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Absence Management: Strategies for an Efficient and Engaged Workplace

In any organisation or business, managing employee absences effectively is crucial for maintaining productivity, reducing costs, and fostering a positive work culture.

Generally, we associate absence management with employee sickness but in reality it should refer to the process of effectively tracking, analysing, and addressing all employees’ time-off, including holiday requests and other authorised/unauthorised leave. By implementing proper absence management strategies, employers can minimise disruptions, ensure fairness, and promote employee well-being.

Establishing clear and comprehensive absence policies is essential for promoting transparency and consistency within the business. These policies should outline procedures for requesting time off, including guidelines for notice periods, documentation requirements, and any specific circumstances (such as sick leave or family emergencies).

By communicating these policies effectively and making them easily accessible to all employees, businesses can set expectations and avoid confusion.

In addition, using an absence tracking system or HRM software, such as Breathe HR, can streamline the process of managing and monitoring employee absences. This technology allows employees to submit time-off requests for approval and provides real-time visibility to managers, automating the approval process and maintaining an organised record of employee leave.

Training managers and employees across a number of roles can help mitigate the impact of absences. When team members are familiar with each other’s responsibilities and have the necessary skills to step in when needed, the absence of a single employee is less likely to disrupt workflow. By encouraging collaboration and knowledge sharing, a business can build a more resilient workforce capable of managing absences effectively.

When it comes to sickness absence and tackling an individual’s persistent or long-term absence, following your policies and procedures is a must. Ensure your initial approach is one that supports and cares for the employee, encouraging open communication and promoting transparency allows the employee to discuss their reasons and needs for the time off. It will build further trust and allow them to open-up about any potential difficulties they may be facing. This will in turn, allow you to identify and discuss any reasonable adjustments that may be made to support them.

Where an employee is absent due to sickness they may be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP) from the fourth consecutive day of absence.

You can find out more about SSP in our A-Z guide and you can watch our videos on tackling absence management.

If you’re thinking of outsourcing your HR, payroll or employment law needs, why not contact myHRdept? Call us on 01628 820515, email us at to discuss your requirements, or contact us via our website and we’ll call you back.


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