Reducing absenteeism May 2011


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Half day open interactive workshop on absence management held in Toronto.

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Reducing absenteeism May 2011

  1. 1. Reducing absenteeism by Toronto Training and HR May 2011
  2. 2. Contents 3-4 Introduction to Toronto Training and HR 5-6 Definitions 7-9 Reasons for absence 10-14 Types of absence 15-19 Costs of excessive absence 20-23 Total attendance management 24-25 Factors that influence absenteeism rates in Canada 26-27 Reducing unscheduled absence 28-32 Steps that allow an employer to act legally 33-34 The Naccarato decision 35-36 The Coast Mountain Bus Company case 37-38 Musculoskeletal disorders 39-43 Return to work interviews 44-45 Attendance bonuses 46-47 Problems with absence records 48-52 Tackling absence 53-54 Case study 55-56 Conclusion and questions
  3. 3. Page 3 Introduction
  4. 4. Page 4 Introduction to Toronto Training and HR • Toronto Training and HR is a specialist training and human resources consultancy headed by Timothy Holden • 10 years in banking • 10 years in training and human resources • Freelance practitioner since 2006 • The core services provided by Toronto Training and HR are: - Training course design - Training course delivery - Reducing costs - Saving time - Improving employee engagement & morale - Services for job seekers
  5. 5. Page 5 Definitions
  6. 6. Page 6 Definitions Incidental unplanned absences Extended absences Planned absences
  7. 7. Page 7 Reasons for absence
  8. 8. Page 8 Reasons for absence 1 of 2 Medical Social Physiological
  9. 9. Page 9 Reasons for absence 2 of 2 EXPLANATIONS FOR THE RISE IN CANADA An aging demographic Rising levels of work-related stress Ever-increasing proportion of women in the workforce with multiple responsibilities Increasing prevalence of liberal leave policies
  10. 10. Page 10 Types of absence
  11. 11. Types of absence; poor timekeeping • Clear standards • Early intervention • Clarify unacceptable limits Solutions • Record all instances and conversations • Honest 1:1 communication • Team agenda if widespread Actions • Explore root cause; consider contributory factors • Be attentive to unique needs • Consider work-life balance measures Support individual • Nip lateness in the bud • Consider disciplinary action if unsatisfactory reason and it persists Support team Page 11
  12. 12. Types of absence; short-term frequent absence • Encourage notification asap and by a set time • Prompt return to work discussion • Explore the root cause Solutions • Record all instances for all employees • Keep in regular contact • Get clear indication of nature of illness and likely return date Actions • Offer support where you can • Explore possibility of underlying medical condition • Be alert to other contributory factors Support individual • Nip emerging patterns in the bud • Consider disciplinary action if unsatisfactory reason and it persists Support team Page 12
  13. 13. Types of absence; short-term frequent absence (underlying cause) • Encourage notification asap and by a set time • Prompt return to work discussion • Explore root cause Solutions • Record all instances for all employees • Keep in regular contact; and liaise with HR • Get clear indication of nature of illness and likely return date Actions • Offer support where you can • Suggest medical advice from Occupational Health or doctor • Be alert to all possible contributory factors • Consider adjustments to role or work environment Support individual • Be attentive to emerging patterns • Consult HR before level of absence reaches an unacceptable level Support team Page 13
  14. 14. Types of absence; long-term frequent absence • Successful transition back into the workplace • Retiral on grounds of ill health • Dismissal Solutions •Keep in regular contact •Liaise regularly with HR and seek medical advice •Keep an accurate note of all conversations and correspondence Actions • Try to anticipate their needs • Reassure entitlement to sick pay • Explore how best to support transition back into workplace Support individual • Consider how best to manage additional workload • If a return to work looks unlikely, or lengthy, it is strongly advised that you consult HR before taking any formal action Support team Page 14
  15. 15. Page 15 Costs of excessive absence
  16. 16. Page 16 Costs of excessive absence 1 of 4 All absence has cost consequences for the employer –administrative and other. Absenteeism that is avoidable, habitual and unscheduled can be particularly costly to an employer, and to the economy as a whole. Disruptive to proper work scheduling and output.
  17. 17. Page 17 Costs of excessive absence 2 of 4 Increased team workloads Low morale among colleagues expected to take on extra work Reduced performance and productivity Missed deadlines due to a lack of trained, experienced employees Diminished reputation with customers and potential employees Lost business
  18. 18. Page 18 Costs of excessive absence 3 of 4 Direct costs Indirect costs Total cost
  19. 19. Page 19 Costs of excessive absence 4 of 4 PRODUCTIVITY LOSS Replacement approach Cost of replacement workers Efficiency of replacement workers
  20. 20. Page 20 Total attendance management
  21. 21. Page 21 Total attendance management 1 of 3 What is it? Objective setting Integrated approach Prevention Casual absence STD/LTD Workers’ compensation
  22. 22. Page 22 Total attendance management 2 of 3 Establish clear policies, procedures, roles and responsibilities Engage people leaders to participate effectively in attendance management
  23. 23. Page 15 attendance management 3 of 2
  24. 24. Page 24 Factors that influence absenteeism rates in Canada
  25. 25. Page 25 Factors that influence absenteeism rates in Canada Unionization Permanent status Size of the organization Province Pay for sickness absence Type of job Dependant children
  26. 26. Page 26 Reducing unscheduled absence
  27. 27. Page 27 Reducing unscheduled absence Consider work-life balance measures Clearly explain roles, duties, projects and tasks Simplify processes and administration Encourage communication
  28. 28. Page 28 Steps that allow an employer to act legally
  29. 29. Page 29 Steps that allow an employer to act legally 1 of 4 An employer is entitled to the benefit of its bargain in the employment relationship. At the same time, it is not permissible to punish an employee for non-culpable behaviour because that behaviour is out of the employee's hands. Attendance management programs may be used in response to excessive, blameless absenteeism, but they must be drafted with great care. The law will permit termination for innocent absenteeism when it reaches a given level of seriousness and there is no reasonable prospect for improvement in the future.
  30. 30. Page 30 Steps that allow an employer to act legally 2 of 4 LEGAL PARAMETERS FOR ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT There should be no reprisal for taking statutory leave Duty to accommodate under human rights legislation must be met (disability, family status) Comply with Return to Work obligations under workers’ compensation legislation Respect an employee’s right to privacy – medical information, surveillance Distinguish between culpable and non-culpable
  31. 31. Page 31 Steps that allow an employer to act legally 3 of 4 ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT PROGRAM Trigger for entry or progression through Attendance Management Program Numerical criteria must not be arbitrary Criteria must not be discriminatory Consider the duty to accommodate at every stage Requests for medical information
  32. 32. Page 32 Steps that allow an employer to act legally 4 of 4 QUESTIONS TO ANSWER BEFORE YOU TERMINATE FOR INNOCENT ABSENTEEISM Is the employment relationship frustrated? What is your potential liability if you terminate and a court, human rights tribunal or arbitrator disagrees with your assessment of frustration?
  33. 33. Page 33 The Naccarato decision
  34. 34. Page 34 The Naccarato decision Background Limits on the duty to accommodate Naccarato decision What Naccarato means for employers
  35. 35. Page 35 The Coast Mountain Bus Company case
  36. 36. Page 36 The Coast Mountain Bus Company case Background Attendance Management Program Reasons of the Court of Appeal Critical implications for employer strategies to manage absenteeism What’s the problem? Impact of the duty to accommodate How much absenteeism must be accommodated? Points to consider
  37. 37. Page 37 Musculoskeletal disorders
  38. 38. Page 38 Musculoskeletal disorders Principles of management What are the symptoms? Acute, recurrent or chronic
  39. 39. Page 39 Return to work interviews
  40. 40. Page 40 Return to work interviews 1 of 4 PURPOSE Welcome employees back Check they are well enough to work Identify the cause of the absence Discuss the details of an agreed return to work based on advice given by the doctor Establish if the sickness is work related and what health & safety issues need to be addressed Tease out any other problems at work or at home Discuss how they can get back to a normal work routine as quickly as possible, update them on developments
  41. 41. Page 41 Return to work interviews 2 of 4 PREPARING FOR A RETURN TO WORK DISCUSSION The discussion is confidential so find a quiet place Have everything to hand at the meeting; employee records, notes of previous discussions, advice from their doctor Be prepared to discuss the employee’s absence in detail including any emerging patterns Consider how a return to work will work in practice-what kind of questions will you ask? What does the absence policy say? What issues may crop up during the discussion? How would a phased return work? Explain when the interview will take place and its purpose
  42. 42. Page 42 Return to work interviews 3 of 4 THE CONVERSATION Most discussions will be informal and brief Explore how the employee feels about returning to work Be positive about the employee’s value to the organization Explore how a return to work will work in practice Ask your employee what information they would like shared with their work colleagues Be reassuring throughout Update the employee about changes since they have been away such as the progress on the projects they were working on and any changes to the team
  43. 43. Page 43 Return to work interviews 4 of 4 THE CONVERSATION What are the options for the future? Discuss all the options and focus on positive outcomes. Where appropriate the employee may agree to be referred to your organization’s medical officer information or to an occupational health therapist? In some instances disciplinary action may be needed if the explanations for absence/poor timekeeping are deemed unsatisfactory. Have an open mind and agree an action plan but don’t make hasty decisions Take notes of the meeting
  44. 44. Page 44 Attendance bonuses
  45. 45. Page 45 Attendance bonuses Consider making an employee assistance program available to the workforce Identify drivers of absence that are not sickness related and think how you could mitigate them-for example, flexible working for people with young children Remember that attendance bonuses could be viewed as discriminatory Reinvest money that would have been spent on bonuses in a company-funded wellbeing scheme Carry out return-to-work interviews, even for short-term absences
  46. 46. Page 46 Problems with absence records
  47. 47. Page 47 Problems with absence records Inadequate absence information required Inaccurate records Record-keeping system hinders analysis of absences Record-keeping system prevents proper analysis of absences
  48. 48. Page 48 Tackling absence
  49. 49. Page 49 Tackling absence 1 of 4 Dust down your policies Hold calibration sessions Provide a support structure Clear reporting is crucial Get people back to work Policies aren’t everything
  50. 50. Page 50 Tackling absence 2 of 4 Encourage high attendance rather than talking about high absence Recognise high attendance with non-monetary rewards Hold managers at all levels accountable for absence reduction Deal with frequent short-term absence first Use return-to-work interviews Train managers to become assertive leaders so that they own the problem
  51. 51. Page 51 Tackling absence 3 of 4 Measure rates and direct costs across the board, both long-term and short-term. A recent survey by the Conference Board of Canada revealed that only 40% of employers track absenteeism rates, and the direct cost of absenteeism averaged 2.6% of payroll in these organizations. Education and health and government reported the highest absenteeism rates, whilst Canada suffers from higher absence rates than either the US and the UK.
  52. 52. Page 52 Tackling absence 4 of 4 The Conference Board report outlines steps that organizations can take to better manage their programs. These include: Identifying the root causes of absenteeism Taking proactive steps to improve the health and well-being of employees Having a return-to-work program in place Focusing on communication and education Getting involved early when employees are absent Keeping in constant contact with employees on leave
  53. 53. Page 53 Case study
  54. 54. Page 54 Case study
  55. 55. Page 55 Conclusion & Questions
  56. 56. Page 56 Conclusion Summary Questions