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Research methods for business
Research topic: Causes and
Costs of Absenteeism
Presented by: Mariham Helal
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Table of content:
Purpose of the research
Broad problem Area
Expected scholarly contribution
Theoretical framework of the study and Hypothesis
Conclusion and Recommendations
Limitations and Future research recommendations
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This research on Employee Absenteeism reveals that one of the
major problems is absenteeism in our industry. Absenteeism is the
practice or habit of being an absentee and an absentee is one who
habitually stays away from work. Employees Absenteeism is a
serious problem for management because it involves heavy
additional expenses. Absenteeism hinders planning, production,
efficiency and functioning of the organization. In fact high rates of
absenteeism affect an organization state of health and also
supervisory and managerial effectiveness.
Purpose of the research
• Assessing causes of Absenteeism & suggest remedies to overcome it
• Finding out the costs of absenteeism and how to reduce it.
• Figuring out the solutions for this problem
Broad problem area
Low productivity due to high rate of absenteeism.
What are main causes of employee absenteeism?
Expected scholarly outcomes
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Improve interpersonal relationships
Increase in efficiency of operation by trainees
Decrease in labor cost
Improve the discipline of the company
Boost employee motivation
Reduce expenses of recruitment and training of new comers
-Theory and Hypothesis
1. Ernest B. Akyeampong has written a research paper Trends and
seasonality in Absenteeism. In this paper the author focus on that
at which time period the employees are more absent. In this paper
he said that illness-related absences are highly seasonal, reaching a
peak during the winter months (December to February) and a trough
during the summer (June to August). The high incidence in winter is
likely related to the prevalence of communicable diseases at that
time, especially colds and influenza. The low incidence during the
summer may be partly because many employees take their vacation
these months. Because of survey design, those who fall ill during
vacation will likely report „vacation‟ rather than „sickness or
disability‟ as the main reason for being away from work. Compared
with the annual average, part-week absences are roughly 30% more
prevalent in the winter months and almost 20% less so during the
summer months. Seasonality is much less evident in full-week
2. Mariajosé Romero and Young-Sun Lee has written a research
paper A National Portrait of Chronic Absenteeism in the Early
Grades. In this paper he focused on the following points:
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(i) How widespread is the Problem of Early Absenteeism?
(ii) Does Family Incomes Impact Early Absenteeism?
(iii) What is the Impact of Early Absenteeism on Academic
3. Morten Nordberg and Knut Røed has written a research paper
Absenteeism, Health Insurance, and Business Cycles. In this he
wants to evaluate how the economic environment affects worker
absenteeism and he also isolate the causal effects of business cycle
developments on work-resumption prospects for ongoing absence
spells, by conditioning on the state of the business cycle at the
moment of entry into sickness absence.
The author finds that
(i) That business cycle improvements yield lower work-resumption
rates for persons who are absent, and higher relapse rates for
persons who have already resumed work.
(ii) That absence sometimes represents a health investment, in the
sense that longer absence „now‟ reduces the subsequent relapse
(iii) That the work-resumption rate increases when sickness benefits
are exhausted, but that work-resumptions at this point tend to be
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Concept of Absenteeism
It refers to workers absence from their regular task when he is normally
schedule to work. The according to Webster‟s dictionary “Absenteeism is
the practice or habit of being an absentee and an absentee is one who
habitually stays away from work.”
According to Labour Bureau of Shimla: Absenteeism is defined as the
total man shifts lost because of absence as percentage of total number of
man shifts scheduled to work In other words, it signifies the absence of
an employee from work when he is scheduled to be at work. Any
employee may stay away from work if he has taken leave to which he is
entitled or on ground of sickness or some accident or without any
previous sanction of leave. Thus absence may be authorized or
unauthorized, willful or caused by circumstances beyond one‟s control.
Types of Absenteeism:
Absenteeism caused by circumstances beyond ones control
Features of Absenteeism
The rate of absenteeism is the lowest on pay day and increases
considerably on the days following payment of wages and bonuses.
Absenteeism is generally high among the workers below 25 years of age
and those above 40 years of age.
The rate of Absenteeism varies from department to another within an
organization. Generally it is high in the production departments.
Absenteeism in traditional industries is seasonal in character
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Maybe even worse than absenteeism, it is obvious that people such as
malingerers and those unwilling to play their part in the workplace can
also have a decidedly negative impact.
Such team members need individual attention from frontline supervisors
Indeed, as prevention is better than cure, where such a problem occurs,
it is always important to review recruitment procedures to identify how
such individuals came to be employed in the first place. For any business
owner or manager, to cure excessive absenteeism, it is essential to find
and then eliminate the causes of discontent among team members.If they
find their supervisor or job unpleasant - really unpleasant - they look for
legitimate excuses to stay home and find them with things such as upset
stomachs or splitting headaches. Any effective absentee control program
has to locate the causes of discontent and modify those causes or
eliminate them entirely. In other words, if we deal with the real reasons
team members stay home it can become unnecessary for t hem to stay
Any investigation into absenteeism needs to look at the real reasons for
it. Sometimes team members call in sick when they really do not want to
go to work. They would not call you up and say, “I‟m not coming in today
because my superviser abuses me.” Or, “I‟m not coming in today
because my chair is uncomfortable.” Or, “I‟m not coming in today
because the bathrooms are so filthy; it makes me sick to walk into them.”
There are a few essential questions to consider at the outset if you want
to make a measurable improvement to your absenteeism figures. Why is
your present absenteeism policy ineffective?
Where and when is excessive absenteeism occurring? In many cases,
under- trained supervisors could be a contributing factor.
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What are the real causes for absences? It is commonly expected that low
pay, poor benefits and high workloads will be the major causes.
However, in numerous employee surveys absenteeism generally has been
identified as a symptom of low job satisfaction, sub-standard working
conditions and consistent negative and unfair treatment received by first-
How much formal training have your supervisors received on
absenteeism containment and reduction? If your answer is none or very
little, may be you have found the solution.
As with every other element within your organization, you cannot ask a
person to do a job he or she has never been trained to do. Many human
resources specialists have found that repetitive, boring jobs coupled with
uncaring supervisors and/or physically unpleasant workplaces are likely
to lead workers to make up excuses for not coming to work. If your team
members perceive that your company is indifferent to their needs, they
are less likely to be motivated, or even to clock on at all.
One way to determine the causes of absenteeism is to question your
supervisors about excessive absenteeism, including what causes it and
how to reduce it. Of course, if your supervisors have made no efforts to
get to know the team members in their respective departments, they may
not be able to provide reasons.
However, just the act of questioning may get the ball rolling and signal to
your supervisors that their involvement is important.
Once a manager finds the real reasons for absenteeism there is another
important step. Through open communication, you need to change the
team member’s way of reacting and responding to discontent.
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Other problems will no doubt arise in the future. If the way of responding
has not been reviewed, then the same cycle is likely to start all over
So, often absenteeism problems can be sheeted back to the supervisor
level and to unsatisfactory working conditions. Without improvement in
these areas, you can your high rate of absenteeism to continue.
Main reasons for employees’ absenteeism:-
1- High rates of absenteeism is due to health problems
2- Lack of fringe benefits within highly competitive markets
3- Autocratic management systems which causes stressful working
An employee opinion survey will be administered to identify
employee’s perceptions of the key issues, which may be attributing
to high absenteeism
Purpose of the study: Hypotheses-Testing
Type of the study: Casual
Study setting: Non-Contrived, Field Study
Time Horizon: Longitudinal
Unit of Analysis: Employees among different corporates
Sources of Data: Primary
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Sample size: 10 employees from 10 different corporates
Data Collection Method: Questionnaires
The survey will be administrated to all contributing organizations. The
survey is a self-administered survey and requires about 15 minutes to
complete. The survey will be conducted in the Customer Relations
conference room, at various times accommodate those employees
working 2 and 3 shifts. This method of collection was used in an effort to
get a 100 percent response rate.
It will be given to HR department of each participating company in the
They will be responsible of choosing 10 employees randomly to answer
the questionnaire in cooperation with personnel department.
Dependent Variables: Absenteeism, Turnover rate & Productivity
Independent Variable: Working conditions
Mediating Variable: Job satisfaction
Written to HR Managers to be spread to their employees, one or two
persons per department.
Thanks for agreeing to participate in our research. You will help us to
understand how to improve your working environment in order to reduce
rate of absenteeism. The questionnaire would take about 15 minutes.
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Questionnaire for employee absenteeism
3-Years of experience
Less than 1 year
Above 3 years
4-Your opinion about the job
Heavy work load
Poor working environment
Long working hours
5-Duration of leave taken by an employee in a month
1 -3 days
More than 3 days
6-Do you attend the daily duty on time ?
7- How many shifts do you attend?
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8- Rate your awareness of the job responsibilities
9-Your view regarding working environment
10-Boredom with assigning duty
11-Occurrence of strict actions against absenteeism
12-Do you achieve a work-life balance?
13-Your opinion about the effect of absenteeism
Causes work stress
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Causes delayed performance
Leads to overtime work
All of the above
14-Rate your satisfaction level with the relationship with your
15-Your opinion about the main reason for long absence
16-Does your co-workers help you with work load ?
17-Your reason for taking a leave
Lack of interest in the job
Poor working conditions
Long working hours
18-Your opinion regarding working environment
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18-Your opinion regarding work pressure
Yes, a lot
19-Your suggestions about how to reduce absenteeism
Increase number of holidays
Improve working conditions
Better performance appraisals
Adapting job rotations
20-Your level of awareness regarding your absence from work
21-Your opinion about the motivational factors avoiding taking
Good employee relations
Better working environment
Incentives and bonuses based on performance
Recognition at work
Please add any further suggestions that you have for the
management to reduce level of absenteeism in your company
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-Creating data file
-Data will be analyzed in an effort to fully understand what is causing
the disciplinary actions using SPSS. Mean scores and standard
deviations will be calculated for each item on the survey.
A high degree of absenteeism and turnover can cause serious problems
for businesses. Absenteeism hurts productivity and costs. Most of the
companies are currently suffering a high degree of absenteeism in its
production department. Employees on the assembly line are often
absent. The production employees must operate complex machinery that
requires training, so temp employees don't have the requisite skills to
pick up the slack for absent operators. Thus, production decreases with
each absent employee. This costs the company money.
Moreover, most of the absences are paid leave, which means even though
production is down, labor costs remain the same.
Turnover is even a more serious problem for all companies nowadays.
Not only can turnover cause productivity problems, but it results in the
loss of human resources that may not be easily replaced.
For example, some of the company's best and most innovative engineers
and researchers have voluntarily separated from service to pursue other
opportunities. Loss of these employees not only hurts productivity but
weakens the company strategically because of the specialized skills and
creativity that the employees brought with them. Even if the company
can find the same quality of workers, the search, training and time
involved costs serious cash.
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ANALYSIS OF CAUSES
1) FAMILY ORIENTED & RESPONSIBILITIES
It was observed that about 40% case absenteeism is family oriented and
more responsibilities of workers. It increases in harvesting season.
2) SOCIAL CEREMONIES
In 20 % cases it was found that social and religious functions divert
worker from work.
3) HOUSING FACILITY
In about 30% cases, the workers remain absent because there is no
housing facilities and the workers stay alone and great distance from
4) SICKNESS AND ACCIDENT
In 20% case the workers remain absent due to ill health and disease and
in 15% cases workers remain absent due to accident.
Most of the workers have to travel long distance to reach the work place.
Most of the workers are not satisfied with transport facilities.
6) WELFARE FACILITIES
In 13% cases, the workers are not satisfied with welfare facilities.
7) WORKING CONDITIONS
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In 21% cases, the workers feel that there is not good working condition,
because they work in standing position which causes to remain absence
8) MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Near about 34% people are dissatisfied with management system
because they feel that their work is not being recognized and promotions
Costs of Absenteeism
Wages paid to absent employees
High-cost replacement workers (overtime pay for other employees and/or
Administrative cost of managing absenteeism
Indirect costs and effects of absenteeism
-Poor quality of goods/services resulting from overtime fatigue or
-Excess manager time while dealing with discipline and finding suitable
Poor morale among employees who have to do extra work to cover absent
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Age of respondents
The above table explains that from the total respondents 30% of
respondents are below age groups of 25 years. 35% of respondents are of
groups of 25- 35 years and above 35 years are 35% of respondents. None
of the respondents are below further it clears that majority of total
respondents are from all age of groups.
NO OF PERSONS
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Feeling boredom with assigning duty
The table shows that 10% of the respondents felt boredom at work rarely,
40% felt sometimes, 35% felt always and 15% felt never, it seems that
the majority employees are not interested in the work.
Boredom in routine work
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Strict actions against absenteeism
From above table it seems that 22%worker says that there is always
strict against absenteeism.15%says sometime, 20%says rarely and
remain43%no action against absenteeism
0 12.5 25 37.5 50
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Main reason for employee absenteeism
Out of total 100 respondents, 55% of respondents are absent because of
health problem, and 30% of respondents absents because of stress,10%
of respondents will absent because of work dissatisfaction ,and remain
5% because of work environment. From the above chart it is clearly
observed that the workers will absent to duty i.e. 55% are absent for
health reason only.
0 25 50 75 100
Main Reason of Employee Absenteeism
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•Majority of the employees are absenting due to ailment and health
•Majority of the employees has said they are paid worth of their work.
•Majority of the employees has said that there is no strict action against
•Most of the workers do not intimate their senior regarding their leaves.
•Though there are limitations the personal department is taking special
care to frame certain policies and procedures that would reduce
absenteeism and increase the labor turn over.
•Majority of workers who has attend more at one shift per day face
•Majority of workers never got appreciation for their punctuality in most
of the organizations.
Suggestions and recommendations
Companies need to find a solution to its rampant absenteeism and
turnover. Extrinsic motivational techniques can be used to help reduce
turnover. Extrinsic rewards are a means by which an organization can
motivate employees to stay with the company by providing external
rewards. Some common extrinsic inducements that can be used to
encourage employee retention include:
• Providing high wages and allowance based on organizational
• Selecting the workers by testing them thoroughly regarding their
aspirations, value system, and sense of responsibility.
• The management should conduct regular seminars, group’s
discussions, social gathering orientations programmers’ on the
problems of absenteeism.
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• The personnel department (HRD) of the factory must conduct the
interviews of the absenteeism cases and give proper counseling to
• The employees who are attending to several shifts have to be
provided more benefits than the workers. In order to make them
enthusiastic to attend the workers.
Limitations and Future Research Recommendations
This research was limited in that it did not survey management. Had the
supervisors and shift supervisors been surveyed other conclusions may have
been reached. Maybe management does not receive all of the information they
need when they are making decisions.
A future recommendation would be to form focus groups, making sure all
shifts are represented, and look at the causes of some of these problems. Some
times symptoms are thought to be the cause of a problem.
-Uma Sekaran and Roger Bougie(2013). Research Methods for Business, 6th ed., John
Wiley & Sons
-Anonymous (1995). Curbing absenteeism. HR Focus, 72(12), 9.
-Fowler, A. (1998). How to cut absenteeism. People Management, 4(1), 44-45.
-Kelly, L. (1992). Attendance management: An issue of the ‘90s. Worklife Report, 8(5),