While working in an office, various errands can come up at a personal front, which might require the employee’s attention and make it difficult for them to come to the office. While there is nothing wrong with taking occasional authorised absences from work due to some important work, it becomes a problem when these absences become so much that they affect the employee’s productivity. In these cases, management needs to take some action to manage and reduce these absences, and an absence management system is a step in that direction. Read on to know more about absence management methods and their importance.


What is an absence management system?

Why is absence management important?

Types of absences from work

· Authorised absence

· Unplanned absence

· Unauthorised absence

What are the Absence Management methods?

· Absence management policy

· Absence management software

· Absence management data

· Conduct interviews

· Absence management training

· Embrace flexible working hours


What is an Absence management system?



Absence management is a system employers use to reduce employee absenteeism during working hours. The employee’s absence can be due to various reasons, like, illness, vacation, or family reasons, and can affect the workforce’s productivity. Therefore, the absence management system is designed to manage excessive or unnecessary employee absenteeism with the help of company policies, procedures, or programs. The system also helps to manage and record absences for accurate payroll processing.

Why is absence management important?



Employee absenteeism does not only cause a loss in productivity and results in both direct and indirect costs to the business. Frequent absences of employees can result in workplace disruption as the other employees may find this unfair and be against the idea of covering the absent employee’s work. However, an efficient absence manager process helps monitor both planned and unplanned absences and helps prevent them as much as possible, thus increasing the work productivity.

Types of absences from work



There are different types of absences from work that exist. While some types of absences are important, others can be problematic if not managed correctly.

Authorised absence

An authorised absence is where an employer has permitted an employee to be away from work for a specific time period. Some commonly authorised absences are – Personal absence, Annual absence, Vacation Days, Bereavement absence, Maternity and paternity absence, Jury Duty, etc.

Unplanned absence

An unplanned absence is when an employee has to miss work due to an unpredicted reason. Some common unplanned absences are – sickness, mental ill-health, parent or childcare, injury, emergency absence, etc.

Unauthorised absence

An unauthorised absence is where an employee takes time off from work without informing anyone in the office or takes off even when they were denied permission. While a couple of such absences can be ignored, if unauthorised absences become regular, management needs to look into the issue and take some disciplinary action. Some common unauthorised absences are – coming late and unauthorised absence.

What are the Absence Management methods?



Organisations must handle sensitive situations where employees take too many unauthorised absences. Below are some Absence Management methods that can help the organisation manage and reduce employee absenteeism during working hours.

Absence Management Policy

Just like each organisation has its own policies, standards, and practices, the absence management policy of every company is also different. However, every organisation should have a clear absence management policy explaining employees’ rights and responsibilities when absent from work. The policy should provide a clear and coherent process to help an absence manager deal with absence and let employees know about the Absence Management process. The Absence Management Policy must cover everything related to absence management, so there is no confusion when the employee is to take the absence. If your organisation does not have an absence Management Policy, you can use any Absence Management Policy template available online.

Absence Management software

An absence management software in the UK can help you to understand the causes of absences and subsequently help you to reduce these cases. The software helps to record absences, identify the reasons for absences and evaluate the data for underlying trends.

Absence management data

To find the real reason behind employee absences, organisations need to collect data about the reasons for employee absences and act accordingly. This data can be collected through absence Management software and anonymous surveys, which can help get an idea about the thought process of the employees.

Conduct interviews

Once an employee returns from a long absence from the office, a return-to-work interview must be conducted in which the management must follow a compassionate and humane approach to talk to the employee about their reason for absence. This will not only help the management to find the various causes of absences and work towards reducing them but will also deter employees from taking unnecessary absences.

Absence management training

Although absence Management is the primary HR domain, the absence Management system can be much more effective if line managers are also trained to act like absence managers. These managers can then talk to the employees and find the reasons behind their absence.

Embrace flexible working hours

If your company does not require employees to be physically present in the office to complete their work, then you should consider flexible working hours. Employees often call in sick from the office because they have errands to run at home. Giving the employees the option to work from home can help to reduce these absences.


How many absences are allowed at work?

There is no legal limit on the number of absences allowed at work in the UK. Each company has its policy; however, before taking an absence, the employee must take permission from their seniors and let them know why they are absent. Of course, if an employee takes too many absences, disciplinary action can be taken against them.

Does authorised absence affect attendance?

Yes, authorised absence affects attendance as each employee gets a set number of absences, which they can use in a year.

What if I remain absent without informing my seniors?

If you remain absent for a long time from work without informing your seniors, you can be terminated. Therefore, you should inform your seniors as soon as possible about why you took the absence.

How to calculate absence cost?

The absence cost is calculated by (Average Revenue Per Employee x Average Sick Days) + (Average Salary x Average Sick Days)

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Dealing with the loss of a loved one can be a difficult time for anyone as it can take a toll on one’s physical, mental, and emotional health. The death of a family member does not only require one time to grieve but also to take care of finances and funeral arrangements.

It is difficult for an employee to focus on their work responsibilities during such a difficult time. Therefore, to show their compassion towards the employees, companies should provide them leave for bereavement as a part of company benefits.

Read on to know more about bereavement leave, its benefits, and whether it is obligatory by law.


What is Bereavement Leave?

How does bereavement leave work?

Is bereavement leave required by law?

How long can bereavement leave be in the UK?

Why do employers offer bereavement leave?

When can we apply for bereavement leave?

What is the difference between bereavement leave and compassionate leave?


What is Bereavement Leave?



The leave for bereavement is a temporary paid time off granted by the employer to an employee in the case of the death of a close family member, relative, or friend.

The paid leave for bereavement gives the employees time to grieve the death of their close ones and heal at their pace without stressing about their office work.

There is no statutory leave for bereavement in the UK. Although companies usually provide three days of paid leave to the employees to show their care, it is not a compulsory leave policy as different companies have different policies for paid leave for bereavement.

How does bereavement leave work?




If the company offers compassion leave for bereavement, the employee needs to connect with the company HR to find out how much time they get. They should also find out which situations qualify for bereavement leave.

If an employee leaves early after being notified of the death, that day will not come under bereavement leave from work. The pay for this period is calculated based on the base pay rate at the time of leave, and it will not include different types of compensations, like bonuses, incentives, commissions, etc.

If the company does not offer leave for bereavement, the employee can take their other paid or unpaid leaves with the permission of their supervisor.

However, if the company provides this leave, the employee must go through their bereavement leave policy to understand its objective, eligibility, procedures, and scope. Doing this can help them be better prepared if they might have to take bereavement leave from work in the future.

Is bereavement leave required by law?



There are currently no laws regarding bereavement leave in the UK till 2021, which means companies are under no obligation to provide paid leave for bereavement to their employees.

However, the Employment Rights Act 1996 gives employees the right to take unpaid leave following the death of a dependent. The dependent could include a spouse, partner, child (under 18 years) or a dependent person.

If eligible under Parental bereavement leave, parents who have suffered the loss of a child (under 18 years) or have had a stillborn can take two weeks of paid leave.

Even though compassionate leave for bereavement is not legally required in the UK, many companies provide these leaves depending on an employee’s situation.

How long can bereavement leave be in the UK?

When it comes to how long bereavement leave can be in the UK, they are granted by an employer for a reasonable time and are usually given at their own judgment, depending on the situation.

Details of what qualifies for bereavement leave and how much time off for bereavement can be taken are usually described in the employment contracts or a staff handbook.

If nothing like this is mentioned, the employee must discuss the situation with HR.

In case of the absence of leave for bereavement policy, the employee can take sick leave for bereavement.

Why do employers offer bereavement leave?



Companies have bereavement leave for employees because they understand how difficult it can be for employees to work when they have lost a close one.

In such an event of grief, people are not in a physical and mental state to function, leave alone work.

By offering leave for bereavement to employees, companies send a message to staff that they are with them in the moment of grief.

Employees can take leave to come to terms with the loss and carry out arrangements related to the death.

Although companies are under no obligation to provide bereavement leaves, providing them can show the staff that the company understands their position and is with them in a difficult time. Providing bereavement leave can help employees feel respected and valued in the company and thus help the company retain and attract talent.

When can we apply for bereavement leave?



Employees can apply for bereavement leave after the death of a close one.

While almost all companies provide bereavement leave when a parent dies, many companies also offer bereavement leave for a grandparent, uncle, mother-in-law, father-in-law, and others.

As a miscarriage can also impact an individual’s physical and emotional health, companies also provide bereavement leave here too.

Although the law does not require leave for bereavement in the UK, companies understand that people not only grieve the death of someone to whom they are related by blood but also many shares an emotional bond with people and pets. Therefore, many companies also provide bereavement leave for pets.

So, no matter your loss and whether or not it is mentioned in your company policy, you must talk to your HR and let them know about the situation and see what can be done regarding leave.

What is the difference between bereavement leave and compassionate leave?



While both the terms are often used interchangeably, bereavement leave is for taking time off after the death of a close one, while compassion leave can also be taken to care for a close one.

Like leave for bereavement, compassionate leave is also not a requirement under the law of the UK, and companies can provide them based on the employee’s situation.


How do I ask for bereavement leave?

When taking a leave for bereavement, check your company’s paid leave for bereavement policy and follow your company’s guidelines.

In the case of the unfortunate event of the passing of a loved one, notify your employer as soon as possible so you can get time for healing without hampering the workflow of your employer.

Determine how much leave for bereavement you need to get some control over things around you, at least.

Next, put your leave for bereavement application in writing after discussing it with your supervisor and complete all the required paperwork.

How much time off can I get for bereavement in the UK?

Most companies give bereavement leave of three to five days.

If the company has a bereavement leave policy, the number of days is mentioned in the employment contracts or a staff handbook. If nothing like this is mentioned, the employee must discuss the situation with HR.

What if my employer does not offer bereavement leave?

If your employer does not offer bereavement leave, employees can take sick leave for bereavement or other unpaid leave.

Do I have to show proof of bereavement?

Most companies do not need the employees to show proof of bereavement. However, some can ask for an obituary note of the deceased.

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With home and now hybrid working part of the new reality, increased absence due to the endemic Covid-19 variants, and the threat of industrial action targeted at disrupting commuters, having a good, trustworthy, and intuitive leave management system has never been so important.

Failure to implement such a plan can have unfortunate consequences on your administrative overhead, staff morale and productivity, and ultimately your bottom line. There might also be legal issues. With all that in mind, let’s look at some of the problems you could face.

Increased costs

Inefficiently executed management tasks result in increased costs. For example, using standard spreadsheet tools or other outdated systems to keep track of leave will inevitably result in errors and wasted time. In addition, it is often difficult for line managers to track who is on leave and staff availability, especially when the HR department doesn’t have instant access to relevant and accurate information.

Failing to plan to ensure that adequate staff is available to meet critical deadlines can result in severe financial penalties, customer dissatisfaction, and lost business opportunities. It can also lead to increased stress levels and reduced productivity.

Reduced employee engagement and morale

Inaccurate holiday tracking can have disproportionate effects and employee engagement and morale. In addition, manual systems are inevitably error-prone and can lead to misunderstandings between staff and their line managers. In such situations, leave requests could be denied unjustifiably. Individuals might lose track of the leave they have due, and disputes might arise that require HR intervention, all of which are time-consuming, costly, and demotivational.

These problems could all be avoided by the application of a staff holiday planner that, at the very least, would ensure that everybody has access to up-to-date, accurate information.

Excess overtime and employee burnout

As we have mentioned, poor leave management can result in insufficient staff during critical periods. The potential implications are far further reaching than might meet the eye. Inevitably remaining staff will be required to work longer hours to achieve deadlines. Extra overtime probably leads to increased overheads, staff who are already working hard suddenly faced with being expected to work even harder could find it difficult to cope. Such pressures could lead to increased levels of stress and anxiety.

Ultimately vulnerable individuals could be facing burnout with long-term consequences to the employee and the business. You should also consider the possibility that by placing excessive pressure on your staff, you open yourself up to legal issues such as being taken to a tribunal by an employee with constructive dismissal claims.

Increased staff turnover

If the business cannot implement accurate holiday tracking using an up-to-date staff holiday planner, then the implication is that it cares little for the welfare of its staff. Undervaluing your employees is a sure-fire way to anger them, which could lead them to question why they work for you. Such discontent can spread quickly through a workforce, resulting in increased discontent and staff turnover.

Increased staff turnover might be the severest penalty of all those we have mentioned. It can impact every aspect of the business, including the effectiveness of your workforce, poor customer satisfaction, and high recruitment and training costs. Often it is the best talent that can readily find opportunities elsewhere; thus, you could be losing the most talented members of your team.

A stitch in time saves nine

A stitch in time saves nine; in other words, taking early action can avoid subsequent catastrophe. In addition, by implementing a state-of-the-art leave management system, you can avoid a range of issues with their resultant penalties.

LeaveWizard might be the perfect solution. It is easy to implement, readily tailored to your specific needs and environment, and accessible remotely to all your staff.

Part-time workers enjoy the same benefits of statuary sick pay (SSP) as do full-time workers. Therefore, managing employee absence for part-time staff is essentially no different from standard absence management for full-time staff, but there are some provisos. For instance, you need to understand the difference between part-time workers, workers on zero-hours contracts, and agricultural workers.

Government regulations on SSP

To qualify for SSP, employees must satisfy various criteria, namely:

· They must be employed under an employment contract

· Earn a minimum of £123 a week on average

· Have been absent due to illness for at least four consecutive normal working days

These rules apply to both full-time and part-time workers. They all enjoy the same SSP benefits of a minimum of £95.35 a week, which is paid for up to 28 weeks. Payment is not adjusted pro-rata for the number of hours employees’ work. Everybody on a contract receives the same statutory amount, subject to tax and national insurance.

SSP for workers and zero-hours contracts

With a zero-hours contract, the employer is not obliged to provide the employee with any minimum number of working hours. According to the UK Office for National Statistics, approximately 900,000 workers are on such contracts.

However, zero-hour contract workers are entitled to SSP as long as they have carried out some paid work for the employer and have earned on average £123 a week over the previous eight weeks. If they fulfil these criteria, they are entitled to the same benefits as any other contracted worker, £95.35 a week for 28 weeks.

According to the TUC, around a third of zero-hours contract workers don’t qualify for SSP because they don’t earn the minimum required average wage of £123 a week.

SSP (ASP) for agricultural workers

Agricultural workers receive significantly different sick pay than non-agricultural workers. Rather than receiving SSP, they receive ASP, which is equivalent to the minimum agricultural pay rate for their contracted hours for the days they are off sick after the first three days. This applies equally to full and part-time workers. ASP includes their SSP entitlement. However, to qualify for ASP, workers must have worked for the same employer for at least 12 months. The number of weeks over which workers can claim ASP depends on the number of years the individual has worked. It is based on a sliding scale of 13 weeks for one to two years of employment up to 26 weeks for five years and more.

A brief history of sick pay

Although £95.35 a week of sick pay is unlikely to pay all your bills, workers were lucky to receive sick pay at all in the past. The government introduced SSP in April 1983 as part of the Social Security Act. SSP replaced contributory sickness benefit funded by National Insurance. Initially, SSP was paid for the first eight weeks of sickness only.

Although the Social Security Act meant that employers rather than the government must pay SSP, employers could reclaim the money from the government. However, that changed in 1991 with the Statutory Sick Pay Act, reducing the amount employers could recover, though small employers could claim it all.

In April 2014, the government changed the rules – from that date, the Percentage Threshold Scheme (PTS), which stated the amount of SSP employers could recover, was abolished. As a result, employers with more than 250 employees can no longer reclaim SSP.

Keeping track of sick leave with Leave-Wizard

While you can record and track sick pay using a spreadsheet, this method is too time-consuming and subject to human error for most employers. A far better solution is to use a staff holiday planner such as Leave-Wizard, which incorporates an advanced management system.

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Among the many things to come out of last year’s work from home and remote worker trend is an increased use of online spreadsheets. With more and more people working from home or participating in hybrid work environments, online spreadsheets were an easy way for anyone adept at Excel to share data with the rest of their sales team and make business operations much more streamlined and efficient. But online spreadsheets are still spreadsheets and they do have some limitations that many workers are beginning to realise as they look for an alternative solution that works for other aspects of their businesses such as leave management and payroll.

With that in mind, we are going to take a look at some of the advantages and disadvantages of online spreadsheets and see why they can’t do it all:

Advantages Of Online Spreadsheets

Online Spreadsheets Are Free- for most businesses, spreadsheet software is readily available and free. Whether you use Microsoft Office and Excel or you use G-Suite and Google Sheets, if you have an internet connection, you can access an online spreadsheet.

Online Spreadsheets Are Easy To Use- one of the best aspects of online spreadsheets is that they require minimal training to use and become skilled at. Outside of creating complicated formulas, recording information on an online spreadsheet is quite simple.

Disadvantages Of Online Spreadsheets

Online Spreadsheets Are Difficult To Share Internally- despite being online and easy to use, online spreadsheets are still difficult to share internally.

Online Spreadsheets Are Easy To Share Externally- as difficult as they are to share internally, online spreadsheets are surprisingly easy to share externally. This could easily lead to data breaches, unauthorised sharing of a private document, or data theft.

Errors And More Errors- a recent university study showed that online spreadsheets have an error rate of 88%.

No Easy Data Visualisation- another drawback of online spreadsheets is that there is no easy data visualisation. While you can create charts and graphs in spreadsheets, it is such a difficult process that many people skip the visuals altogether.

Online Spreadsheets Are Unsuitable For Effective Leave Management

As you can see, online spreadsheets do have their limitations and that makes them unsuitable for effective leave management tasks. Fortunately, there is a solution. LeaveWizard is an effective leave management platform that can save your business both time and money and increase the efficiency of your leave management tasks.

Contact LeaveWizard

To learn more ways that LeaveWizard can save your business or organisation time, contact LeaveWizard today and see how our innovative platform can save your company or organisation time and money.

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