The HR Dictionary

Absence Management

Absence management is an employer’s approach — via policies, procedures, or programs — to reduce employee absenteeism, avoid workforce disruption, maximize employee productivity and provide sufficient work-life balance opportunities for its employees. It involves striking a balance between supporting employees who miss work due to illness, injury, or unforeseen circumstances to long-term absences such as maternity or paternity leave and disciplining employees whose absences are questionable or excessive. On the other hand, absence management is also the process of handling employee requests for absence, keeping track of it, and planning the available resources accordingly in line with the company policies. 

To reduce unprofessional absenteeism and to manage absence management operations, HR managers are advised to implement an absence management system within the organization to consolidate the processes and avoid errors. This is also identified to improve the efficiency of the absence management operations within the organization leading to more productivity. There are several strategies to manage absence, and your organization's work culture will have a big influence on this.

At the same time, employers must be sensitive to absent staff members and have a proper return-to-work procedure in place for individuals returning from extended absence such as maternity/paternity leave. For example, organizations should also adopt a disability leave policy that classifies absence related to a person's impairment as separate from sickness absence in order to be empathetic towards all its employees and be aware of potential difficulties with disability discrimination.

One of the most commonly used tools today to efficiently manage absence is paid time off (PTO) management software or HR software with PTO management features. Such HR software allows to create absence management policies, define pay policies for each absence management policy, manage employee absence and so much more.