Employee absenteeism - Absenteeism is of two types



Employee Absenteeism is the absence of an employee from work. Its a major problem faced by almost all employers of today. Employees are absent from work and thus the work suffers. Absenteeism of employees from work leads to back logs, piling of work and thus work delay. There are various laws been enacted for safeguarding the interest of both Employers and Employees but they too have various constraints.

Absenteeism is of two types -
  • Innocent absenteeism - Is one in which the employee is absent from work due to genuine cause or reason. It may be due to his illness or personal family problem or any other real reason
  • Culpable Absenteeism - is one in which a person is absent from work without any genuine reason or cause. He may be pretending to be ill or just wanted a holiday and stay at home. The employers have got every right to enquire as to why an employee is absent from work. If an employee is absent because of illness he should be able to produce a doctor's letter as and when demanded.
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    New York, 2012: An average of three in ten employees apply for a sick leave when not actually ill, with some giving unusual excuses like their dog having a nervous breakdown to they themselves suffering from a broken heart, a new survey says. 
As per the survey conducted by US-based human capital services provider Careerbuilder, 30% of workers have called in sick when not actually ill in the past year. The sick days, legitimate or otherwise, also become more frequent around the winter holidays, with nearly one-third of employers reporting more employees call in sick during the holiday season, the survey found. At the same time, 29 per cent of employers have checked up on an employee to verify that the illness is legitimate, usually by requiring a doctor's note or calling the employee later in the day. 17 per cent of employers have fired employees for giving a fake excuse, Careerbuilder said. 

The most unusual excuses given by the employees calling in sick included the employee's sobriety tool not allowing the car to start, the worker forgetting he had a job, his or her dog having a nervous breakdown and the employee's dead grandmother being exhumed for a police investigation.

The survey was conducted across the US by research firm Harris Interactive on behalf of Careerbuilder and covered nearly 2,500 human resource professionals and around 4,000 workers across industries and company sizes. The survey further found that 31 per cent of employers notice more number of leaves by employees for the reason sickness in winter holidays.  December is the most popular month to call in sick, with 20 per cent saying their employees call in the most during that month. July is the next most popular month to skip out on work, followed by January and February, it said. 

The study said that next to actually being sick, the most common reasons employees call in sick are because "they just don't feel like going to work (34%), or because they felt like they needed to relax (29 %)." Others take the day off so they can make it to a doctor's appointment (22 %), catch up on sleep (16 %), or for a  short and quick trip to accomplish a specific purpose, as to buy something, deliver a package, or convey a message,often for someone else.(15 %). 



There are various reasons for Employees to remain absent from work -

Reasons from the side of organisation
  1. Lack of satisfaction from present work
  2. Poor working conditions
  3. longer working hours
  4. Dominating Boss & Seniors
  5. Non Cooperating peers
  6. Higher expectation
  7. No growth prospects in present Company
  8. Excess Work Stress
Reasons from the side of employee
  1. bad health condition of employee or his family members like spouse, children and parents.
  2. family concern disputes and problems.
  3. on occasions of this family relatives.
  4. demise of close family members or relatives.
  5. appearing for examination if he is pursuing further education for career development or promotions.
  6. sometimes due to financial problems.
  7. going on vacation is visiting other places.
  8. exceeds number of late comings limit fixed by the organisation. (say for example, any organisations marks absent for an employee who comes late continuously for three times. For this reason most of employees gets absent if they were late to office for third time.)
  9. on the Day of sports events especially cricket.
what ever might be the reason for employee absent will affect the productivity of the organisation which in turn affects overall performance of the organisation if employee absenteeism is continuous. In this regard organisation must pay attention towards proper attendance of employees to the work.

Its the duty of employer to find out as to why his employee is absent.

Facts [+]
One in four American workers is seriously distressed about their personal financial situation, according to the report "Financial Distress Among American Workers". The study found nearly 80% of financially stressed workers spend time at their jobs dealing with money issues. Research shows that workers with money woes are less healthy and have higher rates of absenteeism.

The unintended costs associated with irregular schedules, night shifts and extended hours are eroding the profits of American businesses, according to a study by Circadian Technologies, Inc. The profit-eroding factors for businesses with shift operations include lower productivity, higher absenteeism, greater employee turnover, increased health care costs, and more job-related accidents.


Wrongful termination for unauthorised absenteeism

When an employee gets absent to work with out giving any intimation in advance or any information shall be treated as unauthorised absenteeism. Facts behind absent of employee may be genuine like having sudden health issues, any family issues or any family obligations which cannot be skipped. Before taking any decision on unauthorised absenteeism by employee, employer must know the facts or reasons which insisted employee get absent to work. If employee is terminated from job for the reason of unauthorised absenteeism without knowing any facts or reasons behind, shall be treated as wrongful termination.

Termination of employee without giving any chance to him explain or give reasons for his absent to work is against the Principles of Natural Justice. According to principles of natural justice, one should be given opportunity to explain before taking any decision against him. There is a famous principle  of natural justice is "Audi alteram partem"- Hear the other party or the rule of fair hearing or the rule that no one should be condemned unheard. According to this principle, before taking any decision against any person, one should have fair hearing and give opportunity to explain in his words, subsequently can come to decision.


48% Indians admit lying at work to catch sports

A recent global survey commissioned by US-based The Workforce Institute at Kronos Incorporated and conducted by Harris Interactive has revealed that Indians' love for cricket is so strong that they would happily and without guilt skip work to tune in to a game. As many as 1,000 adults participated in the online survey from India. Of these, 48% admitted to using sickness as an excuse to bunk work and watch cricket on TV.

Incidentally, it's not just Indians who are bunking work to catch sports action. The Chinese are doing it, too. In fact, China led all the surveyed regions with almost 58% of the respondents admitting they skipped work for their favourite sport. In their case, it was not cricket, but European football and basketball - a big craze in the country.

While two of the world's most populous countries showed their weakness for watching sports over attending work, the French displayed some resoluteness in this matter . Of the countries polled which included Australia, US, Canada, China, France, Great Britain, India, and Mexico -France was at the bottom of the survey, with just 1% Frenchmen admitting to having skipped work over sports

Interestingly, respondents also had some suggestions on how companies can cut down on such absenteeism. The most common one was that employers should allow flexible working hours and unpaid leaves and also introduce employee benefits like summer Fridays - letting employees work half-day on Fridays.