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Proactive Absence Management

Absense Management

As a business owner, it’s unavoidable that your staff will require a leave of absence from time to time. Whether your company turns over a million dollars or is a small family-run business – absence management can prove to be tricky. It isn’t just a case of how many staff are absent and when. 

Throughout Canada, the average employee was absent from work for almost twelve days in 2020 (Statistics Canada 2021). This may seem like a high number and potentially challenging to manage, but by being proactive, it’s easier than you think.

In this guide, we’ll cover ways to be proactive with your absence management and how it can save you money, as well as the benefits of cloud-based HR. We will also discuss the benefits of managing your absences correctly.

What is a workplace absence?

A workplace absence is when one of your employees doesn’t show up for work. These absences are classed as either authorized or unauthorized. The following are common reasons for workplace absences:

  • Vacation.
  • Public holidays.
  • Sick leave.
  • Medical appointments. 
  • Maternity and paternity leave.
  • Bereavement leave.

How to proactively manage employee absence? 

Being proactive with your absence management ensures you’ll never be understaffed on busy periods – for example, over the holidays and weekends. If staff feel understaffed and overworked, there’s a risk of them becoming burnt out, which could negatively affect employee morale and productivity. 

There are ways to be proactive when it comes to managing your absences. 

  1. Have a transparent leave of absence policy: Make it clear to employees how TO book and report absences, entitlements, and vacation/sick pay rules. Ensure this is included in the employee handbook and signed by both employee and employer when employment commences. This will avoid any conflict in the future and create transparency.
  2. Undertake return-to-work interviews: Discuss why an employee was absent from work. This builds a working relationship and can help you solve any problems they may be facing. Make sure you try and contact them whilst they’re absent to see if you can do anything.
  3. Build a culture focused on employee well-being: Employees are less likely to want to stay away by creating a happy and safe culture. Hold regular one-to-one meetings with staff to see how they feel about the workplace. Ensure to solve any issues they may have.
  4. Use a cloud-based HR software: Use cloud-based software to manage absences, and this creates transparency and consistency throughout the company. 

Benefits of using cloud-based HR software:

Cloud-based HR systems are changing the modern workplace, allowing businesses to get all their HR under one umbrella. Gone are the days when an employee needs to submit a paper absence form. 

There are a range of benefits to using cloud-based HR software for your absence management:

  • Time saving: Using software will save you admin time and improve the functionality and efficiency of your business. You can accept or decline absence requests as soon as they come in. The last thing you want is your employees to feel they’re waiting for an answer.
  • Everything is on a centralized management system (CMS): You can set up a calendar so employees can see if there are too many people off on the day they‘re looking to book. This will ensure you’ll never be understaffed. Both employer and employee can access this from anywhere in the world.
  • Improves the daily management of employees: You can record any lateness’s or sudden absences from your phone or computer without having to fill out a hefty form. This will create transparency, and your employees will know where they stand in the case of emergencies. 
  • Can spot any absence patterns: Employers can also spot any attendance and absence patterns that might have been missed if dealing with pen and paper. 

It’s important you make employees aware of their annual leave entitlements when they start employment and encourage them to take them throughout the year. This will stop a backlog of potential vacation requests during the holidays. 

How can successful absence management save you money?

The last thing you want to do is lose your best staff. But, by managing absences correctly and getting to the root of why an employee has been absent, you can ensure you retain them.

If any employee is absent due to unhappiness with the workload, this could lead them to resign eventually and you have to rehire – which has economic knock-on effects: 

  • Advertising: The cost of marketing and placing your job advert online.
  • Onboarding: Cost of any employee equipment, uniform, benefits packages, and any other resources they may need.
  • Interviewing time: The amount of time spent reviewing CV’s, conducting interviews, and selecting the candidate.
  • Time is taken to train new employees: The amount of time it takes to train a new starter, which could be anything from a week to six months.

The law requires you to provide employees with two weeks annual leave for every year of employment. Failing to do so can result in a range of punishments outlined through Canadian law.

You can be fined up to $10,000 depending on the number of violations in Ontario and British Columbia.

In Alberta, you can be fined up to $6000 for a level three offense.

Get help with your absence management today with BrightHR

It’s important that you get your leave and absence policy right. Staff have a statutory right to time-off, and not managing it correctly can leave you with too many people off at once, unhappy employees, or expensive fines to pay.

If you need assistance with your absence management, BrightHR has several tools that will simplify the whole process.

Jason Skidmore
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