4 Ways to Improve Employee Attendance in Your Workplace

By Charles Power on April 12th, 2011

Dear Reader,

It’s one of the trickiest situations an employer can face…

When an employee is consistently late to work or takes frequent ‘sickies’.

Often, it seems like there’s not much you can do about it, because as much as you’d love to confront your employees who constantly take sick days – or even sack them for repeated absences – there are a number of laws you must abide by.

But you don’t need to just give in!

Instead of having to deal with the productivity sapping effects of sickies, you can improve employee attendance in your workplace with a few clever moves…

Check out Charles’ article below to find out what they are.

Until next time…

Claire Berry

Claire Berry
Workplace Bulletin

And now over to our editor-in-chief Charles Power…

Continues below…


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4 ways to improve employee attendance in your workplace
By Charles Power
Editor-in-Chief, Employment Law Practical Handbook

Employees who are consistently absent or late to work can cause more than a few headaches for you, not to mention your bottom line.

Absenteeism is a tricky issue for employers to deal with, but there are a few things you can try.

Here are 4 things you can do to improve employee attendance in your workplace:

1. Implement attendance expectations

For example, you can specify that your employees:

  • inform their manager directly of their absence (where possible);
  • phone their manager within a certain time-frame to advise why they are unable to make it to work, the nature of their illness and when they expect to return;
  • will be contacted when you have not heard from them about why they are absent; and
  • provide certain evidence that they are unfit for work i.e. a medical certificate or statutory declaration, in a certain way and in a certain time-frame.

Be careful though – under the personal/carer’s leave NES, employees must provide reasonable evidence as to why they cannot attend work. In some cases, such as single day absences that are not before or after a public holiday, it may be unreasonable for you to ask an employee to provide a medical certificate.

2. Monitor the reasons for the absence

Collecting data on the patterns of employee absence is essential to determining whether absenteeism is a problem in your workplace. Monitoring absence trends can assist you to:

  • identify if you have a problem with absence levels in your workplace;
  • categorise the type of absence that usually occurs in your workplace i.e. is it mainly Monday morning ‘sickies’ or cases of longer-term sickness?; and
  • highlight patterns in employee absence levels. For example, are absence levels higher in one particular team or at a specific time of year?

3. Carry out a return to work interview

A return to work interview will allow you to determine whether the employee is able to return to their duties and if modifications to their duties are required.

A return to work interview will also assist you in determining if there is any reason for disciplinary action to be considered. This may depend on the employee’s absence record, and any emerging pattern of absence.

4. Introduce flexible working practices

Helping employees achieve a balance between their work, family and lifestyle commitments by introducing work-life balance policies can assist in reducing absenteeism. In addition, introducing flexible work practices will ensure you meet your obligations under employment legislation.

For more tips on dealing with absenteeism in your workplace, check out chapter A1 Absenteeism in your Employment Law Practical Handbook.

Not yet a subscriber to the handbook? Click here to find out how it can benefit you and your business.


Charles Power

Charles Power
Employment Law Practical Handbook

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