Making Absenteeism Absent From the Workplace
Ongoing and/or a great amount of employees not coming to work is a big problem at work. It is one of the most prevalent and frustrating issues that employers have to deal with. All employers know that sometimes employees cannot avoid missing work, bad attendance can create a lot of problems on the job. These problems include: low productivity, bad quality of work, low morale, low customer service rates, and low customer satisfaction. Most importantly, a high rate of employee absences has a big effect on the commitment between employees and their employers. The commitment that says employers pay employees in exchange for the work that they do.
Guilty or Not Guilty?
First of all, it is necessary to determine between the two key types of absences. In regards to the law, they can handle it in different ways.
1) At-Fault Absenteeism
This type of missing work takes place when an employee does not have a good reason for not being at work. Examples of this are when an employee does not get up when their alarm clock goes off or they call in sick and are not sick.
2) Innocent Absenteeism
This type of absence happens when an employee misses work for reasons that are out of their control. An example of this type of absence is when an employee cannot do their tasks at work due to being hurt or sick.
When an employer has to deal with at-fault absences, the proper action is discipline that gets worse with each step. The proper disciplinary response is based on certain circumstances. The circumstances include the employee’s overall employment record and how long they have worked for the company. They also include the nature and severity of the incidents and how situations like it in the past have been handled.
The most common type of absenteeism employers have to control is innocent absenteeism. Since the absence is not the fault of an employee, being disciplined is not the right course of action. Also, if the employee is missing work because of a disability, the employer has to follow the regulations under the human rights laws. They cannot discriminate against them and must do all they can to accommodate the employee’s disability.
Being in Charge of Innocent Absenteeism
To properly control innocent absenteeism on the job, employers need to have an attendance policy in place. Even though non-union and union regulations are different, these things should be a part of any attendance plan:
1) Announce Attendance Expectations
Even it may appear to be obvious, a clear and consistent message about coming to work on a regular and being on time for work is very important. These job requirements are essential to putting a stop to and controlling absenteeism.
2) Ask Appropriate Questions
All employees should be asked for information to explain why they missed work. If they missed work because of illness or injury, the employee should have to provide documentation from a doctor that shows their need to miss work. An employer can only ask for certain medical information under the law but the documentation should at least include:
– The information that proves a person cannot work due to medical reasons
– A possible date when the employee may go back to work (if possible,) and
– The accommodations an employee may need when the employee comes back to work.
3) Don’t Ignore the Dilemma
In a busy work environment, it can be easy to avoid problems with absences. It is important to ask for information from all employees to back up why they missed work. Doing this, tells employees that good attendance is expected and is essential. These requests also supply the employer with the information they need to determine the proper course of action.
4) Accommodate Any Affliction
Under the human rights law, an employer has to accommodate an employee’s disability, including disability-related absences up up to the point of undue hardship. The accommodation will be dependent on the information supplied by the employee’s doctor. The information may consist of:
– Temporarily or permanently waiving or modifying attendance expectations, or
– Modifying job duties or functions, or having the employee only working part-time
5) Is The Employee Indulging in Absences?
If it looks like the employee has a lot of absences, compare their attendance to a reasonable attendance standard. What is reasonable is based on the employee’s position and the workplace. For example, it could be the average attendance of others who work in the same position or like positions. Also, vacations or absences covered by contracts or legislation should be included.
6) Meet with the Employee
If the employee has excessive absences, the employer should have a meeting with them. They should discuss what they expect from them regarding attendance and tell them about the consequences that may happen if they do not meet the expectations in the future. These consequences can include the employee losing their job.
7) Consider if Termination is The Right Thing
If an employee continues to be absent after they have been warned and accommodations have been made for them, it may be time for the employer to think about letting the employee go. The employer does need to consider if the employee can file a wrongful dismissal claim and/or a discrimination complaint. An employee should only be let go if the employee has no reasonable prospect of regular attendance in the future. Also, after the employer has determined that reasonable accommodations will not improve an employee’s future attendance.
To sum it all up, properly controlling absences and improving attendance in the workplace requires consistency, patience, and carefully thinking about the necessary legal framework. The benefits of meeting the challenge of better productivity, morale, and lowering legal risks, are worth all of the work that is part of it.
Article provided by Neches FCU, an Equal Employment Opportunity Employer.
Neches FCU is one of the top Texas credit unions and has a superior team of professionals ready to provide services to all members. When its doors open at any of the 9 locations, the core goal of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction” becomes the imperative for every representative. They are respected for a personal, dynamic and positive work atmosphere, delivering a memorable service experience, and where all clients are known by name. Neches FCU has approx. $438 Million in assets with over 45,000 members. Neches is acknowledged by members and the business community as one of the top credit unions in Texas and an actively involved partner, helping our Family, Friends and Community!