The 5 cornerstones for an effective policy on worker absenteeism

The absence of workers due to illness is not only a costly affair. It also signals that the overall well-being of employees within the organisation is less than optimal. But where to start? How to establish a preventive attendance policy that is truly effective?

Absenteeism rates among Belgian workers are growing each year. At the same time, pressure is mounting to control this phenomenon of illness-related absenteeism. An increasing number of employers acknowledge the importance of a strong policy on absenteeism. 

Great reasons for implementing a policy on absenteeism

Employees are your human capital. Workplace absenteeism carries a heavy financial burden for employers, through guaranteed monthly wages, the reorganisation of duties, temporary replacements, and losses in production and quality. Illness-related absenteeism can also be a strong indicator that something is amiss with the well-being of your workers.

Employers are also under pressure to control illness-related absenteeism and guarantee the well-being of workers. The finger usually points at the employer or the company when people experience work-related stress or burnout. It is even a requirement by law that you, as an employer, implement a strong and effective policy on absenteeism. In addition to the Well-Being Act of 4 August 1996, numerous other decrees and regulations have come into effect to ensure that the necessary measures are taken to prevent exposure to mental and physical health hazards. Belgian legislation on psychosocial risks, for instance, was recently updated.  

The key elements of a preventive attendance policy

There are plenty of reasons why you should address the issue of worker absenteeism within your organisation in a structured manner. Despite knowing this, many employers are not sure where to begin.

A preventive attendance policy that is also effective requires a solid foundation to begin with. Ask yourself the following questions:

  • What is the company’s viewon illness-related absenteeism? Will you be using preventive or curative measures? What exactly do you wish to achieve and how will you go about it?
  • How does this visionline up with your company’s overall policy and company culture? How will you incorporate the attendance policy in your company’s policy on the well-being of employees?

Have you built the foundation for your policy? Then it’s time to establish concrete measures for an effective attendance policy, taking into account the following 5 cornerstones:

  • Prevention: the policy must focus on the prevention of illness-related absenteeism and on improving attendance among motivated, productive workers.
  • Regular checks and monitoring: make sure you establish effective monitoring procedures. Analyses based on figures from independent audits by occupational health physicians will provide you with more insight into the causes of absenteeism and will highlight areas for improvement. Mensura partners with Certimed to provide these services.
  • Procedures: solid relationships at work are built on solid agreements. Well-thought-out procedures offer clarity and add structure to the policy.
  • Communication and guidance: clear communication and the training of workers and supervisors will help anchor the policy in the organisation.
  • Practical implementation: make sure your policy on absenteeism is high on your list of priorities in order to achieve maximum results.

In another blog post, we will provide employers with a step-by-step plan to get started. Don’t miss out; sign up for our newsletter now!

Need assistance with developing an effective policy on absenteeism? Email us for more information.

With special thanks to Caroline Sels, prevention advisor at Mensura.