Let’s Talk About Absence Management

Got a member of staff who is constantly off work?

We know that everyone needs a day off of work here and there. Illness, bereavement, or family emergencies can’t be avoided. But what should you do when a member of staff has incredibly high levels of absence?

Today on the blog, we’re discussing absence management. How to manage absences and how to talk to your staff about it.

What is absence management?

Absence management is pretty much what it says on the tin – It’s the management of  your staff being away from their place of work.

It might sound incredibly boring, but it is important, not only for the business, but for other staff members and for the staff member who is always absent, too.

It’s all very well and good having a good team of staff, but if there is always one missing link, things can start to go wrong. Vital pieces of work start to slip through the net. On top of that, other members of staff might then become under pressure to carry out the missing person’s tasks, and consequently take absence themselves. It can also become a real problem for the person who is repeatedly off of work. Why? Because they can fall behind, miss out on vital learning experiences, training, and can feel overwhelmed when returning to work.

Thus, it is important to manage absences effectively to ensure it doesn’t have a domino effect on the organisation.


How Can You Manage Absences?

Well, we’ve tried to make it as simple as possible. Here, we’ve outlined some tips:

  • From the get-go, let your staff know – Outline information about absence in their working contract. This way there is no confusion about absence from the beginning.
  • Keep a note of all absences – this way you have proof to show to employee that their absence rate is too high.
  • Be professional – discuss absence only with the absentee, their private business should be kept private. Even when their actions begin to negatively effect other members of the team, stay professional and respect all members of staff.
  • When staff come back to work, ensure they complete back to work forms. This way you can keep a track of their absences, but it is also an opportunity for you to discuss what they have missed during their time off. Kind of like a briefing before they fire back into the work.

How Should I Talk To My Staff About Absences?

  • If it’s a rare occurrence that the member of staff is off, let it slide. Welcome them back and make sure they’re fit to work.
  • Be firm but fair – if the absence is constant, explain to the member of staff why their absence is unacceptable and how it is affecting the business. Allow them to discuss it with you too, and listen to their side of the story.
  • Set out a plan of action – not necessarily and ultimatum or anything threatening towards your member of staff. If they’ve been off multiple times in the past three months, explain that you would like them to have no days off in the coming three months. Set small, achievable goals. If you say 6 months, or a year, this is unattainable as there is a high chance they may become unwell, or have an emergency they need to attend to. Small steps often see the biggest changes.


How do you manage absences? Do you have a plan in place? Do you discuss levels of absence with your staff? Let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

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