Home » Personal Effectiveness » The Cost of Abseenteeism in the Workplace

The Cost of Abseenteeism in the Workplace

On Sunday evening, Bade, a customer service executive in a telecom company dialed his manager’s phone number.

Bade: Good evening, Sir.

Manager: Happy Sunday, Bade.How are you?

Bade: Thank you, Sir. But, I have a terrible headache: I am not feeling well at all and won’t be able to come to work tomorrow. I intend to visit the hospital. I will be in the office on Tuesday, Sir.

Manager: Is it that serious? Have you taken any first aid? Well … what about your unfinished tasks last Friday and the report you are supposed to submit for my review 10 a.m. tomorrow? (Reluctantly) Ok ……., since you said you are not feeling well … see you on Tuesday.

Bade: (Suppressed his giggles) … Thank you, Sir.

Bade dropped. He dialed Jide’s number immediately.

Bade: Jide. How are you doing? I will keep the appointment tomorrow. I got a day off my Manager.

Jide: How were you able to do that?

Bade: Don’t worry! I sold him a dummy. I feigned sickness. I just hope I don’t get into trouble soon!

Like Bade, it is easier for employee to wake up one morning and decides that s(he) will be away from work that day. All that s(he) needs to do is to either call in sick or give some extra-terrestrial excuses to be away from work.

That is it. It is not so simple for the employer. Every act of absenteeism costs the employer and subtracts from the bottom-line. Absenteeism is the act of willfully making oneself unavailable for work without express written permission of the appropriate authority of the company, and outside the confines of the established provisions of leave entrenched in the HR policies or labour laws. When an employee is not putting in 40 hours a week as required by the common labour practice, and is not on authorized leave as provided in the HR policy of the company, such an employee is indulging in absenteeism in the workplace.

Absenteeism is commonplace counterproductive work behaviour.It is a habitual practice that employees use, and one that managers find very difficult in the workplace to tackle.

Absenteeism is a broad-based term used in the workplace for acts of omission or commission ranging from deliberating refusing to come to work and refusing to notify the company of such absence prior to staying away to tardiness and refusing to put in 40 hours a week at work.

University of Chicago considered absenteeism as “No call/no show,Pattern Absences, Scheduled Absence, Tardy, Unscheduled Absence and Unscheduled Early Departure”.

Absenteeism is a danger signal that the employee is not richly challenged by the workload or adequately motivated by the environment.

Overwork or under-work could be responsible for absenteeism.Employees do not feel the need to be present for work to put in 40 hours a week if they have less work to do at work.

Some employees are overworked.They hardly observe one hour break time during the day from Monday to Friday. When employees don’t observe their break-time, the likelihood of taking unauthorised time off work is high.

Managers, encourage your employees to observe their one-hour break time.

Bankers should structure their service in such a way that their employees,particularly the cashiers (tellers) are able to observe their one hour break time. Insider-fraud is high because employees are fatigued and burnt out working long hours, and hardly have time for work-life balance.

Bank’s operations’ staff are susceptible to the temptations of fraud, and error-rate is high because they are subjected to stressful working conditions daily.

Their personal lives suffer; their careers suffer. They are intellectually sapped, and drawn thin, and their moral capacity and sense of ethical judgment to distinguish between right and wrong is dulled, making them susceptible to criminal tendencies,if the regulatory operating environment is weak.

Some employees suffer harassment. Some are victims of workplace bully. They are harassed by their bosses, they are harassed by their customers, and they are harassed by their work.

The workplace is not congenial, so they see no reason to go to work every Monday morning. They look forward to Friday. They are quick to develop headache or some other types of aches that will keep them away from work. They don’t want to quit yet because they need the salaries, but if they have their way, they will stop going to work.

Lack of personal effectiveness on the part of the employees who cannot plan their lives is also a major cause of absenteeism.

Employees who cannot organize their lives, who are weighed down by domestic problems and find it difficult to concentrate on their career are easy preys to absenteeism.

People who are under-challenged,overworked, harassed and/or lack the skills of personal effectiveness are generally susceptible to absenteeism, particularly on Fridays.

More often than not, these people call in sick on Monday morning,Wednesday morning or Friday morning: they don’t come to work,and use these days to rest, catch up with pressing personal issues or run around for their personal things. Some close

Others just disappear from their desk for long hours without justifications.

It is the company that suffers,when employees indulge in these acts of absenteeism. The employer carries some costs when employees ignore the provisions of the HR policies for authorized absenteeism and indulge in taking days off work.

These are some of the direct and indirect costs of absenteeism that erode the company’s capability for effective service delivery and profitability:

1. Cost of Service Delivery
2. Cost of Productivity
3 Cost of Job Effectiveness
4. Cost of Manager’s Supervision
5. Cost of Suitable Temporary
6. Cost of Employee.
7. Cost of Process-for-Absenteeism.
8. Cost of Instituting Discipline.
9. Cost of Managing Disruptive
Interruption to Service Delivery.
10. Cost of Training Temporary

Instead of indulging in willful absenteeism, employees can explore the various authorized leave options in the labour law such as casual, compassionate,sick, and annual leave as applicable within the 365 days of the calendar year.

Any leave outside these statutory leave is disruptive and costs the company lost-time, money and goes to depreciate employeevalue and the bottom-line.

Become an employee that adds value.Learn to manage your life,and focus on building your career.

The company should institute a clear-cut policy on absenteeism and tardiness in the workplace. It should define its tolerance level of absenteeism, and ensure that at the point of joining the company,employees understand that the company is merit-driven and as such will not entertain absenteeism in any form, colour or shade.

Managers should be trained by the HR team to recognize the early signals of absenteeism and create an engaging work environment that eliminates the causes of absenteeism.

The company should make the workplace attractive to come into,and sustain the interests of the employees to want to stay and put in the requisite production hours.

The company should also create an attendance system, particularly one that is technology driven that assists it to track time in, and time out in order to compute the requisite 40 hours a week input for all employees.

The work environment and leadership supervision should be configured in such a way that attendance is properly managed,punctuality is monitored and non-compliance is rewarded in line with the company’s policy on absenteeism.

Absenteeism is cancerous. If it is not eliminated, it can lead to institutional decadence. If your company must be productive,successful and profitable, your HR team must learn to motivate your employees and deal with absenteeism in the workplace.

Author: Babatunde Ayoola Fajimi
p502.shtml . Accessed and downloaded on
Sunday, July 28, 2013

Article originally published on https://businesskairos.wordpress.com/2013/07/29/the-cost-of-absenteeism-in-the-workplace/



  1. Great post about absenteeism. Absenteeism is a two-edge sword!

    One edge of the sword is based on the attitude of the individual to his or her workplace while the other edge is the attitude of management or manager as the case may be to the individual involved.

    Absenteeism is an indicator, Read here: http://tinyurl.com/nmsjyr2


  2. Cornelia says:

    So true absenteeism is like a deadly virus in the workplace as it slowly destroys the Organisation.


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