Absenteeism and Employee Turnover

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Introduction to Absenteeism

Absence is a phenomenon that is present in organizations that are large and small, public or private, urban or rural. It is an issue of concern for many managers because it is often costly for the organization as well as for individuals. Absence is affected by many factors as well as a myriad of attitudes. Some people believe that absence may be good for an organization while others do not. Absence has been studied for decades by numerous researchers, in a variety of ways. There have been varied findings regarding the effects of absence on the organization and the individual. One reason for the varied findings is that researchers have defined and measured absence differently. Some have measured it by total number of days absent, number of occasions, involuntary versus voluntary, and avoidable versus unavoidable.

Voluntary absences are often shorter in duration and are considered within the employee's control.

Causes of voluntary absenteeism are more likely to be consistent over time than are causes of other absenteeism. An example of voluntary absenteeism may be when an employee has an appointment for a car tune up and, rather than changing the appointment, chooses to miss work to keep the appointment.

Involuntary absences are out of the employee's control such as a child's sudden illness or one's own illness. Additional measures have included adjacency measures (or absence building); absences surrounding scheduled days off. This has also been referred to as "blue Monday's"; when an individual has a pattern of taking Mondays off in addition to the weekend. This is more characteristic of voluntary absences. Lastly, inter temporal lag is defined as the ratio of average absence length to average length of attendance. Absence frequency (number of occasions) is more reflective of voluntary absenteeism than is the total number of...