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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 ?
In Standard Six, the national mean rate of absenteeism was 1.
The distribution of rates of chronic absenteeism suggests that the problem is complicated.
First, we will provide a brief discussion about the Canadian public service, show how absenteeism is a major problem, and how it is currently being discussed and addressed in the Canadian context.
Sickness absenteeism (SA) on the other hand is absence from work due to illnesses.
So although that information exists in almost every school in the United States, by and large, schools are not using it to measure chronic absenteeism.
Absenteeism researchers are increasingly emphasising the value of using socio-demographic characteristics in explanatory models of absence behaviour (Price 1995; Rosenblatt & Shirom 2005; Shirom & Rosenblatt 2006).
Across Wales the figures, which cover 2014/15, show overall absenteeism continuing to fall, dropping by 0.
Our long-term goal is to increase productivity and reduce absenteeism through our wellness journey by understanding the sick absenteeism rates in relation to the building pollutant levels.
Absenteeism is a major problem at AIIMS," an official said.
Reid, a consultant on school behavior and attendance in Wales, describes school-wide strategies for dealing with all types of absenteeism and increasing attendance in grade school through high school.
The country has one of the highest recorded rates of school absenteeism among adolescents in sub-Saharan Africa.