HR Glossary for HR Professionals

Glossary of the most common HR terms and acronyms to assist professionals navigating the ever-growing and ever-changing world of HR terminology.


What is absenteeism?

Absenteeism is the frequent lack of attendance at work. Employers typically expect employees to miss a certain amount of work per year, and absenteeism surpasses that.

The average absenteeism rate is around 3%. Manage your employee absences by using PTO banks, encouraging planned vacations and verifying illnesses after a specific amount of time.

Calculating absence rate

This metric gives you insight into how much labor and productivity is being lost to sickness and other types of leave. A high absence rate means employees are missing work frequently. (Total Absences) (Total Number of Employees x Work Days) = Absence Rate (x 100)

Chronic and excessive absenteeism

Chronic and excessive absenteeism is not always a result of employee lazinism. Chronic absenteeism can also be caused by a variety of reasons including: 

  • Illness or injuries
  • Harassment
  • Disengagement 
  • Low workplace morale
  • Childcare issues
  • Mental health 
  • Time theft
  • Lack of flexibility 

Employers should take time to understand the cause of absenteeism at their organization before taking action to reduce absenteeism

Strategies to reduce absenteeism

  1. Implement leave benefits 

Many organizations provide leave benefits, which allow employees to take time off work without the risk of job loss. Leave benefits can be paid, unpaid or partially paid, and include everything from bereavement leave and maternity leave to FMLA leave. Generally, these policies are best clearly defined to employees to avoid confusion and administrative hassle. Employers can consider offering policies around: 

  • Bereavement leave
  • Maternity leave
  • Paternity leave
  • Sick leave
  • Unpaid leave
  • Flex-time

2. Increase employee engagement and feedback

A frequent feedback channel that offers praise or criticism on areas of improvement is essential in nurturing a positive relationship. Employees want feedback, they want to learn, grow and improve. Providing them with tips and guidance they need to get there by giving feedback sessions will be highly appreciated.

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