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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.
Farlex Financial Dictionary. © 2012 Farlex, Inc. All Rights Reserved


  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.

Collins Dictionary of Business, 3rd ed. © 2002, 2005 C Pass, B Lowes, A Pendleton, L Chadwick, D O’Reilly and M Afferson


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.
Collins Dictionary of Economics, 4th ed. © C. Pass, B. Lowes, L. Davies 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
Adzuna.co.uk surveyed more than 3,500 employees to find out how many had 'pulled a sickie' in each UK region in 2017 and found that shockingly 18 per cent of respondents in the north west admitting to doing so at least once in 2017 because they wanted a rest or duvet day.
Joe Slavin, CEO of fish4, commented: "We all know Brits work the longest hours in Europel and it's clear from the survey that workers are resorting to pulling a sickie for all sorts of reasons.
Employers were urged to stop people pulling a "sickie" after new research revealed an increase in workplace absence at an estimated cost to the economy of pounds 13.4 billion.
There have been many high profile cases of people being caught out on social media after chucking a sickie. ( ANI )
Private sector staff had an average of just 6.4 sickies.
A pounds 4.2m bill for teachers putting in sickie (Examiner, January 7).
MOST firms were hit by staff pulling a "sickie" last week due to the hot weather, a report claimed yesterday.
Employees are being urged to stop people pulling a "sickie" after new research revealed an increase in workplace absence at an estimated cost to the economy of pounds 13.4 billion.
Most of you probably work with someone who takes lots of sickies and will be only too aware that it's pretty hard to stop people making up spurious excuses for not turning in.
Managers told the CBI that they suspected workers faked an illness to take a Monday or Friday off work and many employers said there was a link between sickies and holidays and sporting events.
The CBI's director of human resources policy, Susan Anderson, said some people believed they had a right to use sickies for a long weekend or an extended holiday.
A nationwide outbreak of winter blues is forecast to strike Britain today, leading to hundreds of thousands of people taking "sickies" from work.