Unscheduled absenteeism costs businesses more than $760,000 per year in direct payroll costs. The bottom line is adversely affected by resulting lower productivity, lost revenue and the effects of poor morale, according to the findings of the 17th annual CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey. 

Reduce controllable absences: What keeps workers off the job?

Unscheduled absenteeism costs businesses more than $760,000 per year in direct payroll costs. The bottom line is adversely affected by resulting lower productivity, lost revenue and the effects of poor morale, according to the findings of the 17th annual CCH Unscheduled Absence Survey.

What keeps workers off the job?

Two-thirds of U.S. workers who call in sick at the last minute do so for reasons other than physical illness, according to the report, which polled the nation's largest employers. Family issues, personal needs and stress or burnout were the impetus for more than half of worker no-shows.

If personal illness accounts for only 34 percent of unscheduled absences, what can an employer do to significantly reduce the incidence of unexpected time off?

Three ways to keep employees on the job

With lean staff and budgets, organizations need to focus on creating a workplace environment that supports productivity. Here are three ways employers can partner with employees to promote engagement.

  1. Work-life programs
    Offer the right balance of work-life programs to help employees balance their personal and professional lives. By strictly adhering to a traditional sick leave or time-off policy, employers may put an employee in the position of having to call in sick when he or she really needed two hours to take a child to a medical appointment. 

    On a scale of 1 to 5 (with 5 being most effective), these work-life programs rated highest for reducing unscheduled absences: 
    • Alternative Work Arrangements (3.6)
    • Telecommuting (3.5)
    • Compressed Work Week (3.3)
    • Leave for School Functions (3.2)
    • Flu Shot Programs (3.2)

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  2. Use absence control programs effectively
    Of the five absence control programs on average that employers reported they use, disciplinary action remains the single-most used absence control program (89 percent). The other leading absence control programs in use are: yearly review (82 percent), verification of illness (74 percent), paid leave banks (60 percent), and no fault (59 percent).

    Paid leave banks, also known as paid time off (PTO), continue to be the most effective absence control program (3.6 ). With paid leave banks, employees are allowed the flexibility to manage a single bank of hours at their discretion, instead of taking separate days for sick, vacation and personal time. Other programs that rated high in effectiveness include disciplinary action and buy back (3.4), bonus (3.3) and verification of illness (3.2).
  3. Improve employee morale
    Organizations with good/very good morale experienced a 2.0 percent unscheduled absence rate, while those reporting poor/fair morale had a rate of 2.7 percent, the study found. Seventy percent of unscheduled absences were attributed to reasons other than personal illness for organizations with poor/fair morale, compared to 62 percent for those with good/very good morale.

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  5. Resources to make unscheduled absences unnecessary

    Single parents, caregivers for aging parents, and dual-earning families all have different needs and reasons to call in sick at the last minute. Learn how our streamlined, proactive, state-of-the art employee assistance, work-life and early intervention health and wellness benefits solutions can keep your employees at work and improve your bottom line. 

    Call Ceridian today at 1-800-729-7655 to find out about our full service options.