How to manage absence in the workplace with an efficient Absence Management system?

June 14, 2022

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 and answer questions such as “how many unauthorised absences are allowed from work”. 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)

How many unauthorised absences are allowed from work?

This will depend on your specific employment contract, the relevant laws within your country, and any specific business rules.

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