Absenteeism in the workplace can be a dangerous thing. It harms a company's bottom line and makes it difficult to get work done. Additionally, firing someone for long absences can be tricky because of labor regulations. There are other ways of handling absences in the workplace that might help companies avoid having to fire someone and risk a lawsuit. The Small Business Administration offered some points of advice for handling an employee who has been absent for too long.
The first thing is to assess the situation from the employee's point of view. Is he or she gone from work for a good reason? Is this person getting his or her work done and just wants to have a different schedule that is more conducive to the kind of life he or she lives outside of the office? In such a case, it may be time to discuss whether or not to simply negotiate for flextime. Otherwise, consider other employee engagement ideas.
Human Resources Executive Online reported that sometimes when employers come into the office early and see someone come into the office later in the day and then work until later as well, the employer will unconsciously have a bias against that person because he or she will be perceived as being lazy. This may not be happening in the case of someone who regularly comes into work late and leaves early, but employers should consider every possibility.
There may be a better option for the employee than leaving work and building up unpaid days
Under the Family and Medical Leave Act, employees can take time off for a number of reasons, and there are other legally-appropriate ways to miss work, such as maternity leave or extended sick leave. If the employee is not made aware of these options, he or she may simply be unsure of how to take appropriate steps to miss work under these rules.
That being said, according to Forbes, absenteeism can lead to major costs at the office. After giving the employee time to explain and if the employee simply feels disgruntled or doesn't like the work, then firing that person may be best for the company.
One way to prevent absenteeism before it starts is by giving employees plenty of incentives that keep them healthy, such as wellness programs and benefits tied to days spent on the job. For example, if an employee has vacation days that are remaining on the clock after the year is over, then allowing some to carry over might encourage people to come into work more often.