Understanding Absence Management

August 8, 2023

Absences are inevitable, especially in these recent years when there are various pandemics and other disasters. Also unlike automated machines, people occasionally get emergencies to deal with and sometimes they just need time off to refresh. Absence management involves all those systems that address employees’ absences from work. 

Although absence management programs vary from one organisation to another, it is important to have a basic understanding of how to manage absence in the workplace and the general principles behind it, its benefits as well as strategies that can be used to maintain it. So, to learn how to manage absence at work you’d want to thoroughly read through this article for more insights. 


What is The Meaning of Absence Management And How Does it Work? 

Why is it Beneficial to Manage Absence in The Workplace? 

Why Do Most Companies Fail at Maintaining a Successful Absence Management Program? 

Top 3 Strategies For Successful Absence Management 


What is The Meaning of Absence Management And How Does it Work? 


What is absence management? 

How to manage absenteeism in the workplace is a question worth asking. Absence management also known as leave management, is a term used to define the effective policies and processes of tracking, monitoring, and supervising employee absences to reduce absenteeism in the workplace. The main aim of this program is to improve employee well-being by permitting them to take absences when needed, at the same time reducing the impacts of employee absence on the company thereby ensuring that it continues to function smoothly. 

Some of the key components of successful absence management include establishing a straightforward policy addressing types of absences permitted by the organisation, the process of getting an absence from work re-shifting workloads where necessary, and also supporting employees on their off days.

Why is it Beneficial to Manage Absence in The Workplace?  


The Importance of Absence Management 

How to manage employee absence might be a basic topic however managing absence in the workplace is important for various reasons :

Keeping track and having full knowledge of all employee absences as well as when they’re expected to report back to work can help employers to make well-informed workforce choices. For instance, the employer will be able to maintain normal workflow by rearranging shifts well on time and arranging cover for the absent employee, as such minimising disruptions and lack of productivity. 

A good absence management program goes a long way in enhancing and maintaining productivity and efficiency within the organisation. Employee absences often lead to delays in project delivery as such sometimes there’s a need to shift rearrangements or to assign their work to the remaining employees which can make it harder to meet deadlines due to extra workload, slow delivery, and decreased productivity in the workplace. 

Allowing employees to take absences whenever it’s necessary, showing support on their leaves as well as on their return helps to improve employee health and well-being in the workplace thereby maintaining a positive and supportive work environment.

Moreover, an effective absence management policy can properly record and monitor employee absences and the reasons behind such absences. Over time, this record can help you identify unique trends in your workforce as a result helping you to establish proactive steps aimed at enhancing healthy work culture and employee experience in the workplace. 

Why Do Most Companies Fail at Maintaining a Successful Absence Management Program? 


Why most organizations fail to maintain effective absence management 

Some organisations struggle with how to manage staff absence but implementing and maintaining a proper absence management system is important because of the following reasons :

  • Lack of resources in place to record and track employee absences effectively. 
  • Not being able to establish a proper balance between permitting employees to take leaves and ensuring that the company runs smoothly. 

Top 3 Strategies For Successful Absence Management 


Strategies to maintain effective absence management programs 

1. There should be a clear and easy-to-understand absence management policy

The organisation has to make sure that there is a proper policy in place, outlining all the important points regarding employee absences. It should dictate all the relevant procedures to be followed to take days off. For instance; it should outline how the administration process absence, payment arrangement during absence and how data for absences is used by the employers.

2. Establish a culture that values work-life balance 

There’s a growing trend of organisations investing in the well-being and health of their employees. They do this by implementing various employee wellness programs and activities the likes of health educational workshops, free gym subscriptions, mental health training, healthy snacks and so much more. Effective wellness programs can help in improving employee morale, loyalty and productivity thereby increasing organisational success. 

3. Invest in technology that can effectively monitor absence in the workplace. 

Organisations need to get technology such as software and applications that can be used to properly record, monitor and analyse the data gained from employee absences. 


What is the role of HR in Absence Management? 

The HR department is responsible for workday absence management. Some of their roles include establishing policies outlining processes involving absences, monitoring employee absences and improving employee wellbeing. Moreover, HR is responsible for carrying out any disciplinary actions related to excessive absences. 

What is the Difference between Absence and absenteeism?

Absence generally refers to any time that an employee is off work, regardless of whether it’s planned or not. On the contrary, absenteeism defines unplanned absences, and it often carries a negative connotation.

What benefits are available for employees during the absence of leave? 

It all depends on the type of Absence and the companies. This is because some companies give their employees paid time off (PTO) for any type of leave, whereas others only offer it for planned absences. 

Who regulates payments and other benefits during absence from work? 

There are different bodies tasked to regulate laws applying to absence from work. These too differ from one country to another. The Fair Labor Standards Act (FLSA) creates the minimum standards for employee wages and hours, including some regulations on leaves. Also, the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA) gives employees absence for some medical and family reasons. 

Having an efficient absence management program in place not only benefits employees but also enhances business success. It reduces retention, and absenteeism at the same time improving productivity and employee satisfaction. It also boosts the organisation’s good reputation. So organisations need to work hard in maintaining effective absence management systems.