Absence Management – Why Is It Important?

Absence Management – Why Is It Important?

Even your most perfect employee would miss work, some time or the other. It could be due to an illness, a family emergency or any other reason. It is very rare for any employee to never miss a day at work.

If one or two of your employees miss work, you may still be able to run your business smoothly. However, it could get extremely disruptive and costly if too many of your employees decided to miss work at once. You need absence management for preventing situations like these.

What is absence management?

Absence management is all about how you reduce employee absenteeism at work. You may need to put policies, procedures and strategies in place to reduce the number of people missing work due to illness, injury, or other reasons.

Absence management also involves having a system in place to record employee absences for accurate payroll processing.

Having policies and procedures to curb absenteeism is not enough unless it is effectively communicated to employees and managers. The HR team needs to play a proactive role in ensuring that these policies and procedures are properly implemented.

Why is absence management important?

According to a report, unscheduled absenteeism costs about £3,600 per year for an hourly worker and $2,660 for a salaried employee per year. The costs can be attributed to many factors, including wages, payment to replacement workers and administrative costs.

The total annual cost of lost productivity due to unscheduled absenteeism is different for different industries. The cost of unscheduled absenteeism in professional occupations, excluding doctors, nurses, and teachers, is roughly £24.2 billion per year. For the occupation of managers, the annual cost of lost productivity is around £15.7 billion per year.

It is quite evident that unplanned absenteeism has significant operational and financial implications. Besides creating financial problems, absenteeism also creates additional work, such as shift rescheduling, workload rearrangement, and more. More often than not, other workers need to pick up the slack for the absent worker. Putting in this extra effort could result in a dip in productivity, efficiency, employee engagement and burnout. Absence management could prevent all these and also minimize the financial implications of employees missing work.

What are the best strategies for absence management?

Managing different kinds of absences can be a challenge. However, with an effective absence management system, you can efficiently manage your company’s schedule. You can give employees the necessary time off without affecting your productivity levels.

For effective absence management, you need the following:

A well-defined absence management policy

Your absence management policy should make it clear to your employees how absences would be managed. A well-defined policy must provide the following information:

–       When and how do you need to inform your supervisor.

–       How your absence is processed from a scheduling and administrative perspective.

–       What are the payment arrangements in case of an absence.

–       Disciplinary actions that may be taken in case of unplanned absences.

Your absence management policy should also offer options such as “work from home” or “flexi-work” to reduce absences. It should also inform employees how an absence is recorded and how the data is used. The policy should also help employees to re-engage in work, especially after a long absence.

Allow remote work and flexible hours

Having a robust “remote work” and “flexible hours” policy can also significantly reduce how often your employees miss work. Many times employees take a day off because their babysitter did not turn up or because they had an important errand to run. By allowing employees to work flexible hours or to work from home, they can easily take care of their personal and professional responsibilities together.

Of course, the possibility of remote work or flexible hours depends on the industry you work in. In jobs where the employee needs to be physically present, such an arrangement may not be possible. However, for other jobs, this could be a good way to reduce absenteeism.

Using absence management software

An absence management software can make absence management a lot easier. AnnualLeave.com’s leave management software can track and manage all kinds of leaves, including annual leave and other holiday/s. You can use it to define what an absence looks like and keep track of all requests and approvals.

Besides recording absences, it can also help you understand the cause of these absences and analyse the data for any patterns or trends. Say, you want to check which department has the highest number of absences. Your absence management software can get that information for you in just a few seconds.

Implementing an absence management software also allows accurate payroll processing and rescheduling work more efficiently. You will be able to deal with unauthorized absences more easily, increasing productivity and driving engagement among your employees.


You are paying your employees for their work. So, it is important to know who’s coming to work and who’s not. You can streamline this initiative with the right policies, procedures and tools in place.

About the Author

AnnualLeave is a leading employee leave management tool on the market, lifting the HR headache by cutting request processing times, monitoring leave trends, and maintaining company compliance all with one user-friendly, affordable self-service app. For more information you can get in touch with one of our team via our online form or email at sales@annualleave.com.

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