Reducing Employee Absenteeism – 4 Approaches to Consider

Reducing Employee Absenteeism – 4 Approaches to Consider

Ask any business owner what is the most pressing problem when it comes to productivity. The majority will tell you that it’s workplace absenteeism. Workplace absenteeism is unavoidable. It’s only natural that employees will be absent from work. To what degree they are absent is a matter of discussion.


Reducing Employee Absenteeism

When addressing workplace absenteeism, business and management must ask themselves, “Are our employees absent because they don’t like their job or are they having serious personal issues?” Determining the underlying factors are causing employee absenteeism, they must find a practical approach towards reversing the trend to days away from the desk.

Workplace absenteeism can be attributed to personal problems.

The magnitude of personal and family issues can hamper an employee’s commitment to their job and overall productivity. Personal problems can be financial, interpersonal or even health related. Instead of threatening employees with termination, employers now offer assistance programs. These programs offer employees services to help them deal with issues confronting them.

As much as personal problems contribute to excessive employee absenteeism, workplace environment can be a factor too. Workplace environment includes inept management, toxic employees, excessive workload, poor communication, and unorthodox business practices. Such factors cause confusion, fear, lack of confidence, anger, and outright revolt. These factors serve as the reason why employees choose to stay away from work.

There’s plenty of published research supporting claims why supervisor conflicts are grounds why employees quit their jobs. It is important that managers that are properly trained not only in their trade but convey excellent communication and interpersonal skills.

Constantly seeking effective ways to reduce employee absenteeism, managers and HR departments have come up with several ideas. Ideas which prove to be effective include, creating a written policy, address management expectations, hold employees accountable for their actions, acknowledge exceptional attendance and offer employee outreach programs.


Attendance Protocol

1. Corporate Attendance Protocol

Create an attendance protocol that addresses the organization’s position. Explicitly define terms such as tardiness, late and overdue. Explain the parameters associated with being tardy, late, and overdue, and what constitutes their application to specific situations. Initiate stringent time and date standards defining excessive employee absenteeism.

Case in point, tardiness may be defined as arriving for work 15 minutes late. Late is arriving for work 30 minutes after a designated start time and overdue is arriving 60 minutes from when being expected. Excessive absenteeism is described as not reporting for work leaving work early or unexcused absences so many days within a calendar month or year.


Define Attendance Expectations

2. Define Attendance Expectations

Hold individual meetings or group discussions with the workforce addressing the workplace employee attendance requirements and expectations. Employee attendance protocol shall be seamless and any change in set protocol shall be at the discretion of the business owner or management.

Require employees during employee orientation or annual review to sign off on the attendance protocol. Inform all employees unforeseen absences are acceptable, but limitations exist. Discuss participation in the employee assistance program if absences continue.

3. Recognize Stellar Attendance

Recognize employees for perfect attendance records during quarterly periods or annually. Make attendance an instrumental cog in the performance review process. Discuss with employees how attendance, productivity, and compensation are linked.

Acknowledge stellar attendance with job promotions, compensation, and perks, such as extra vacation time. Make perfect attendance employees a shining example of productivity and show to others the value of attending work.


Employee Outreach Programs

4. Employee Outreach Programs

Employee dismissal tied to an absentee issue is not always the best solution. Dismissal places a burden on other employees to pick up the dismissed employee’s workload. It forces HR administrators to search for a replacement which is time-consuming and costs money.

Either by offering an in-house or an outplacement employee outreach program, employees can find possible solutions to their personal issues. By reaching out the employee, they feel their employer cares about them and wants to help them succeed on the clock and off the clock too. Some employees become isolated, fell all alone and resort to absenteeism to counter their personal issues.

Absenteeism creates a wall between the employee and management. It stifles communication and productivity. Outreach programs start a conversation between the organization and the employee. Job reassignment, counseling, and flex-time work scheduling are options towards resolving absenteeism.



Credit for this small business article goes to NECHES FCU, Port Neches, TX.
Neches FCU is a Texas Credit Union with a long history of service to it’s wide base of members. Their core objective is one of “Ultimate Member Satisfaction.” They are well-known for an enthusiastic work atmosphere, delivering a memorable service experience, and where members are known by name.

Unpaid Internship, Hands-On Learning or Free Labor?

Unpaid Internship, Hands-On Learning or Free Labor?

Internships can be rewarding to both the organization as well as the intern who is able to gain valuable experience towards obtaining lucrative employment. However, sometimes an unpaid internship can become unbalanced and benefit the employer more than the intern, which prompts some to question whether interns should be paid the same as employees. To determine if and when an unpaid intern should receive payment for their efforts, the courts passed the primary beneficiary test.


Employee Classification

Why the Need For Classification?

In 2011, two previous unpaid interns took legal action against Fox Searchlight, a separate film division of 20th Century Fox, declaring they should have been paid the same base salary and overtime as other employees. In 2013, New York Federal District Court approved the collective action in relation to their Fair Labor Standards Act claim. Since then, there have been various class action suits filed by individuals, namely in the media, entertainment and retail fields. Fox Searchlight went on to appeal the case to the Second Circuit.

Second Circuit Appeal

During the appeal, the Second Circuit struggled with determining the instances in which an individual qualifies as an unpaid intern or employee, during which time, the plaintiffs, Fox Searchlight and the DOL urged the courts to mandate a test that would determine classification.

Fox Searchlight suggested a primary beneficiary test, based on who holds the major advantage during the internship, while the plaintiffs suggested a test in which classification was based on who held the immediate advantage. The US Department of Labor (DOL) suggested the courts require a set of factors be set similar to the factors outlined in the Intern Fact sheet to determine classification.

The Second Circuit took each suggestion into consideration before successfully passing the employer-friendly primary beneficiary test.


Circuit Court Judge

The Second Circuit Passes the Employer-Friendly Primary Beneficiary Test

The court embraced Fox Searchlight’s primary beneficiary test because of its capacity to take into consideration the role of internships in today’s economy and the economic disparity between intern and employee, which provides sufficient flexibility. The Second Circuit also went on to abandon the lower court’s ruling granting a collective action, which relied on common proof, for the highly individualized approach of the primary beneficiary test, which analyzes each intern based on their experience.

Employer-Friendly Primary Beneficiary Factors

According to the courts, when applying the employer-friendly primary beneficiary test, these factors should apply:

  • – The extent to which the intern and the employer clearly understand that there is no expectation of compensation. Any promise of compensation, express or implied, suggests that the intern is an employee-and vice versa.
  • – The extent to which the internship provides training that would be similar to that which would be given in an educational environment, including the clinical and other hands-on training provided by educational institutions.
  • – The extent to which the internship is tied to the intern’s formal education program by integrated course-works or the receipt of academic credit.
  • – The extent to which the internship accommodates the intern’s academic commitments by corresponding to the academic calendar.
  • – The extent to which the internship’s duration is limited to the period in which the internship provides the intern with beneficial learning.
  • – The extent to which the intern’s work compliment’s, rather than displaces, the work of paid employees while providing significant educational benefits to the intern.
  • – The extent to which the intern and the employer understand that the internship is conducted without entitlement to a paid job at the conclusion of the internship.

Furthermore, the courts concur that “every factor need not point in the same direction for the court to conclude that the intern is not an employee…” This means that no single factor will be used to determine the settlement. The courts may also rely upon other relevant court cases and evidence to analyze these factors.

This employment law article was provided to inform and protect businesses like yours from compliance problems. When you’ve got employees, you must have quality labor law protection. If you’re operating from Coral Springs, use one of these labor posters for complete compliance protection. Their in-house legal staff works tirelessly to keep their employment posters updated for their clients security and peace of mind.


Interpreting a decision

What Does It All Mean?

The Second Circuit’s ruling has made it easier for the courts to classify whether an intern should be paid as an employee or not. Since the ruling, many employers have responded by revamping their internship programs or paying their interns, which means the number of intern class and collective action law suits should decline.

In the meantime, it is suggested that employers re-evaluate their unpaid internship program to ensure the intern is the “primary beneficiary” of the internship. They should also work closely with supervisors to ensure compliance with the Second Circuit’s guidance is adhered to. Lastly, employers should ensure interns receive the same beneficial learning and credit as they would in an academic setting. They should also ensure that the internship has a precise end date. Implementing these tips will help employers construct an ethical unpaid internship program that benefits both the employer and the intern.