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Tracking Absences: A Guide for Human Resources Employers

6 min read
Tracking absences

Tracking absences in the workplace can be challenging at times. Of course, taking time off is sometimes unavoidable. Employees may take absences for sick leave, bereavement, child care or sometimes they just need a well-deserved rest and holiday. Today we’re going to look at how you can keep track of these employee absences. Keep reading to learn more.

What is employee absenteeism? 

Absenteeism refers to habitual workplace absence that is typically unplanned and unannounced. Although every worker misses work from time to time, it’s crucial to know the difference between absenteeism and other types of absences when creating your leave of absence policy. There are two main types of absences that are important to distinguish between.

Excused absences

Everyone occasionally needs to take time off from work. For example, this could be due to a sudden illness, family leave or personal leave. These are just some examples that can be unannounced but are legitimate and therefore likely to be excused by an employer. Holiday leave and foreseeable medical absences are likely to be planned in advance and also excused by employers. Nonetheless, they will still require you to manage holiday requests in a similar way. 

Unexcused absences 

Absenteeism is usually defined as chronic or habitual absence without good reason. However, the majority of people aren’t aware that things like lateness, early departures, and even extended lunches also come under this heading. These sorts of “absence” are unexcused and not legitimate.  

Cost of Absenteeism 

A consequence of absenteeism is that it becomes costly for both employers and employees. Therefore, businesses should consider the direct and indirect costs when calculating salaries over the payroll period

Direct Costs

When absences go unnoticed, the employer may be left paying the salary for working time that has not been complete; this is a result of poor absence management practices. Additional direct costs include those from managing paid time off, as well as overtime or replacement worker costs to cover the absences. Furthermore, a direct cost to the employee may be that they are not paid for taking time off or may even, ultimately, lose their job. 

Indirect costs 

Indirect costs of absence to the employer can have a big impact on a business and its workforce. Firstly, there is the issue of lost productivity from within the company, which may affect overall profits. Secondly, work may be delayed, meaning deadlines are not being met and projects are falling behind targets. 

As such, it is important to keep track of employee absences. Yet, you might be wondering “How do I track employee attendance?” A simple way is by using an employee absence tracker

Tracking Absences

So what is an attendance tracker? To put it simply, an absenteeism tracking absences tool helps any manager or employee keep a close eye on staff attendance. This can be very beneficial to businesses for a number of reasons. These include: 

Beneficial for employer and employee 

The employee absence tracker is useful for employers to keep an eye on employee attendance. However, it’s also beneficial for employees. It allows both parties to keep an eye on attendance and absences. Furthermore, it is all kept on record, so everyone is in the loop. 

Rates of absenteeism 

Not only does the tool record attendance, but it also offers an easy and efficient way of calculating the rate of absence in a business. This will include the incident rate, which will specify the inactivity and severity of each absence the staff takes. So, when making monthly or annual reports, the tool is at hand and ready to pull essential data from. 

Reduction in costs 

Using the tracker will provide a self-checking tool for both employers and employees so that both can keep an eye on their attendance record. Therefore, it will serve to reduce direct and indirect costs to the employer and increase workplace productivity. 

Employee Absence Tracker Excel Templates

Attempts at tracking employee absences have been done with in-house spreadsheets, lists, databases, specialist software and more. Yet, these can often be difficult to follow and cumbersome. But fear not, we’ve created an employee absence template tracker. It is easy to use and doesn’t have to be integrated with another program. So, how does it work? 

Step 1: Download the template to tracking the absences of your employees

Step 2: Enter the month you will be using the tracker for. Next, add your employees into the spreadsheet alphabetically, or by works number, so they are easy to find. 

Step 3: Input the necessary information regarding absence, including the reason and type, next to the name of the employee in question. 

Step 4: Colour code your tracker to customise the type of absence. This will make it easier to follow and interpret. For example, bereavement leave could be blue, whereas holiday leave could be red. This way, it’s much easier to read with just one look. 

Step 5: Now your absence tracker is up and running, you can create a “track employee absences calendar”. This can work side by side with your employee absence tracker excel. It may be useful for listing important dates, as well as the absences and time off employees are taking. 

Tracking Absences

Managing Employee Absences

After tracking attendance with the employee absence tracker 2020, you may notice that absenteeism is a problem in your business. If unfortunately, this is the case, you need to know the best ways to deal with it. There are a number of actions you can take in the form of absence control programs.  


Incentive plans consist of a number of measures that encourage workers to take fewer absences. For example, cash incentives include attendance bonuses and non-cash incentives may include recognising employees’ hard work through certificates or communication. Incentives can help increase morale and ensure your workforce is coming into the office. 

Verification of illness

You may decide to take the measure of asking employees to provide verification of illness. This could be implemented when an employee is taking a large amount of unexcused sick time. For example, asking for a doctor’s note to verify the illness would be of use in this case.

Time off policies 

A good way to manage the problem of absences is to establish adequate sick leave and excused absence policies. This may help to solve any gray areas in time off and remove the stigma of unauthorised absences in some cases. 

Performance improvement plans

These plans are in place to help teach employees to be more self-aware regarding their time. Above all, their aim is to make the workers more accountable for their time and consequently take less unexcused absences. 

Legal Issues 

Of course, when establishing, implementing and enforcing such control programs, there is some legislation that you must be aware of and take into account. 

Wage and hour laws

Employers need to make sure that their policies regarding absences are in line with the United Kingdom’s labour laws including the National Minimum Wage Act and the Working Time Regulations. These laws are in place to provide a minimum hourly wage and to limit excessively long working hours. You must make sure that when making absence-related deductions from employee pay, they are in compliance with the correct laws for employees. 

Paid sick leave law

In the UK the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) by law requires employers to pay employees when sick, as long as they meet the eligibility conditions. To qualify for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) you must: be classed as an employee and have previously done some work for your employer, earn on average at least £120 a week and have been ill self-isolating or shielding for a minimum of 4 days in a row.

Time off for family and dependents

In the UK eligible employees are allowed time off to deal with an emergency involving a dependant. A dependant is classified as someone who depends on you for care, this could be a parent, spouse, partner, child, or grandchild. Your employer may pay you for this leave, however in some cases they may not legally be obliged to, this will be stated in your contract. If you are not provided with time off for dependents, your employer may allow you compassionate leave. This is defined as paid or unpaid leave used for emergency situations.

Worker’s Compensation for injuries at work

In the UK, injuries that occur at work are covered by the workers’ compensation insurance. The requirements involve you provide proof that the injury or illness was attained at work or as a direct result from work. The UK, along with most European countries have a list of occupational-related injuries and how they are associated with potential hazards within the workplace.

After reading this guide you should be up to speed with all the necessary information for tracking employee absences. What’s more, you should now be able to use the employee absence tracker 2020/free with ease.

✅Easily Track Employee Holidays & Absences with Factorial!

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