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12 Best Practices for Absence Management



Give one best practice for absence management in the workplace?

To help you with absence management in the workplace, we asked CEOs and HR leaders this question for their best insights. From staying connected with technology to using dynamic scheduling methods, there are best practices that you can adopt to reduce the issues caused by managing employee absences in the workplace.


Here are 12 best practices for absence management:

  • Stay Connected With Technology

  • Give Options for Alternative Work Scheduling

  • Have a Clear Absence and Leave Policy

  • Error On the Side of Being Flexible

  • Address the Issue and Document

  • Allow Commission-based Pay

  • Provide Flexible Family Policies

  • Train Your Supervisors & Be Aware of FMLA

  • Encouraging Employees to Plan their Time Off in Advance

  • Cross Train Employees to Reduce Stress Caused by Time Off

  • Honest Communication Makes All the Difference

  • Use Dynamic Scheduling Methods to Automated Schedules


Stay Connected With Technology

If you are managing a business remotely, technology can be a key to success. Any effective manager knows how to use Zoom or similar, or at least they should. But there are also productivity and communication programs such as Slack, which can help immensely. Absentee managers should also consider a virtual (or in person) happy hour at least once a month to keep the team connected.

Robert Reder, Blythe Grace PLLC


Give Options for Alternative Work Scheduling

If you have a problem with employees continuously being absent you have a deep work culture and leadership problem. An initial step to take to help remedy this is give employees alternative work schedules and options to work from home. Allowing employees to choose their schedules and work around their life more conveniently will cut down on employee absences. If getting to the office is a challenge allow the office to come to them either a few days a week or indefinitely. No matter what when you give employees the ability to control when and where they work they will work more and call out less.

Mark Smith, University of Advancing Technology


Have A Clear Absence and Leave Policy

The best way to control the absences and leaves of your employees is to propagate a clear company policy that outlines all the related rules and regulations in a clear and transparent manner. The policy must include details and guidelines related to all essential parameters such as informing the team and manager in advance or at least in time or planning long leaves in tandem with the productivity calendar. The HR team must play the role of information providers in this regard during onboarding and later, managers can jump in to clarify any doubts the employee may have regarding their rights to leave.

Riley Beam, Douglas R. Beam, P.A.


Error On the Side of Being Flexible

One best practice for managing an employee’s absence in the workplace is to give them as much flexibility as possible. Many employees have to take time off for doctor’s appointments or to care for family members, and the best practice is to allow them to do this without any interruption in their workflow. Some employees may want to work remotely during these absences, and this should be allowed as long as they can still meet their goals.

Matthew Ramirez, Paraphrase Tool





Address the Issue and Document

This is so obvious but many times overlooked. The manager contacting HR because they want to terminate an employee for attendance. You check the file and the person has zero warnings or disciplinary actions. The manager may remember talking to the employee but don't remember any details nor is there any documentation -not even an email!

Two things are equally important. One is to address the issue with the employee that has absences to make them aware that this is a concern and give them an opportunity to improve. Second, document the date and the conversation, ensuring the employee gets at least an email confirming the conversation, if not a warning or disciplinary action that is presented and properly signed -and added to the file. One other area to pay attention to is to identify whether there may be issues getting in the way of attendance where the employee may be entitled to leave or where the company can provide resources or flexibility.

Patty Hickok, NANA Regional Corporation


Allow Commission-based Pay

If you provide a pay structure that involves commission-based pay (whether completely or partially), this can incentivize your employees not to take too much time off. With this pay structure, your employees will lose out on payment opportunities when absent for an extended period. They will feel the need to show up to work and put the work in to maintain a steady income.

Miles Beckett, Flossy


Provide Flexible Family Policies

Some employee absences may be due to family-related issues, especially for employees with children or a new family situation. When push comes to shove an employee would and should choose to keep their family safe and healthy over not missing a day of work. Employers can help avoid this conflict of interest by creating a flexible policy around family and parental care-related issues. By providing employees with a safety net in case of sudden needs or emergencies, they’ll be able to function more efficiently without the worry of having to choose between work and family.

Max Schwartzapfel, Schwartzapfel Lawyers


Train Your Supervisors & Be Aware of FMLA

Managers, team leaders, supervisors and others who oversee employee absenteeism are your first line of defense against lawsuits, complaints, and potential enforcement action. Alas, they can also be your greatest weakness if not well-trained. Train your leaders how to spot situations that could trigger Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), and other protections. Use case studies and clear examples, and make sure they’re aware to report any potential issues to HR in a timely manner.

Datha Santomieri, Steadily


Encouraging Employees to Plan their Time Off in Advance

Encouraging employees to plan their time off in advance is one of the best practices for absence management in the workplace. This prevents the need to call in sick and disrupts productivity while also preventing the need to use up your annual leave or take unpaid leave. To help employees manage their time off and prevent unnecessary absenteeism, you can implement policies that allow employees to schedule their days off without first seeking approval from management. This practice helps ensure that employees have enough time off to maintain good physical and mental health, as well as avoid burnout.

Shaun Connell, Connell Media





Cross Train Employees to Reduce Stress Caused by Time Off

Cross-training is an excellent absence management technique in the workplace. Teaching staff how to perform certain tasks and roles in other departments can help with the shifting workloads due to time off. Having a team member who can pick up some of the slack means less stress for the working employees and less of a need to cross work-life boundaries and bother the absent employee to ask questions or favors. Not to mention, this coverage option means that employees may have more flexibility and fewer restrictions on requestable time off.

Kate Duske, Escape Room Data





Always Have Honest Communication

Absence management is undoubtedly a complicated affair but planning in advance does go a long way in shaping an impactful attendance and productive calendar. The one component that needs to fall in place, however, is honest communication. When employees and managers communicate honestly, openly, and promptly with one another, there are fewer gaps in the absence management process and the entire team can work together to cushion the consequences of absenteeism and leaves. It is only the lack of clarity and communication that leaves little room for plans, playing havoc with operations and efficiency.

David Northup, InShapeMD


Use Dynamic Scheduling Methods to Automated Schedules

Being a lawyer, I understand the additional workload that comes with managing employee leaves. Along with handling the clients, looking at the progress, and being at court, this can get too much to manage.

What helped us is using the Time&Space Dynamic Scheduling. Here, each employee can enter their working period and any changes to the schedules. Not only does the employee get a proper plan in hand, but it becomes easier for the management as well. It helps in planning according to business demands and availability. The best part is it has alarms to warn you about trespassing regulations. This ensures no one can cheat under the system.

I think having this has also improved efficiency since the pandemic. Sick leaves, though less, have become frequent due to burnout. This helps ensure there is open communication between both parties to adjust the schedules accordingly.

Deepa Tailor, Tailor Law