Absenteeism and Attendance of Employees – Paper

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Absenteeism and Attendance of Employees Employee absenteeism is one of the most common workplace problems facing employers in today’s workplace. Legitimate illnesses still account for the majority of employee absences, but some studies have shown that less than one-third of absences from the workplace are related to poor health. Most employers offer their workers vacation, sick leave, paid time off, or other kinds of paid and unpaid leave. A key to curbing abuse is to have an absenteeism policy that clearly sets forth which absences are allowed, and what behavior will subject the employee to discipline.
Absenteeism problems can range from employees not calling in or not showing up for their shifts, taking sick leave when well, and exhausting their available leave every month, to requesting extra time off and establishing patterns of abuse. For these non-protected absences employers can, and should, discipline their employees. A company’s policy should be clearly written and disseminated to all employees. In addition, the employer should make sure to train all supervisors and managers to ensure that the policy is being fairly applied.
It’s a good idea to spot check attendance issues in every department to make sure that company rules are being fairly imposed. Absenteeism is the term generally used to refer to unscheduled employee absences from the workplace. Many causes of absenteeism are legitimate—personal illness or family issues, for example—but absenteeism also can often be traced to other factors such as a poor work environment or workers who are not committed to their jobs. If such absences become excessive, they can have a seriously adverse impact on a business's operations and, ultimately, its profitability Read more: http://www. nswers. com/topic/absenteeism#ixzz2OV25Xt00 Absenteeism is the term used to describe the fact of an individual's missing his or her regular daily activity The habitual non-presence of an employee at his or her job. Possible causes of absenteeism include job dissatisfaction, ongoing personal issues and chronic medical problems. Regardless of cause, a worker with a pattern of being absent may put his reputation and his employed status at risk. However, some forms of absence from work are legally protected and cannot be grounds for termination. Absenteeism is a habitual pattern of absence from a duty or obligation.

Traditionally, absenteeism has been viewed as an indicator of poor individual performance, as well as a breach of an implicit contract between employee and employer; it was seen as a management problem, and framed in economic or quasi-economic terms. More recent scholarship seeks to understand absenteeism as an indicator of psychological, medical, or social adjustment to work. In this study absenteeism is defined as: temporary, extended or permanent incapacity for work as a result of sickness or infirmity The purpose of the study was to investigate the incidence of learner bsenteeism in the country, the reasons why learners absent themselves from schools and examine the systems that exist to monitor and reduce learner absenteeism. Firstly, there are reasons for absenteeism associated with personal factors, such as illness, age, gender and learning difficulties. Secondly, absenteeism may be caused by socio-economic factors relating to food insecurity, problems with transport to school, the impact of HIV/AIDS on children and families How to Deal with Employee Absenteeism Employee absenteeism is one of the major areas of concern for organizations today.
It reduces productivity and puts burden on the available staff. Let us take a look at some methods through which you can keep it in check in your organization. One of the biggest challenges that organizations face today is unplanned absenteeism. Frequent absenteeism from employees not only hampers the productivity of an organization, but it also affects the morale of hard-working employees. It is therefore essential that organizations get their act together and take necessary steps to reduce it. Absenteeism can either be for genuine reasons or culpable.
It is the responsibility of a manager to identify employees who are frequently absent, and look for steps to counter it. Some researchers are of the view that punitive action is the only way by which unplanned absenteeism can be reduced, but this belief has few takers. You can persuade an employee to come to office but the chances that he would work wholeheartedly are slim. You don't want to create an atmosphere where your employees come up with new ideas to call in for a day off. This will also make it more difficult for employees who genuinely need a leave to tend to their personal or family issues.
Besides, you can't have different set of rules for different people as this will lead to accusations of discrimination. Analysts have pointed out that an authoritarian style of management is one of the prime reasons behind frequent absenteeism and tardiness. Managers who set up targets that are simply unachievable or blame everyone expect themselves for any failure, put their employees under a lot of stress. This is one of the major reasons why employees don't feel like coming to office. Organizations which fail to have an efficient leave policy in place also witness high absenteeism.
In the absence of a point of contact, employees get more leverage which can lead to higher absenteeism levels. How to Reduce Employee Absenteeism? Reducing employee absenteeism requires sustained effort, and the first and foremost step in this direction is to provide coaching to the team leaders/managers of your organization. Managers should be provided with adequate training to improve their interpersonal skills. They should also be reminded that the power that has been conferred upon them has to be used to make the organization a better place to work, not to boss around and put people off.
This will not only help you in addressing the issue, but also in tackling issues like employee turnover, and low morale among your staff. Having a clear leave policy is essential if you don't want your employees to abuse their privileges. It is important that you explain all the policies to your employees when you recruit them so that there is no scope for miscommunication. This helps especially in case of large organizations where it is virtually impossible to keep an eye on every employee. Having an effective communication system helps in maintaining transparency and keeps rumor mongers at bay.
It dispels negativity and makes employees feel that they are being recognized as a part of the organization. Trusting your employees by giving them more responsibility instills a sense of confidence in them and creates a good atmosphere in the workplace. Rewarding employees who have shown good performance by missing lesser work days can go a long way in helping you deal with employee absenteeism. It will not only help in recognizing hardworking employees, but also motivate employees to come to work rather than staying at home.
Unplanned absenteeism costs a few million dollars to American companies every year, so it is important that you address this issue with utmost seriousness. If yours is a small or a mid-scale business, then the effects are much more grave. You can't completely wipe out this issue, but what you should essentially aim to do is to reduce the frequency of culpable absenteeism. Absenteeism - employees not showing up for work when scheduled - can be a major problem for organisations. As pressures increase on the budgets and competitiveness of companies, more attention is being given to reduce workplace absenteeism and its cost.
Most research has concluded that absence is a complex variable and that it is influenced by multiple causes, both personal and organisational. Job satisfaction has been noted as one of the factors influencing an employee’s motivation to attend. INTRODUCTION To many in the world of work, absenteeism is one of those stubborn problems for which “….. there is no clear culprit and no easy cure” (Rhodes & Steers, 1990, p. 1). Furthermore, as a general phenomenon it does not discriminate against individuals on the basis of sex, race and religion. Bydawell (2000, p. 5) postulates that “employers have the right to expect good attendance from their employees as employment is a contract between two consenting parties. ” The author further states that absentee issues will undoubtedly arise within the employment relationship, and should be resolved in a manner which is fair and equitable to both the employer and the employee. Absenteeism can be very costly to organisations and enormous savings can be realised through effective management of non-attendance at work. Besides the cost implications, absenteeism is influenced by dozens of interrelated factors hich make it even more difficult to “quantify, qualify, or rectify” (Tylczak , 1990, p. 9). One of these factors which have been cited by different researchers is an employee’s level of job satisfaction in the workplace. In conjunction with this, George and Jones (2002, p. 93) maintain that “…many researchers have studied the relationship between absenteeism and job satisfaction in an attempt to discover ways to reduce absenteeism. ” Early job satisfaction research has emphasised the underlying assumption that job dissatisfaction represents the primary cause of absenteeism (Steers, Porter & Bigley, 1996). McShane’s (1984) review as quoted by Steers et al. (1996) supported the notion that employees who are dissatisfied with various aspects of their jobs are more likely to be absent. Studies by McShane (1984) found “job satisfaction to be more highly related to frequency of absences than to number of days lost” (Steers et al. , 1996, p. 409) Rhodes and Steers (1990) propose that employee attendance is based on an employee’s motivation to attend as well as their ability to attend. According to George and Jones (2002), job satisfaction is one of the factors affecting an employee’s motivation to attend.
It becomes important to measure the strength of the relationship between absenteeism and job satisfaction as “….. positive attitudes can at times serve to “pull” the individual towards the organisation and the reverse can be expected when attitudes are more negative ” (George & Jones, 2002, p. 94). An employees’ ability to attend is influenced on the other hand by factors such as family responsibilities, transportation problems, accidents and the like. Once all these variables are identified, managers may begin to understand why employees sometimes choose not to come to work when they are fully capable of attending.
By the same token, it is “equally important for managers to understand those circumstances in which people, for whatever reason (illness or otherwise), are genuinely unable to come to work” (Rhodes & Steers, 1990, p. 13). Absenteeism seems to be a behaviour that organisations can never eliminate, but they can rather control and manage it. George and Jones (2002, p. 94) note that “organisations should not have absence policies that are so restrictive that they literally force workers to come to work even if they are ill. Organisations may want to recognise that a certain level of absence is indeed functional. PROBLEM STATEMENT Tremendous pressure is being placed on companies to reduce costs either through downsizing, outsourcing or restructuring. For many employees, these changes can cause feelings of insecurity regarding the nature of their jobs as well as their future. Not having people at work increases the workload of fellow employees, reduces productivity and increases the cost of contract labour. Absenteeism In terms of the discussion, the three terms “absence, absenteeism and sickness absence” will be used as synonymous in meaning, implying that workers who were scheduled for ork and expected to attend, did not do so. Cascio (2003, p. 45) defines absenteeism as “any failure of an employee to report for or to remain at work as scheduled, regardless of the reason. ” Milkovich and Boudreau (1994) define absenteeism from an organisation’s perspective as “the frequency and/or duration of work time lost when employees do not come to work. ” Absenteeism therefore implies “an unplanned, disruptive incident; but more specifically, it can be seen as non-attendance when an employee is scheduled for work ” (Van der Merwe & Miller, SUMMARY OF CHAPTER
In summary, this chapter highlighted the fact that absenteeism is pervasive throughout most organisations and can place huge financial burdens on organisations. A central concern in organisations is probably that some employees believe that it is their “right” to 13take sick leave whether they are sick or not. These short, unscheduled absences impact on work schedules, increase workloads of other employees and can also have a detrimental effect on productivity. Furthermore, this chapter emphasised that absenteeism is influenced by a number of interrelated factors ranging from family responsibilities to satisfaction on the job.
Literature suggests that absenteeism is a major problem in many organisations, hence, the importance of focusing on this behaviour within the organisation. Various studies have attempted to examine the relationship between absenteeism and job satisfaction as absence is commonly viewed as one of the means of withdrawal from stressful work situations. According to Luthans (1995), research has generally revealed a consistent inverse relationship between job satisfaction and absenteeism, i. e. when satisfaction is high, absenteeism tends to be low and when satisfaction is low, bsenteeism tends to be high. ABSENTEEISM 2. 2. 1 INTRODUCTION Unscheduled absences affect almost every type of organisation. Hoque and Islam (2003, p. 81) describe absenteeism as a “subject to be studied, matter to be thought over and a problem to be solved. ” Besides the direct costs associated with absenteeism, there are also indirect costs such as hiring of casual staff, reduced productivity, turnover and potential loss in revenue (Cole, 2002; Mason & Griffin, 2003). Robinson (2002) further notes that the indirect costs of absenteeism can be up to three times higher than the direct osts of absenteeism. It therefore becomes vital that organisations recognise the extent of this problem due to the high costs associated with continued unscheduled absences. The main problem is perhaps that many employees believe sick leave is a “benefit ” like annual leave and they are entitled to take it, irrespective of the condition of their health. This has implications for organisations because it is difficult for an organisation to operate smoothly if employees fail to report for work. According to Robbins et al. (2003), having sick leave programmes in organisations, i. e. providing paid sick eave, actually enforces the wrong behaviour, which is absence from work. The authors argue that organisations should rather reward employees for attendance, not for being absent. Moreover, the importance of good attendance and its benefits should be clearly communicated to all employees (Bydawell, 2000). Rhodes and Steers (1990) maintain that people tend to have different perspectives or attach different meanings when viewing the topic of employee absenteeism. To the 20manager, absence is often seen as a problem to be solved, but to the employee it can take on a very different meaning.
For the employee, absenteeism can be symbolic of deeper feelings of hostility or perceptions of inequitable treatment in the job situation or a way to sabotage the organisation for the poor work environment or other attributes of the job. TYPES OF ABSENTEEISM Van der Merwe and Miller (1988) classify absenteeism into three broad categories that help to understand the nature of this phenomenon. They are: (1) sickness absence, (2) authorised absence/absence with permission and (3) unexcused absence/ absence without leave. Sickness absence Sickness absence is a category where employees claim ill health as their reason for bsence. Requirements regarding medical/doctor’s certificates vary and are determined by company policy or the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA). The Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 (1997) stipulates that a certificate needs to be produced after two days of sickness absence. Most managers have found that certification is not a guarantee of genuine absence as it has become easy for people to gain access to medical certificates. Van der Merwe and Miller (1988, p. 10) maintain that “having a critical attitude to short sick absence, and indicating to employees that heir absence behaviour is regularly monitored, is likely to result in a better norm of attendance. ” 2. 2. 3. 2 Authorised absence Absence with permission is where employees prov an “excuse” for their absence whether that be for holidays, study leave, special leave and the like. Normally such a request is included in the absence policy (Van der Merwe & Miller, 1988, p. 11). 2. 2. 3. 3 Unexcused absence All absences not falling into the two previous categories and where no reason is given, or not accepted, are regarded as unexcused (Van Der Merwe & Miller, 1988, p. 11). This ype of absence, when it reaches problematic proportions, will have to be pointed out to employees in question in order to bring their attendance in line with acceptable norms Employees who come to work later in the day or who leave earlier are normally not recorded on the leave records of employers and the supervisor is normally aware of such absences (Wolmarans, 1994). CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS Sickness absence has attracted attention in response to competitive pressures and tightening labour markets and by managing absence, organisations can achieve a better competitive edge (Johnson et al. 2003). For many organisations however, absenteeism management remains a daunting task, as it can place huge financial burdens on organisations. Aware of the indirect costs associated with absenteeism, management must determine what factors are responsible for absenteeism and how these factors can be addressed to curb this challenging problem. The main goal of the present study was to determine the impact of job satisfaction on absenteeism as research generally states that dissatisfied employees are more likely to miss work than satisfied employees (Aamodt, 2004; Saal & Knight, 1988). The study owever only found a weak, albeit inverse correlation between satisfaction and absenteeism. The role of other variables, for example personality, work-group norms, organisational commitment and family related responsibilities have not been included although their impact on absenteeism have been noted (Mowday et al. , 1982; Rhodes & Steers, 1990). In order to improve on this, it is suggested that further research be undertaken to ascertain the potential effect of these variables on absenteeism. 145Since the current research utilised a non - probability sampling method, certain groups may have been under-presented.
Although the sample of 121 is considered appropriate, a larger, stratified random sample would have enabled greater precision and control with respect to the sample. Furthermore, the sample employed was relatively small, reducing the study’s generalizability to the larger organisation. Moreover, the small number of female respondents prevented meaningful comparisons being made. The study was conducted in one organisation in the Western Cape, which further limits its applicability to a wider population. A cross-sectional design was used for the study as it provided the researcher with a napshot of the research elements at a given point in time. Even though this design is considered appropriate, a longitudinal study would allow for forming a better understanding of the true nature of absenteeism and job satisfaction as it uses the same sample over a period of time. The study is further limited in that it used self –report measures of absence, which is highly subjective. Johns (1996) as quoted by Siu (2002) – argues that “employees do not have accurate perceptions of their own absenteeism, some employees underestimate their own absenteeism and overestimate the absenteeism of co-workers” (Siu, 2002, p. 218).
Further research should adopt more objective measures of absence. The second goal of the study focused on the relationship between personal characteristics and absence. Significant correlations were found and it is important for management to 146understand these dynamics in order to control absenteeism in the workplace. The importance of understanding specifically the impact of age on the work force will continue to grow, owing to changes in legislation (age discrimination, non-mandatory retirement) and also the impact of HIV and AIDS (Kacmar & Ferris, 1989). Organisations need to have stringent policies in place to control absenteeism, and a ulture of attendance needs to be cultivated amongst employees. Future research needs to also examine the absence severity rate (ASR) which indicates the number of days sick leave per incident over a period of time, which is how long employees are off when they do take sick leave (Mowday et al. ,1982). Excessive absenteeism can escalate to the point that it directly affects productivity, quality and morale. A final goal of the study was to examine the impact of personal characteristics on job satisfaction. While the study focused on personal predictors of job satisfaction, there re other variables (job and organisational) that may be better predictors of job satisfaction (Spector, 1997; 2000). It is suggested that further research needs to be conducted to identify these factors that contribute to employees’ job satisfaction. 147REFERENCE LIST Aamodt, M. G. (1996). Applied Industrial/Organisational Psychology (2nd ed. ). USA: Brooks/Cole Publishing Company. Aamodt, M. G. (2004). Applied Industrial/Organisational Psychology (4th ed). USA: Thomson/Wadsworth. Alavi, H. R. , & Askaripur, M. R. (2003). The relationship between self-esteem and job satisfaction of personnel in government organisations.
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