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A situation in which a large number of workers consistently do not come to work, especially for illegitimate reasons. Absenteeism implies that the workers are not terminated for their actions. It can be a sign of poor management.


  1. the level of unsanctioned absences from work in an organization.
  2. chronic unsanctioned absence from work by individuals.

    Absence from work may be sanctioned by managers in advance for certain reasons (for example for a forthcoming visit to the dentist), or may be sanctioned subsequently (for example for illness – see SICK PAY). The difficulty arises where there are no acceptable reasons for absence or where managers believe the excuses tendered to be untrue.

    In theory, DISCIPLINARY PROCEDURES can be activated but it can be difficult to prove that employees were absent without due cause. Managers could visit absentees at home to establish the facts but this can be time-consuming and counter-productive since it can indicate to committed employees that they are not trusted. Whilst punishing absence can be difficult, measures can be taken to encourage attendance, such as extra pay (see ATTENDANCE BONUS). A high level of absenteeism is often seen as an indicator of the quality of a workforce but it can equally be an indicator of poor working conditions. Improvement of the latter may also reduce absenteeism.


unsanctioned absences from work by employees. The level of absenteeism in a particular firm often reflects working conditions and morale amongst workers in that firm and affects the firm's PRODUCTIVITY. See SUPPLY-SIDE ECONOMICS.
References in periodicals archive ?
Sardar Sher Bhadur told to media that they will send a detailed report regarding the negligence of the district administration staffer from duty to the Commissioner Hazara and provincial government with the recommendations to take strict action against all those found absent.
But he insisted: "We are referring absent children to the local authority.
As a result, the district administration was asked to carry out inspections in all primary schools and recommend appropriate action against those found absent from duty.
A small number of other absent pupils have been diagnosed with swine flu.
3 : showing a lack of attention <an absent stare>
Absent Pleasure lines up for the 7f Iveco Stralis Conditions Stakes (3.
After the survey was completed, each survey officer asked the teacher the names of students absent on that day ("absent students").
But then I came across a commencement speech by a graduating senior from Bowdoin College in 2001, entitled "Maine's Absent Presence.
The country is notorious as an anarchic zone where ruthless warlords push around pitiful peasants and government is completely absent.