a one week holiday.

                            Yes you can call me a strict owner. I find that if I am lax, sooner then later employees start taking holidays just for the sake of it.

                            Also, I follow what I preach. I also do not take a holiday from my work. I am in office on sundays as well. 7 days a week and 12 hours a day(9 to 9), so they know that work load is there and therefore, holiday isn't a good idea and they also understand that this is why I am so strict.

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                            • #15
                              Re: Dealing With Frequent Absences

                              It might just be me, but aren't we going a bit off topic here? Absence from work due to sickness like we was talking about is entirely different to people taking annual leave though, so need to be treated as entirely separate things. It's one thing punishing people for taking to much time off for being sick, and even though I don't agree with it I can see why some business owners would do that, but to punish people for taking holidays that they are actually entitled to? Surely that's going too far in most peoples eyes?

                              i myself am in the office everyday of the week at some point to catch upon work and to get things done, but I wouldn't expect my employees to do the same. This is my business and so I'm going to be more dedicated to it as I know that the more work I get done, the better financially off I will be. For my employees who are getting a salary for doing their specific jobs, I wouldn't expect them to be as passionate as I am, and if they are entitled to an holiday then the last thing I am going to do is punish them for taking it, or make them feel guilty in anyway.

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