HRM and absence Management - Essay Example

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Absence management is a controversial issue as the employers have a duty to care for their employees when they phone in sick. No employer would force the workers to attend work when they are genuinely sick…
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HRM and absence Management
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Download file to see previous pages In fact in some organizations a culture of absence exists, contends Hayton (2010). It has been found that regular illness occurs on a Monday or a Friday although Monday is a better option for an extended weekend with absenteeism being recorded at 35% against 3 percent on Fridays (Gray, 2010). However, the Office for National Statistics finds that that days lost to sickness were fairly evenly spread across the weekdays (Barham & Begum, 2005). Employers are becoming aware of the direct and indirect cost to organization due to high levels of absenteeism. If absenteeism is left unchecked it impacts organizational morale and productivity (HRM Guide, 2001). Organizations now do have absence management policies but these policies must examine the causes of absence and take remedial action. While devising the policies it must be recognized that employees can be genuinely ill also. Hayday (2006) contends that a certain amount of absence is a part of working life and any absent management policy must provide support to those who are legitimately absent. At the same time non-legitimate absence has to be discouraged because absenteeism is proving to be costly for both private and public organizations. The cost of sick-notes in the UK has reached GBP 750 million in lost working days (Macnab, 2011). The number of workers facing disciplinary action has doubled since 2010 and thousands of workers have been dismissed because of poor attendance. More than 17 million days have been lost as a result of workers reporting sick over the last five years. The situation is the same in both the private and the public sector, says Macnab but Thomas (2010) contends that the absence costs are higher in the public sector at ?685 per head for 2009 against ?455 in the private sector services and ?545 in manufacturing and production. NHS Lothian faced a loss of GBP 17 million due to absenteeism in the past five years. Unscheduled worker absenteeism results in about 2 to 4 percent loss of working time (Bridges & Mumford, 2001). A study of absenteesim across genders reveals that women with dependents are less likely to be absent but those with children below the age of 2 years would frequently absent from work. One of the most respected surveys of UK absence conducted by CBI/Pfizer Absence and workplace health survey revealed that the economy lost 190 million working days to absence in 2010 with each employee taking about 6.4 days of sick on an average (Paton, 2011). This results in direct cost of ?17 billion to the economy while it does not include the indirect cost such as lower customer service and reduced productivity. Another survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers argues that the average UK salary stands at ?25,000 which means the absenteeism was costing the economy approximately ?32 billion per year based on the finding that an average worker took about ten days of unscheduled absence. This figure too does not take into account the potential replacement costs and the lost productivity. The survey results may differ on the figures but what is evident is that unscheduled absenteeism is taking a toll on businesses and demands immediate attention. One in three workers in the UK abuse sick days at work costing the UK economy some ?32 billion (Clarke, 2011). However, handovers and good weather are cited as reasons for absenteeism. Some even plan their vacations in advance and fake symptoms by appearing for work with props to justify their sickness. This report by PwC suggests that a large part of this loss is preventable. One of the ways is to introduce flexible working hours. Hayday (2006) divides the causes of absence under four clusters – health and lifestyle, attitude and stress, workplace, and domestic and kinship. ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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