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Use-It-or-Lose-It Sick Leave Pushes Absence Costs Higher

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in FMLA Guidelines,Human Resources

Employers' costs for last-minute no-show employees continue to climb. A recent CCH survey found that the average per-employee cost of unscheduled absences rose to $660 per employee in 2005, up from $610 in 2004.

What employers may find most troubling from the survey is that nearly two out of three employees who fail to show up for work aren't physically ill. Personal illness accounted for only 35 percent of respondents' unscheduled absences, while 65 percent were due to other reasons, including family issues (21 percent), personal needs (18 percent), entitlement mentality (14 percent) and stress (12 percent).

One reason for this increase could be that more employers require employees to use their sick leave by the end of the fiscal or calendar year, or lose it. In fact, the number of employers who allow employees to carry sick days forward into the next year has fallen from 51 percent in 2000 to 38 percent last year.

Tip: If you have a use-it-or-lose-it sick-leave policy and unscheduled absences are creeping up, it may be time to rethink that strategy.

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