Absence Management: A Headache or a Remedy?

Absence Management: A Headache or a Remedy?

Most companies allow their employees to use a certain amount of leave time within a period of employment, and it’s up to management to calculate that time accurately. However, leave calculation is not always simple. Sometimes custom calculation rules and unusual leaves require a special approach. In this article, we’ll take a closer look at efficient methods of absence management.


Lack of management is bad…

Free time is one of the most important incentives for employees in any industry. To retain prospective employees, companies offer extra time off, flexible schedules and paid absence for studies. In order to provide for better work planning, HR personnel carefully log all kinds of future leaves.

While planned leaves, such as vacations and studies, are budgeted in advance, health-related leaves are rarely predictable. And they cost companies billions. A detailed history of unexpected absences tends to be helpful for predicting and managing temporary productivity decreases. Having all statistics on an employee’s absences, the employer can figure out where to make improvements.

And it’s not only the employer who needs accurate time off records. With them, employees can prevent or reveal law violations in regard to their vacation time. It is not uncommon that the employer pays for less time off than an employee has actually earned, and only a transparent record can help restore justice.




…but overmanagement is not better

Rigorous discipline is what often causes harsh absence management policies. Of course, detailed absence logging helps reduce unscheduled absences and increase morale, but managers need to know where to draw the line. Ironically, poorly organized absence management can even decrease a team’s performance.

First, drastic measures invite presenteeism, which is in fact no better. Presenteeism is the employees’ behavior when they come in to work while actually being sick. Not taking a sick day when you actually need it causes mistakes and spreading germs at the workplace, both of which impair a team’s productivity.

Additionally, too pushy absence management increases stress. When everything requires a full request-and-approval procedure, many prefer to just comply with the regular schedule. That causes inflexibility, the third problem. While flexible schedules have many positive effects, employees never have a chance to benefit from them.


Finding the balance

Basically, leave balance is a pool of leave time earned over time, from which an employee can draw time off. Some companies keep a single balance for all absence types. However, some have separate balances for paid time off and sick leaves.

Usually, several leave types influence a leave balance. For example, a paid time off balance can include vacation, studies, and personal time. Sick days balance can be influenced by sick leaves, scheduled medical treatment, and so on.

A popular practice is also time in lieu, when an employee works overtime and gets extra time off for overtime hours. Whether it is or is not calculated as a part of the leave balance, depends on the company’s internal regulations.


Are your employees tracking each other’s leaves? Make sure they don’t

Currently, almost all HR software solutions offer integrated absence management modules. They are quite convenient for big companies. However, smaller companies find them too expensive. Besides, they contain lots of information not related to absences. Definitely not an affordable solution for small businesses and startups.

The multipurpose Excel is another popular tool. It’s well known to any employee and quite configurable. However, experience shows that Excel isn’t really an appropriate tool for absence management. Besides the fact that its configuration requires too much effort, it can do a bad favor to the team. Just think of it: Anyone can edit your leave chart.

And yes, a special absence management system like actiPLANS is the third solution for efficient leave tracking. While being affordable for big and small companies, it saves managers’ time by automating leave balance calculations. Plus, it simplifies leave requesting and approval. It helps collect data on taken leaves, plan future work, and calculate leave balances. And there are systems with native mobile apps that show a team’s leaves and schedule changes. Many of them are cloud solutions, so they offer access from anywhere and prevent problems related to IT infrastructure incidents.




As we see, an efficient absence management system can eliminate many sources of headache for you and your colleagues. Think of how to manage your team’s absences, carefully analyze what tool you need, and thoroughly consider configuration and onboarding efforts. Also, take into account that expensive is not necessarily the best: free absence management solutions can work well for your team.