How Workplace Absenteeism Is Killing Your Workplace Culture

How Workplace Absenteeism Is Killing Your Workplace Culture

What Is Absenteeism (Unexplained Absences) And Why Do We Care?

Employee absenteeism refers to constant and habitual patterns of absence from work by an employee. Once in a while for a genuine reason is mostly acceptable, but when the absenteeism is regular it becomes intolerable for everyone in the workplace. It damages employment relationships that are built on trust and respect. It is expected that employees will miss some work each year for legitimate purposes. However, absences from work that extend beyond what would be considered reasonable and customary often lead to termination.

Workplace Absenteeism – The Cost To You

Employees are rewarded with wages to turn up each day and to carry out their work. When they don’t, it places pressure on other staff to cover them. This is no problem when they are genuinely ill, have suffered a bereavement or have another genuine reason as you can arrange for cover – however, regular unexplained absences cause havoc in the workplace. It means you have to arrange cover at a short notice, staff who have turned up get overwhelmed and it can build resentment.

Financially, employee absenteeism is estimated to cost New Zealand employees over $1 billion per year. 1 in 40 people is expected to be absent from work every day across the country. It is important to nip unnecessary and unauthorised absences in the bud quickly before they escalate.

Once they have escalated and happen frequently, the staff that do turn up every day will build underlying resentment. It can be towards not only the person who is failing to turn up but perhaps towards you as an employer for not doing anything about it which is resulting in them having to do more work. If they have enough underlying resentment and anger, this may manifest in cattiness, snide remarks, increased negativity and lower morale. This will then begin to impact the workplace culture, making it a negative place for all individuals to work.

If you’re struggling with the steps to take to tackle absenteeism, book a 20-minute consultation with We Love Tradies today, or join our community on our app!


We Love Tradies HR Ltd blogs contains only general information about legal matters. It is not intended to be legal advice and should not be treated as, or relied on,  as such. For legal advice specific to your set of facts, please contact a lawyer appropriate to your legal issue.