Absence Management

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Absence Management: this article explains Absence Management in a practical way. After reading, you will understand the basic concepts of this powerful human resources discipline that a company should use to follow up on employees’ absences or responsibilities.

What is Absence Management?

Absence Management is the management and tracking of employee absence during working hours when an employee is not present due to illness, vacation or a domestic calamity. For this monitoring, companies have been obliged to create a system where they can control and monitor their employees when they are not in the office or their work field.

It is necessary to have a schedule or system in which employers keep a database of those who are absent or close to having vacation, so that they can be one step ahead and be able to structure the way of working in the area that this person is in when he or she is absent. Whether it is with a replacement or modifying responsibilities to other colleagues in the area.

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It is also important to emphasize that, with this absence management system, the organization will be able to have some indexes about the activities, procedures and results that can be modified or added when a person is absent.

Absence Management policies according to the company

Each company generates its own absence policy when a person is unable to work. The organization must make the absence policies known when an employee first enters the company as employees are fully entitled to know the rules, duties and rights in the organization where they work.

Sharing this type of information will give people what they can do or go through when they are absent from work. They will then know what procedure to follow and who or what area to contact in case of illness, holidays or domestic calamities. Below you will see some of the policies that companies can implement for Absence Management.

  • Statement of what the company covers when the employee is absent due to illness (legal minimum wage, medical insurance among others);
  • Entitlement to certain vacation days (these can be agreed upon with the immediate supervisor);
  • Absence due to the death of a close relative or critical health situation of a relative.

Just as the employee needs to know what to do and what the company covers when he or she cannot attend, it is also necessary for the employee to know what will happen when he or she returns to his or her daily responsibilities. These include things such as a work plan after his or her absence, or for someone to make him or her aware of what is going on at the time at the company so that he or she does not feel out of place or in a low mood to perform his or her responsibilities.

If an employee is absent without a fair explanation for the reasons given above, the company may implement disciplinary actions that are also included in the Absence Management policies.

Types of absences from work

Leave with permission

This type of absence is when there is an employee who needs to be absent due to maternity leave or the death of a family member.


Staff have the right to access their holidays when they request them or when the company assigns them (it is up to the company to make either of these two decisions). For this it is necessary for Human Resources to follow up on the issue of vacations so that there is an order and this does not influence the days off of other employees or the responsibilities of the company.

Personal reasons

Among these types of absences are personal reasons that may be medical reasons or domestic calamities.

Data management software for absence

Nowadays companies want to be more and more organized with protocols and follow ups at the organizational level of the company. That is why Human Resources is the most pertinent area to use the software that controls the data of the absentees (the reason, the how, dates etc.) to make the follow up of the employees.

With this kind of software, Human Resources staff will be able to have detailed reports on the absence situation of the employees.

With these reports they will be able to have a more specific view to know what is going on with the staff example What is the most common factor for employee absence? Can absence mean demotivation of employees? What factors should be controlled for the justification of absence? These are some of the questions that can be solved by the Absence Management software.

With this system you can follow and even predict who will be absent from work. With the scheduling and data that the software provides it is possible to be more specific in managing employee time. Where it is possible to find a replacement with the necessary time to replace the employee who will be absent.

Some types of Absence Management software

  • Absence
  • E-days
  • Mitrefinch
  • Breathe
  • Actiplans
  • Bitrix24
  • Myhrtoolkit

These different kinds software are some of the examples that are used by companies to control and monitor employee absences. Each one of these platforms will offer the follow-up of productivity, their absences and other factors that are vital for the performance of the employees in the organization.

This is why companies have said no to paper and Excel to carry out the registration and follow-up of employee absences in the company. In an automated way it is possible to have the records and control of each employee in the company, without being afraid of the number of people working. This has been a time saver for many companies in the area of human resources.

The software is not only accessible from the web page or downloading it directly to the computer, it is also found in applications on cell phones. They are just a click away for tracking, wherever the person is.

In general, Absence Management can organize: absences, birthdays, working hours in the office or remotely, calendars, approval of leaves of absence, possibility of sharing files of the absence (medical records among others), reports of work productivity, questionnaires to keep the database updated with graphics among others.

Revolution for remote work monitoring

Today companies are making more revolutionary changes in the way they work. One of these changes is remote working where people can work from home or from anywhere in the world and not leave behind their responsibilities to the company they work for. Giving people more freedom and confidence to be able to create and perform their jobs remotely.

As working methods have changed, Absence Management has become an essential part of every organization. With the software mentioned above, companies can keep track of staff working outside the office without having to be at the person’s side to monitor what they are doing or not doing, including time management.

Processes can now be faster and more agile in tracking the work of each person, even if the company has more than 50 employees. Automation of information can be just a click away to get it, organize it and share it.

Also as the boss and human resources are aware of the employee’s absence, also in many cases it depends on the company, the employee can also be aware of their absence movements and thus have a feedback of their process in the organization.

How do you do this?

Employees can install clock in and out system on their computers or simply enter the web pages where the schedule or other activities are in an easy and concrete way to record their working hours, absences, full activities, and so on. Making the boss or the person in charge can give a continuous supervision and also be in a clear and constant communication of the fulfilment of each part.

Many companies today reduce rental or space costs by having their employees outside the office. A way that has been in trend in recent years and has proven to be an advantage for remote work to be much more popular in several places in the world.

Can remote work be for everyone?

For many people remote working can be a dream job. However, not everyone can adapt to this type of circumstance of working away from the company. There are still people who like the traditional method of working, as they are more productive from the office, they like having their leader or boss close by or they simply like to interact with other employees as human beings are social beings.

Remote working can give flexibility, confidence and freedom, but it is not for all types of people because not everyone is productive under the same circumstances.

Conclusions on Absence Management

It is a fact that more and more organizations want to be more organized and detailed with the actions that employees perform, without overly overstepping the terms of privacy or putting pressure on the worker. However, being able to structure employee absences and even future absences in an orderly and adequate manner makes the company have a much higher productivity development and thus obtain greater results.

The monitoring that the absence management software requires from the companies, enables employees to have some freedom with leaves. The follow-up on each of these cases, and how to integrate them to the work breakdown structure is a bit more challenging.

Motivation is an important factor for synergy work or employee productivity work. If a person is not completely happy with his job, he will not give the best possible performance for the accomplishment of his tasks. With absence management it could be determined in specific or general terms of an organization whether personal absences could be for motivational reasons.

This makes companies reflect or look at why the employee is not having the best attitude of work performance, what could be the causes and what actions could be improved by the company. On the other hand, this type of follow-up makes companies take decisions also to dispense with employees who have already gone beyond the limits with the company’s policies and could lead to the implementation of disciplinary actions by the bosses or even the dismissal of the employee.

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It’s your turn

What do you think? Is Absence Management important in companies? Do you have Absence Management software in your working environment? If so, how has it worked for you in your company? Do you think it is essential for remote jobs to have absence management software? Do you have anything else to add?

Share your experience and knowledge in the comments box below.

More information

  1. Baker‐McClearn, D., Greasley, K., Dale, J., & Griffith, F. (2010). Absence management and presenteeism: The pressures on employees to attend work and the impact of attendance on performance. Human Resource Management Journal, 20(3), 311-328.
  2. Taylor, P., Baldry, C., Bain, P., & Ellis, V. (2003). A unique working environment’: health, sickness and absence management in UK call centres. Work, employment and society, 17(3), 435-458.
  3. Anderson, E. L. (2004). What’s absent in absence management? Employee Benefits Journal, 29(1), 25-30.
  4. Bennett, H. (2002). Employee commitment: the key to absence management in local government? Leadership & Organization Development Journal.

How to cite this article:
Ospina Avendano, D. (2020). Absence Management. Retrieved [insert date] from Toolshero: https://www.toolshero.com/human-resources/absence-management/

Published on: 08/21/2020 | Last update: 05/21/2022

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Daniela Avendaño
Article by:

Daniela Avendaño

Daniela Avendaño is a content producer and translator at toolshero. She obtained a Bachelor in Communications & Journalism, and with her theoretical and practical knowledge she supports the toolshero production team with interesting articles on management, personal & professional development, marketing and more. She is driven by sharing knowledge and stimulating others to develop.


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