Concept of Absenteeism

Any employee can stay away from work if he is on official leave on valid grounds like sickness, accident, etc. But in case of absenteeism, the employee is on unauthorized leave. Absenteeism implies unofficial non-attendance from work. This means that it is a situation in which an employee is scheduled to work, but does not reports to work.

It is a deliberate, consistent, and habitual evasion of work or wilful absence from work for one or more days by the worker. Nevertheless, it does not include occasional absences caused by valid reasons, which are not under the control of workers.

Also, all the employers know that sometimes absences are unavoidable. And so employers must handle the non-attendances in a just and transparent manner so as minimize disharmony.

Basically, it is a patterned absence from the workplace. It covers all the cases when the work is available and the worker is aware of this thing but he does not report to it. Also, the worker has no prior knowledge of workers not reporting to duty. Workers justify this absence with a medical certificate but the cause is their own lack of personal interest and poor sense of duty.


Simply put, it is the failure of an employee or worker to report for duty, when he is scheduled. Consequently, the total number of workers reporting or available for work reduces. We define it as the absence of an employee from work when he is supposed to work. This is caused by the unwillingness of an employee to work. We can calculate absenteeism in the following manner:calculation-of-absenteeism

Forms of Absenteeism

One must note that it does not include earned leave taken by a worker with prior approval of the respective authority. But, when it is taken without permission, then we will call it absenteeism.
It can take the form of:

  • Excessive use of paid or earned leaves
  • Frequent recourse to sick leaves
  • Absence from work without official leave
  • Habitual lack of punctuality
  • Lack of observance of minimum hours of work

Employers do expect non-attendance from employees for a specified number of workdays every year. But when it exceeds to a great extent, it can amount to a decrease in productivity.

Now the question arises –

What does absenteeism reflect?

So friends, a higher rate of absenteeism is a reflection of lower job satisfaction. It clearly exhibits the relationship between health and work

It leads to:

  1. Dislocation of work,
  2. Increase in labor cost
  3. Reduction in productivity
  4. Increase in indiscipline (if not checked)

One should take note that some degree of absence remains unavoidable but measures can be taken to avoid the maximum.

Difference Between Absence and Absenteeism

Absence means staying away from work no matter if it is authorized or unauthorized. However, in the case of absenteeism, the absence is unauthorized. We can calculate absence rate and absenteeism rate, by using the formulas respectively:

Rate of Absence: absence-rate

Rate of Absenteeism: absenteeism-rate

Causes of Absenteeism

Personal illness and family issues are among the major causes of absenteeism. However, there are other causes for it too, which are:

  • Serious accident and illness
  • Working hours
  • Night shift
  • Rural exodus
  • Drinking and amusement
  • Low morale and job motivation
  • Inadequate leadership and poor supervision
  • Boredom with the job
  • Poor working conditions and environment
  • Personal issues i.e. marital, financial, or substance abuse
  • Poor physical fitness
  • Transportation problems
  • Lack of training
  • Outside job opportunities
  • Stress
  • Excessive workload
  • Work pressure
  • Employee discontent
  • Inadequate welfare facilities
  • Absence of non-financial incentives


It is a serious and expensive issue often unpredictable in nature. And it is important on the part of the employees to come to work daily to achieve the departmental objectives and targets. The different types of absenteeism are:types-of-absenteeism

Based on Reason

  1. Innocent Absenteeism

    It is that type of absenteeism in which an employee doesn’t come to work because of a genuine cause or reason. This may be because of illness or family issues or any other bona fide cause.

  2. Culpable Absenteeism

    When the employee or worker is not coming to work without any real cause, i.e. pretentious illness or vacation or staying at home. It is culpable absenteeism.

Based on Authorization

  1. Authorized Absenteeism

    When the employee has taken prior permission from the employer for leave and it was granted, such type of absenteeism is unauthorized absenteeism.

  2. Unauthorized Absenteeism

    This occurs when the employee is absent from work and he has not taken prior permission from the employer.

Wrap Up

This may give birth to a number of management problems. It is not just costly but can also prove disruptive for the organization. The primary cause of this issue is low job motivation. It has a serious impact on the organization’s productivity and discipline. Also, may lead to disruption in the operational activity.

It is a fact that the employee can achieve the desired results only when they attend the duty. Employees are such resources that are unique to every organization.

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