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Top tips for monitoring and reducing employee absence levels

The 18th January is Blue Monday...which many believe to be the most depressing day of the year due to a combination of post-Christmas blues, cold dark nights and credit card bills rolling in.

Peter Mooney, Head of Employment Law at ELAS said: “Blue Monday is a time when unauthorised staff absences increase exponentially as employees try to get back into their normal routine after a busy Christmas break”. 

Research however indicates that many unauthorised absences occur throughout the whole month of January.

Tackling high employee absence levels creates opportunities to generate cost savings, improve productivity levels and boost employee engagement.

Here are some top tips for helping monitor and reduce absence levels in your organisation:

  • Adopt a flexible approach: Enabling employees to book time off and make working time adjustments that suit changes to their own personal situations is important. Specialist technologies exist that allow this to be achieved easily and accurately – reducing admin time while empowering employees to make changes to the shifts they work. This can prevent employees from feeling that ‘pulling a sickie’ is their only option when requiring time off work at short notice.
  • Reduce your overtime levels: Long working hours can cause soaring stress levels and fatigue leading to employee burnout and high sickness rates. Reduce your reliance on overtime by understanding demand profiles and planning working time more accurately. Create working patterns that meet the required business demand, but also minimise overworking and meet the aspirations of your employees to improve their work/life balanc
  • Provide incentives for high attendance levels: Rewarding bonuses to employees who do not take any sick days within a given time period shows you are committed to and continually monitoring attendance levels.


A proven example:

PPG Architectural Coatings EMEA created low, mid and high season rotas to ensure demand was met throughout the year. This removed the requirement for overtime and enabled employees to enjoy a better work/life balance with increased leisure time and rest periods. The benefits achieved through changing their working patterns were significant. Overtime costs fell from £750k to £0 and sickness absence fell from 11% to just 1.84%. 

Case study



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