Employee absenteeism reduces efficiency and productivity, and it can have an impact on staff morale. If you’re looking for ways to lower rates of absenteeism at your company, first assess the scope of the problem.  For example, review payroll records to see how many people usually call in “sick” on the day before or after a holiday weekend.  If you use timecards for hourly employees, review those records and see how many people routinely clock in late or leave early. 

Then, take the necessary steps to address the problem.

Does your company have a written attendance policy? The company’s attendance policy should be part of the employee manual. It should be reviewed with all prospective employees by those doing the hiring in your company to make sure new hires recognize the importance of showing up at work on time.

Another useful tactic in lowering absenteeism is to conduct routine return-to-work interviews – a part of the company’s written attendance policy. These interviews should determine the cause of the absence and engage employees to determine if the absence was legitimate or not. Employees are less likely to take “mental health days” when they know they’ll undergo a return-to-work interview by HR.

Some companies employ flex-time scheduling and job sharing to lower absenteeism. Employees can create their own flex work schedules for medical appointments, or a family member’s school recital, as long as the work is done on time and correctly.

With job sharing, two employees perform a single job and divide up their approved hours to accommodate personal business. In this case, you know that someone is on the job when the other job sharer is out.

Maintain careful records of employee absences that can be used to address the problem of chronic absences or lateness clocking in. Employees should know what’s expected of them, and the company should have records to show under-performing employees.

The company’s absentee policies should apply equally to all employees, including managers and upper-tier executives.

Another tool used by some companies is to provide incentives for good work attendance. Praise those employees with good attendance records and reward them with incentives – an extra vacation day, a cash bonus, or a gift card – a tangible reward for a job well done. Make sure all employees recognize the value of good attendance, and provide incentives to keep that attendance record spotless.

Another valuable policy is to tie promotions to attendance. Emphasize the importance of a good attendance record and reward those who do the work with promotions from within. This can improve employee morale as your staff recognizes that a good attendance record can lead to a promotion and a bigger salary.

Finally, review your attendance policy with input from all staff members. Work with your employees to develop an attendance policy that takes into account blizzards, family emergencies, and other unanticipated reasons that make going to the office impossible. Your policy should be flexible within reason, recognizing that some absences are simply unavoidable.

Make your company absenteeism policy clear from the beginning, be consistent in implementing the policy, maintain detailed employee records, and ask for input from the entire staff to develop ways to keep the team in the game and the company on the go.


The information provided is presented for general informational purposes only and does not constitute tax, legal or business advice.