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A Guide to Absence Management

1 February 2023 6 min read

absence management

Absence management is a key part of any organisation’s day-to-day operations, but for larger or disjointed teams, managing absence effectively can be a challenge if you’re relying on manual processes to capture sickness tracking.

What is absence management?

Absence management is the process of recording all of your employees’ absences from work.

Absences may be caused by sickness, stress or other health-related issues which mean an employee needs to take time off work to recover.

While it’s inevitable that employees will need to take time off from work from time to time, absence management helps organisations gain a clearer picture of who is off and when. This helps to resource plan effectively so that an absent employee’s workload is covered by another member of the team – something which is especially important to do in instances where someone is off during a particularly busy period or multiple people are absent on the same day.

Why is absence management important?

Absence management is important because it allows organisations to have visibility of who is off work, when and for how long. This helps teams to improve their resource planning to ensure things stay on track even when people are off.

Managing absence in your organisation effectively starts with having a sickness management procedure in place. An absence management policy lets employees and people managers know the procedures in place in the event of someone having to take time off due to illness. You can read more about how to create a policy here.

Understanding absence patterns in your organisation is also important where interventions may be needed. If someone is taking a lot of absences, tracking this accurately ensures that it is noticed and can be addressed. If an employee is struggling for whatever reason, capturing their absence data can help to highlight it so that their people manager or HR can open up a conversation. For example, if someone has been off sick three times in the last 12 months, it may be time to check in with them to see how they’re doing.

What is an absence rate?

An absence rate, absenteeism rate or absence percentage is the rate of unplanned absences that occur due to sickness or other reasons. An absence rate can be measured for an individual employee, a team, department or across an entire organisation.

In 2021 in the UK, the national absence rate was 2.2%, up from 1.8% in 2020.

What is absence management software?

Absence management software, also known as an absence management system, is a platform designed to log and monitor all instances of sickness absence in your organisation. When someone calls in sick, this can be quickly logged in the system, along with the reason for the absence. Triggers and alerts can be set up to remind people managers to check in on the employee, provide wellbeing resources to aid in their recovery, and to ensure a smooth return to work process.

See how edays can help you manage absence effectively

edays provides organisations with one configurable system to track absences. Through automated processes and actionable people insights, edays empowers people managers to understand and address absences when they occur in their teams, leading to a healthier, more productive workforce.

Book a personalised demo to learn more

Georgina at edays
February 1, 2023

Georgina Mackintosh is an accomplished copywriter and marketing professional with a background that spans several industries. Her writing focuses on HR topics such as employee wellbeing, engagement and experience - as well as absence management best practice, how-to guides and news from the HR sector.