Human Resources Specialists Ask: Are Your Employees Really Sick?

Absenteeism is a very fast growing issue in today’s workplace and is a constant topic for human resources specialists and HR consulting firms. According to a study by the Conference Board of Canada, the average rate of absenteeism was 9.3 days in 2011, contributing to an estimated loss of $16.6 billion in payroll for Canadian employers, and a major strain on human resources programs.

There are many ways to justify absence from work, including illness, family matters, emergencies…

Unfortunately, some employees will abuse the company’s sick day policy and human resources program, with some of the following reasons:

  • Calling in sick because they don’t feel like going to work;
  • Staying home when the weather is really bad;
  • Being “sick” on Friday, in order to have a long weekend;
  • Calling in sick on the Friday of a long weekend, to get that extra day off;
  • Using sick days for personal appointments.

Some of the more direct costs associated with absenteeism, productivity loss and reduced customer satisfaction included, can be somewhat difficult for employers to quantify. Companies often use human resources specialists and HR consulting firms to help quantify the losses. However, there are also indirect costs which may be impossible to assign a dollar value to, and pose a challenge even for HR consulting firms. For example, these costs may arise in the form damaged morale among the other employees, as well as creating resentment within the workplace.

The attached article provides several interesting examples of those excuses used for workplace absences in US:

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