List of Absences – How to Reduce Absenteeism in the Company

High absenteeism does real harm to companies. What could be its causes? And above all – how to deal with it while supporting employees and caring for the company’s image.

From this article you will learn:

  • the most common causes of absenteeism,
  • market trends, forecasts and tendencies,
  • how to counteract absenteeism,
  • how to support employees wisely and in the long term.

In an article on employee health (which you can find HERE), we pointed out that each percentage of sickness absenteeism corresponds to a loss of 0.7 percent of a company’s profit [1]. In addition, this issue negatively affects team morale, atmosphere at the company, and, last but not least, work efficiency. However, it is worth remembering that sickness is not the only reason for absence. Though actually the most common one.

What are the most common actual reasons for absences?
  1. Mental and physical health

Since the time of publication of our article on countering sickness absenteeism, it is difficult to identify any major changes in trends. In the initial period of 2023, the number of sick leaves related to respiratory diseases and mental disorders increased by 5.7 and (insignificantly) by 0.1 percentage points, respectively (compared to 2022), while the number of sick leaves related to pregnancy, childbirth and postpartum period decreased (by 2.2 percentage points) [2]. However, it is difficult to speak of a steady trend here.

Unfortunately, the data on this type of absenteeism is often distorted due to abuse by employees themselves. As much as... 1/3 of the workforce admit to such absences. 28 percent of those reporting such behaviour justified it by reluctance to work on that day, 24 percent needed a day of relaxation, and 18 percent simply needed to get some sleep. [3]

Of course, such absences are not always due to laziness. A day of relaxation or good sleep can constitute a response to having been previously overloaded with work beyond what you can handle, whereas reluctance to work can result from bad atmosphere in the office. The explanation that shifts the blame to employees is oversimplified and in the long run may lead to an outflow of talent from the company.

  1. Taking care of children/family members

The second most common reason for absence from work is related to childcare. In this case, Poles can choose from a number of leave options, such as maternity, paternity, parental, and childcare. Employers must also take into account the leave for the care of a healthy child (2 days per year) or leave for the care of a sick child under 14.

  1. Holiday leave

This is another possible reason for absence. As it turns out, Polish workers opt for longer holidays, taken within a single period of time. This tendency applies to more than half of them. They most often take holiday leave in July or August (75 percent of holidaymakers) [4].

  1. Other reasons

The Labour Code also allows for other reasons for absence, such as call-ups to the military or summons by state institutions, family matters (such as funerals of loved ones), as well as fortuitous events. However, this is a negligible percentage of the leave taken. In this case, it is also difficult to make any predictions or draw reliable conclusions.

How to address absenteeism?
  • Sickness absenteeism

First of all, it is worth determining whether the company... experiences such a problem at all. For an office environment, natural values range from 0.1 to 1 percent (these may vary slightly, depending, for example, on the seasons of natural decline in immunity) [5].

However, even in such case, it is worthwhile to take care of employees’ health. Then, on the one hand, you can act preventively, and, on the other hand, build the image of a company that cares about the well-being of its team.

How to support employees?