Home » A » a - ab » absenteeism


Absenteeism, which is the intentional and persistent absence from work or the prevalence and average frequency of employees being absent from work at a workplace, is a top-of-mind issue for many human resources managers, as they like to call themselves because it sounds more high-minded and important than personnel administrators.

I haven’t done any research, and I’m too lazy to try to find out if anyone else has done any, but I suspect that it is a safe bet that, relative to industry averages, absenteeism is fairly high in companies that pay their employees the least the law allows, treat their employees worse than they would treat a despised pet gerbil, saddle workers solely with duties that are excruciatingly tedious drudge work, and offer no opportunities for advancement.

In contrast, companies that offer interesting, enjoyable and meaningful work; pay their employees at least competitive wages, including welcome benefits; treat their employees respectfully; and offer employees the opportunity to get ahead if they so desire probably suffer less absenteeism.

Human resources mangers are right to be concerned about absenteeism. A high level of absenteeism can be very costly and may jeopardize profitability. When experiencing high absenteeism, it may be necessary to hire more people than otherwise necessary to produce the same level of output. Or, companies may have to ask non-absent workers to work overtime and pay them overtime premiums when they do so.

Plus, the moral of people who do make the effort to come into work may be shattered if they come to believe that they have to work harder, with inadequate compensation, to make up for the shirkers’ absences.

Because of these costs, many companies come down hard on persistent absenteeism. Dismissal is a likely outcome if you are absent without leave too often.

So, if you are thinking of frequently taking unscheduled days off with no good reason, I have a few words of advice for you: Leave a jacket on the back of your chair. Transfer your business telephone line to your cellphone. If your company uses time clocks, have a confederate punch in for you. And have some sympathetic colleagues walk past your desk frequently while you are away and call out “Hi, George!” (or whatever your name is) in a voice loud enough for your boss to hear. The job you save may be your own.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *