In the recent years, one growing problem for companies is the rise of employees missing work. Employees who are missing work are often not sick, and this makes the issue even more complicated.
While some companies have an absenteeism policy, most companies do not and these responsibilities tend to fall on the immediate supervisors. This logic is sound, except for when different supervisors implement their own policies, and in the end, workers are not treated equally.
The Importance of the Supervisor
Since the supervisor interacts with their workers on a daily basis, they are first to know if the employee is struggling with work or personal issues. Because either issue could affect their work attendance, the supervisor could help find a resolution quickly.
However, just because they are in the best position to implement an effective resolution does not mean they shouldn’t have any guidance or assistance. In fact, to ensure that a supervisor feels both confident and competent to handle absenteeism, the company should create a policy with the help of the supervisors. Allowing them to contribute will utilize their unique position for creating a realistic and helpful policy as well as giving them power to enforce the absenteeism policy and any disciplinary actions necessary.
What to Include in an Effective Absenteeism Policy
- Counseling Interview
This is when the supervisor tries to understand why the employee is absent from work. Is it a work issue, family issue or health issue? From here, within bounds, the supervisor can help the worker come up with a plan to deal with the underlying issue while improving attendance and work performance.
- Verbal Warning
If the employee’s attendance worsens over the next few months after the counseling interview, the supervisor will have another meeting to discuss the effects of poor attendance. Aside from a medical condition, the supervisor can give a verbal warning to the worker that if it doesn’t improve, their job is in jeopardy.
If there is a medical condition which is keeping the employee from coming to work, the supervisor must get HR involved. From here they will determine, with the expertise of a company doctor, whether or not the employee is fit for work.
- Written Warning
This meeting will include representatives from HR and should review the absentee records of the employee and any previous meetings on the matter. The employee will be given the opportunity to discuss why they have missed work regularly, but if deemed necessary, they will be given a written warning that if they cannot improve their performance, their job is at risk. This warning will go into the employee’s file for a predetermined amount of time.
- Temporary Suspension
Some companies see success with a temporary suspension if the employee continues to miss work. A temporary suspension is without pay for a short amount of time. From here, the employee can be invited back to work.
Most often, a company will go from the written warning to termination if the situation doesn’t improve. As with all terminations, human resource and company policies must be followed.
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