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Small Majority of Employers Track Absence-Related Costs

By SHRM Online staff  8/26/2011

Most organizations do not track indirect costs of employee absences—overtime pay, business disruption, product delivery lags—even as senior managers are moderately concerned about those unplanned and extended absences, according to findings from a new poll from the Society for Human Resource Management.

The online poll of 302 randomly selected HR professionals among SHRM’s membership was conducted in June 2011. It revealed that 79 percent of organizations track employee absences and another 3 percent plan to do so in 2012. However, more than half do not track the indirect costs from employees’ sick days or other unplanned absences (61 percent) or from short-term disability or other extended absences (53 percent).

Among organizations that keep track of employee absences, a large majority (87 percent) separate the information by unplanned absences such as sick days as opposed to planned absences, such as vacations and holidays, and extended absences such as short-term disability and workers’ compensation-related time off.

Among other findings:

57 percent of senior managers are moderately concerned about unplanned absences.

53 percent of senior managers are moderately concerned about the indirect costs of extended employee absences.

Training HR and Line Managers

More than two-thirds of respondents indicated that appropriate staff, such as HR and line managers, receive training or updates as needed on legal and administrative developments regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA) or other relevant leave laws; 27 percent receive such training annually; 26 percent receive training every few years; and 8 percent receive training several times per year.

Related Articles:

Absence Control Is a Challenge, Studies Find, SHRM Online Employee Relations Discipline, April 2009

Related Resources:

Absence and Leave Management Training for Supervisors, SHRM Tools and Templates/Sample Presentation, November 2009

Managing Employee Attendance, SHRM Research, June 2009

Take Control of Employee Absenteeism and the Associated Costs, Mercer, October 2008

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