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- the level of unsanctioned absences from work in an organization.
- 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.