Absent employees not only impact on your ability to deliver goods and services to your clients, but also costs you thousands every year in lost productivity.
Don't hide from the problem any longer! Here are 5 handy tips on how to manage absenteeism in the workplace:
1. Clear Policies and Procedures
In addition to clear rules around absences from work being contained in your employment contracts, you should have very clear policies and procedures in the workplace, too. This doesn't have to be a 30 page document. Just some simple guidelines on:
a) by what time an employee needs to report that they will be absent;
b) to whom their absence is to be reported (i.e a manager or supervisor or other reliable person within the business - NOT a colleague in their team); and
c) how this report of absence is to be made (SMS text messages are often more effective than requiring a phone call).
Also, be sure to include guidelines on what employees should do if they do not have airtime available - make it clear to them that you will accept a 'please call me' but clearly state a time by which such a message is to be sent to you.
2. Back to Work Interviews
When your employee returns to work, have a quick 10 minute meeting with them to ascertain how they are doing and whether they may require any follow-up medical attention such as visits to a physio therapist or blood tests in 2 weeks perhaps. The aim here is to make it clear that you care about the well-being of your employee and want to ensure that they are fully recovered and able to return to their ordinary daily duties and tasks. If they do need follow-up treatment, you will know about it in advance and you can assist them with time off from work or with a temporary amendment to their duties and tasks.
3. Carefully Monitor Attendance Records
It is best that you keep a proper attendance register that records daily and weekly attendance. You could invest in high-tech biometric clocking systems or you could use a simple (free!) Excel template to record time and attendance in your various teams. Be mindful of patterns of absenteeism, such as a specific date every month or Mondays or Fridays or perhaps the days following pay-day. These are often red flags that either indicate that an employee has a chronic condition such as high blood pressure or diabetes and they are visiting a government medical facility, or it could signal an addiction problem such as alcohol, drugs or gambling.
4. Use the BCEA to your advantage
The BCEA allows for an employer to monitor the absences of their employees and, if an employee has been absent twice or more during a rolling 8 week period, to require a medical certificate for every single absence - even if it is just one day. A simple letter (available for free download from our store) can help you explain to an employee that you are monitoring their absenteeism and to explain the possibility of having to explore Incapacity due to Ill Health/Injury
5. Start the possible Incapacity Process early
There is no harm in convening a consultation meeting to explore and investigate whether an employee may be suffering from either temporary or permanent incapacity. There are many moving parts when dealing with potential incapacity, such as pension fund rules or the provisions of the WCA. The earlier you detect potential incapacity, the better for the employee and for your business.
If you want to learn how to effectively manage absenteeism, in accordance with all the relevant legal provisions in SA, purchase our handy guideline now!