Good news from the annual CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey: Therate for U.S. businesses was 2.3% in 2007, down slightly from 2.5% last year.
The bad news: Two-thirds of your employees who call in sick at the last minute aren’t really sick. Instead, they’re skipping work to deal with personal or family issues.
That’s no big surprise to HR pros, who chronically deal with the reality that this year’s survey confirms: The most noticeable no-shows are on Mondays and Fridays and around holidays like Christmas and the Fourth of July.
Work/life programs are the most effective way to control absenteeism, the report advises. Two of the best tactics, according to the survey: (1) allow employees to telecommute and (2) offer compressed workweeks. Yet those programs are not among the most-offered work/life benefits, CCH says.
Other tips from the survey:
- Curb the use of sick leave by offering alternative work arrangements (such as allowing leave for employees to attend their kids’ school programs) and providing flu shots.
- Allow employees the flexibility to take a few hours off for a doctor’s visit or to take a parent to an appointment without having to burn a full day of sick leave.
- Convert sick and annual leave programs to paid leave banks, the strategy CCH determined is the most effective at curbing unscheduled absences.
- Offer to buy back unused sick leave.
- Work on building staff morale, a technique proven to reduce absenteeism.
- Analyze absenteeism trends so you can develop solutions to specific problems.
- Don't expect those on FMLA leave to 'stay home and shut the blinds'
- Use payroll deduction to collect unpaid premiums
- Don't let religious employees badger other workers
- Remember, same-sex harassment is illegal, too
- There are complaints, then there are complaints: General gripes about unfairness aren't protected