Who’s responsible for dealing with absenteeism?
Often lawyers can get involved to help manage absenteeism by:
- Disciplining employees for not following applicable rules when they take personal/carer’s leave
- Disciplining employees taking personal/carer’s leave because the condition for exercising the right to take the leave did not exist (e.g. the employee took sick leave when he/she was not actually unfit for work due to illness or injury), or
- Managing the causes of the absenteeism (e.g. disability or impairment) consistent with legal requirements.
However, lawyers will not give you solutions to excessive absenteeism. This can only be achieved through affective human resource management.
Some of the solutions suggested include:
- Building good relationships, respect and trust between management and employees, which includes effectively dealing with underperformers and rewarding those behaviours that are desired
- Affording flexibility with working hours, the ability to work from home and varied leave options, which focus on work effectiveness rather than time worked
- Measures which achieve proper balance in work and personal lives, e.g. part time, flexi-time, staggered working hours etc.
- Reducing generous overtime provisions which may entice employees to call in sick on the days that they do not get paid overtime, whilst working those where they do