Absence management hit by substandard record-keeping

The ability of employers to manage absence is being hampered by ineffective record-keeping systems, according to research by Occupational Health‘s sister publication Employment Review.

A poll of 195 employers, with a combined workforce of almost 900,000 people, found more than a fifth of employers had problems with recording absences.

Key difficulties included line managers being either unwilling or unable to manage absence inaccordance with their organisation’s policies and procedures, absences being reported either late, incompletely or not at all, and inconsistencies in reporting within the organisation.

A lack of effective involvement in absence management by line managers was cited as the single biggest cause of organisations’ difficulties, with 40% of employers saying it was a problem.

Almost all employers (94%) asked staff to notify their absence by a particular time on the first working day they are absent.

And 44% expected employees to make contact on a daily basis. However, more than a quarter – 28% – did not have a formal procedure and left such arrangements to the discretion of the line managers.

Absence records were most commonly closed through the completion of a return-to-work interview, as was the case among 85% of employers.

Absentees were expected to complete a return-to-work form by half of employers.

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