Absence measurement and management
This factsheet was last updated in February 2015.
Why absence from work matters
Employee absence is a significant cost to businesses. Our annual employee absence survey has data on sickness absence causes, costs and the average number of working days lost. It also looks at trends and current practices in managing absence.
Effective absence management involves finding a balance between providing support to help employees with health problems stay in and return to work, and taking consistent and firm action against employees who try to take advantage of organisations’ occupational sick pay schemes.
CIPD members can use our Absence management online tool which covers developing an absence strategy and how to deal with short-term and long term absence.
Types of absence
There are many reasons why people take time off work. These can be categorised as:
- short-term sickness absence
- long-term sickness absence
- other authorised absences, including annual leave; maternity, paternity, adoption, or parental leave; time off for public or trade union duties, or to care for dependents; compassionate leave; educational leave
- unauthorised absence or persistent lateness.
This factsheet focuses on sickness absence issues. For more information on authorised forms of absence, see our factsheet on time off work.
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- Why absence from work matters
- Measuring absence
- What absence policies need to contain
- Managing short-term absence
- Managing long-term absence
- The legal position
- CIPD viewpoint
- Useful contacts
- Further reading