What Is Employee Absenteeism? Effects, Causes, And Solutions

Workplace absenteeism is a common occurrence that costs the US economy $84 billion per year. If you’re a manager, supervisor, or team leader, you’ve probably dealt with absenteeism. You should be aware that employees will be absent from time to time, for reasons such as vacations, illness, and family emergencies. 

In this article, we’ll look at what absenteeism is, how it impacts businesses, what causes it, and how to deal with it.

What Is Absenteeism In The Workplace?

When an employee is habitually and frequently absent from work, this is referred to as absenteeism. Missing work, on the other hand, becomes a problem for the organization when an employee is absent frequently and/or abruptly, especially if the employee is paid while absent. Absenteeism can be particularly problematic if an employee is absent during busy periods or when major project deadlines are approaching.

What Are The Impact Of Absenteeism?

Workplace absenteeism has a huge negative impact. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that absenteeism costs US businesses $225.8 billion in lost productivity each year. This equates to about $1.685 per employee.

Employee absenteeism has a range of effects in the workplace, all of which can be costly in terms of productivity, finances, and general morale.

Decreased Productivity

The absence of one employee has an impact on the entire team’s productivity. Their co-workers will not only have to cover the work of the missing employee, but they will also have to catch up on their own work afterward. If an employee is unable to work, they are unable to contribute to a company’s growth and success.

Financial Loss For Both The Company And The Employee

Employee absence costs an average of £522 per year per employee, with absenteeism costing the UK economy £21 billion in 2020. When an employee is absent, the company must pay for the costs of replacing that employee, as well as the administrative costs and overtime (if necessary).

Negative Workplace Culture

The absence of a single employee can cause a lot of tension in the workplace over time. Coworkers who have been covering the workload may grow resentful of the absent coworker or feel taken advantage of, and management may become stressed as a result of the frequent absences.

Demoralized And Demotivated Worker

The employee’s stress level is likely to rise depending on the reason for their absences from the cause, the missed work, and the missed paychecks. The stress of one employee can easily spread to another, resulting in a breakdown in employee motivation and morale across the team.

What Causes Absenteeism?

Employees may miss work or be less engaged and productive at work for a variety of reasons, some of which are easier to identify and resolve than others. Most employees skip work for one of the following reasons, according to studies and surveys

Workplace Injuries

Accidents can happen in the workplace or off, resulting in missed work. Chronic injuries, such as back and neck disorders, are a significant source of absenteeism in addition to acute injuries.

Mental Health Issues

Employee stress results in the loss of nearly 11 million workdays, whether the stress is caused by employee burnout or overwork, or by familial, financial, or personal issues.

Long-Term Diseases And Major Illnesses

When an employee suffers from a significant illness, they'll require time off work to recover. To facilitate routine medical appointments, an employee with a long-term medical condition may require a specialized work environment or greater scheduling flexibility.

Stress, Burnout, And Low Morale

Employees may avoid going to work because of heavy workloads, stressful meetings and/or presentations, and sentiments of unappreciation. Absenteeism can also be caused by personal circumstances outside of the workplace.

Disengagement With The Team And Management

When an employee doesn't appreciate or agree with their management team, becomes enraged after a poor interaction with leadership, or disagrees with their company's decisions, they may be disengaged and skip work to avoid the situation or the stress that comes with it.

How Can Absenteeism Be Reduced?

Although many of the causes of absenteeism are beyond your control, there are a few steps you can take to reduce your company’s absence rate and improve the overall employee experience:

Enhance Workplace Flexibility

Offering flexible working hours is a great way to improve your employees’ well-being and attachment to the company. More flexibility in the workplace, whether through work-from-home choices, flex hours, or schedules that can be altered to family demands, can considerably assist those who routinely miss work due to family concerns.

Enhance Employee And Workplace Well-being

A company that prioritises its employees’ physical and mental health will have a more productive workforce. They have fewer sick days and are less likely to call in sick as a result of their improved health.

Provide Balance, Rewards, And Appreciation

A company should provide a reward program for good attendance. Recognizing outstanding performance is the first step toward effective staff management.  As a result, you will increase the sense of ownership among your employees.

Conduct Interviews For Return-To-Work

A return-to-work interview can assist an employee in reintegrating into their employment by providing an opportunity to explore relevant issues and develop a strategy to reduce absenteeism.

Health Examinations

Employees can benefit from timely examinations for disorders such as high blood pressure, diabetes and colorectal cancer are two examples of disorders that can be detected before they become severe. These tests benefit employees because they keep them healthy and reduce absenteeism.


This concludes our overview on workplace absenteeism. Absence behavior has a variety of causes as well as a variety of consequences. The important thing to remember is that high absenteeism almost never occurs in isolation. Other reasons, such as a worker’s feeling of being ignored by management, an unfavorable company culture, mismanagement, or other causes, are frequently present.

About Us

Knowella AI Inc. offers an industry-leading digital solution to managing EHS&Q. We provide workers, supervisors, EHS&Q professionals, and top-level management the tools they need to improve workplace safety. We use AI-powered data analysis to optimize your approach to EHS&Q, resulting in lower operating costs and quantifiable improvements to your safety performance.

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