Managing employees: The HR essentials all employers and managers need to know!


Video Six – Absence Management – When Employees are Missing in Action

Kath: – Hi everyone, welcome to the sixth video in our series of HR Essentials: Managing Employees, All Employers Need to Know. I’m joined again today by Paulette McCormack from Fresh HR Insights and I’m Kath from Compass Business Support. Welcome Paulette.

Paulette: – Thanks very much for having me along today. It’s been a pleasure to come along.

Yeah, absolutely. Well we’ve got some more great information for you today. So today we’re talking about absence management and what to do if your employees are missing in action. So, I guess the first question in this little video today is what do you do if someone just doesn’t show up for work?

And it’s not an uncommon question. There doesn’t seem to be the accountability, people just don’t seem to have accountability now and they just don’t turn up and they think it’s okay. So, the first point of call if someone hasn’t turned up is get a hold of them or try and get hold of them. Find out where they are. Because we never know if something legitimate may have happened on the way to work. There may have been an emergency, so we just need to double check that first.

If we’re unable to get hold of them, then you can always go to their file and get their next of kin details and give them a call and say, “Hey, look. Such and such haven’t turned up to work. We’re just a little bit concerned. This is out of character for them. Are you able to help us or are you able to get hold of them?”

If you’ve exhausted all those means, you would note down that you’ve done all those, then you just have to leave it for the day and see if they get hold of you. If they do come in the next day, obviously you have a meeting with them. If they don’t come in then you need to start a written process of them going AWOL, so absence without leave.

Okay. And what about if someone is consistently late for work? How do you manage that process?

Start with a conversation and say, “We’ve noticed you coming in late to work. Your start time is this. Let’s have a chat about any reasons.” I mean, for all we know, a person may have ended up with some carer’s responsibilities that we’re unaware of and maybe they didn’t want to tell you about it. Maybe they’re embarrassed. Maybe their partner’s left them, and they’ve got the kids that they’re going to need to get to school. We just don’t know. So, it’s best to start with a conversation. Hey, what’s going on? It may also be that the traffic conditions have changed. You’ve got the events that happen in Surfer’s Paradise for example. I mean, and we all know when the Commonwealth Games were on roads were closed.

Maybe the person’s been caught in that, and it’s like, well, okay, you still need to get here on time. We acknowledge that there’s an issue with traffic. Let’s see if we can find you a new route. So, it’s really trying to work with them.

And I guess the last thing I want to talk about is what if an employee is sick and they’re taking time more so than maybe that they’re entitled to in their sick leave. So, what do you do with employees that are sick or calling in sick and you have a feeling that they might not actually be sick?

Okay well it’s standard for us to put in our absence policy for one of our clients, if you’re sick on or after a weekend or on or after a public holiday or on an after a period of leave, then you’re require to produce a medical note for why you’ve been off. People do take Fridays off and sometimes you might notice a pattern so be keeping record of that as well. And it’s starting with a conversation, “Hey look we’ve noticed a pattern for your absence, why is this happening?” Again, maybe carer’s responsibilities, maybe a change in something, a mother may be ill and they’re having to take them to treatment once a month on a certain day, so it’s really dealing with that as well, and having that conversation.

And if someone’s persistently doing that then you would actually start a disciplinary process and advise them of it and start through that and give them the objectives that they need to be on time, this is your starting time, should it continue further disciplinary action may happen which may lead up to and include termination of employment.

Sure cause obviously that’s all outlined in our reduction process and all of that sort of stuff in your employment contract that those expectations are laid out there to start.

Yes setting it out very clear and some people do like to push the boundaries and it’s really pulling them back, and by having those policies and procedures as we’ve spoken about before, it’s really important these are the expectations of the business, this is what we want you to do, or expect you to do, and this is what will happen if you do not do this. And with anything dealing with absence you need to be consistent and fair across the whole organization as well.

So, you’re not singling someone out.

Not singling someone out so it’s not unfair in any way.

Okay all right well that’s awesome I think we’ve covered off on that topic now. All right, we’ll see you next month.

Yes, we will.



Missing In Action – How to manage employee absence

attendance and abseteesim policy

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