The recent “Wellness in the Workplace Survey” carried out by Southern Cross Health Society and Gallagher Basset has revealed that one in five employers believe staff take paid absence as an occasional perk, with “sickies”.
The survey showed that 15% of New Zealanders admit to taking sick leave for non-genuine sickness. It also reveals that those in the 20-30 age bracket were the most likely of any age group to take non-genuine leave. This is then followed by the 31-40 group, then 41-50; with older workers and those under 20 years the least likely. These “sickies” is accountable for 303,000 lost days of work each year.
While it is impossible to identify the exact level of non-genuine sickness absence, this information should prompt businesses to look at workplace culture; the degree to which “sickies” are taken; and how the issue could be addressed.
The first step in managing sick leave, is to ensure all employees understand the business’ sick leave policy and the consequences of violating it. When it comes to identifying misuse of sick leave, patterns could be one of the earliest warning signs that an employee is taking sick leave when they aren’t actually sick. The best approach for an employer who suspects repeated misuse of sick leave is to visually track and assess the trends then arrange a meeting with the employee.
The employer can use the data that has been recorded and discuss the impact that the pattern is having – not only on the employees own work performance but also that of their colleagues. The data will assist in starting a conversation and identifying whether there are other issues at play or whether the leave is genuine.
At Datacom, we have the ability to assist employers with monitoring absenteeism. The Bradford University undertook research into absenteeism and its connection to workplace productivity. This research eventually led to the development of the “Bradford Factor”, which provides a score for each employee, indicating the level of absenteeism over the preceding period. The Bradford Factor score can be calculated from the number of absences and the total days absent during the preceding year.
All of the required information for a Bradford Factor score calculation exists within your payroll system and so it is relatively straight forward to produce a report from DataPay that will allow you to monitor absenteeism. The score can then be used to trigger investigation into high scores and any subsequent action.
It is important to look at sick leave trends to identify if there are any core issues which could be addressed. Contact us if you would like some assistance from us to configure reports to monitor absenteeism in your organisation.