Putting a Price on Absence

Whilst we are often made aware of the direct cost of employee absences from work, we are less likely to consider the time and money that is further lost to managing absences. Research conducted by Engage suggests that on average managers lose 20 days each year to dealing with absence issues equating to 24% of the overall cost of absences in the workplace.


For each employee on their team, on an annual basis a Manager will spend on average:


  • 2 days per year managing absence
  • 77 minutes per year phoning to chase reasons for absence
  • 3.2 hours amending payroll
  • 4.8 hours organising cover


The obvious way to reduce the time spent managing absence is to reduce absence itself, however in the mean time there are some things that can be done. A clear, zero tolerance sickness reporting procedure should be issued and enforced to reduce the time spent chasing employees when they are absent from work. All employees need to be made aware of who they should contact, by what time and whether this should be continued each day for the duration of the absence. Similarly, a sick pay policy will give clear guidelines on whether an employee is eligible for occupational or statutory sick pay, as well as detail any forms that need to be completed or records made to correctly notify payroll. Depending on their role it may also be useful for the employee to provide a handover of work when they notify their absence, including outstanding work, current commitments and deadlines that need to be met. This ensures that the reallocation of work can be done efficiently and specialist or urgent work can be prioritised.


Inevitably, unless absence is completely abolished, working time is going to be lost to managing absence. However, using our tips above can reduce the time that is spent dealing with the matter and ensure that absence is efficiently and effectively managed.


If you have any questions regarding absence in the workplace or would like to discuss creating an absence policy, don't hesitate to contact us on 0845 6100651 or sales@hrsmartuk.com.