Poll Indicates Employers not Tracking Absence Costs

September 1, 2011 (PLANSPONSOR.com) - Most organizations do not track indirect costs of employee absences—overtime pay, business disruption, and product delivery lags, according to findings from a new poll from the Society for Human Resource Management.

The online poll of 302 randomly selected HR professionals among SHRM’s membership was conducted in June 2011, and revealed 79% of organizations track employee absences and another 3% plan to do so in 2012. However, more than half do not track the indirect costs from employees’ sick days or other unplanned absences (61%) or from short-term disability or other extended absences (53%).  

According to an SHRM report, among organizations that keep track of employee absences, a large majority (87%) separate the information by unplanned absences such as sick days as opposed to planned absences, such as vacations and holidays, and extended absences such as short-term disability and workers’ compensation-related time off.  

Fifty-seven percent of senior managers are moderately concerned about unplanned absences. Fifty-three percent of senior managers are moderately concerned about the indirect costs of extended employee absences.  

The survey also found more than two-thirds of respondents indicated appropriate staff, such as HR and line managers, receive training or updates as needed on legal and administrative developments regarding the Family and Medical Leave Act (FMLA), Americans with Disabilities Act Amendments Act (ADAAA), or other relevant leave laws; 27% receive such training annually; 26% receive training every few years; and 8% receive training several times per year.  

More information is available at http://www.shrm.org/Research/SurveyFindings/Articles/Pages/ManagingEmployeeAbsences.aspx.