Are your employees playing policies too well?

Whilst absence triggers can be highly effective in cutting your absence levels, the way you set them is critical to their success. Understand how your absence policy works in real life when employees start to take advantage of loopholes.

Employees can learn how to ‘play the policies’, arranging their absences around the trigger points ensuring that the trigger is not tripped. One type of triggers are based on the number of absence days taken within a decided period of time e.g. 5 absence days in 13 weeks. This can work two ways: the 5 days could be taken up within one period of sickness OR employees could have 5 individual days of sickness within 13 weeks. However, the employees can easily be playing policies and take 4 absence days in 13 weeks with no repercussions.

The way to combat this is to use a combined set of triggers that cover both the number of spells and the number of days. This ensures that if one trigger is not tripped, the next one is likely to pick up on the continued behaviour. As an example, we recommend:

Trigger 1: 2 spells in 3 months

Trigger 2: 3 spells in 12 months

Trigger 3: 9 days in 12 months, totalling a 4% personal absence level

This method prevents statistical focus on one particular type of absence (perhaps short term over long term, as is the case with the Bradford Factor) and presents the original statistics with no complicating formulas.

To help managers keep track of a multi-trigger system, it can be a good idea to use a sophisticated absence tracking software. Many companies still go wrong by using Excel spreadsheets to record absence. This requires a lot of admin time and manual analysis and your comprehensive triggers will be less effective because it is so hard for managers to keep track of when the triggers have been tripped. Modern solutions track the number of days and spells for you saving time for more value adding tasks.

If you would like more information on how to decide on your triggers, Honeydew Health will always provide impartial advice. Currently, we are offering our newsletter subscribers & LinkedIn group members, a FREE absence management diagnostic for your company – let us show you your absence patterns and how you can improve attendance, all while saving you money!