Managing complex absence triggers easily

Does your organisation have fiendishly complex absence triggers and policies? Do you need to juggle a combination of different terms and conditions for different staff members? Does the policy change based on length of service? Do you want to track pro-rata allowances for part-time employees? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, Engage can help you manage the data.

Automated triggers

Engage absence management portal automatically tracks all absences against your custom company trigger points. That means that as soon as a new absence is recorded, you will know straight away if any of the criteria for support or follow-up is met. Some triggers might not be met on the first day of absence, so all records are checked against all conditions daily to check if the situation has changed to warrant new reminders or tasks for managers. A common example are long-term absences, where specific tasks are often required from managers at different stages of the absence.

Mix and match conditions

A good absence policy tracks the frequency and length of absences as well as the overall time off in a rolling 12-month period. It’s good to have a combination of review points because different patterns of absence are an indication of different types of attendance issues. Many companies also add to this mix their company’s sick pay scheme, which can change depending on how long the employee has worked at the company for.

Keeping track of how many spells and days of absence someone has had is time-consuming enough, but to also know their length of service and pro-rata entitlements is a big ask. With proper absence management software, you don’t need to rely on spreadsheets and manually running complicated formulas. With a day-1 service you also know that the sick pay rules will be picked up as soon as the absence happens, and not several weeks later, after the relevant pay run has already taken place.

In Engage, you can combine as many conditions as needed to build your custom trigger set. The options are:

  • number of absence spells (in your chosen period)
  • length of absence
  • total number of absence days in a chosen period
  • reason for absence
  • Full-time Equivalent (FTE) for setting specific triggers for part-timers
  • length of service
  • absence policy terms, for companies with more than 1 policy in use
  • location, for companies with geographically different policies
  • recurrence
  • Bradford factor

Let’s take a look at some examples.

Pro-rata review trigger points for part-time employees

Company A has a trigger point for a review meeting with employees who have had 10 working days off in a rolling 12-month period. For a full time employee this is 2 weeks of absence but for a part time employee it could be a lot longer. To be fair to all employees, the company wants to introduce pro-rata review points for part-timers. The meetings should always take place after accumulated total of 2 working weeks of absence. That means that if you work 1 day per week, the trigger should be 2 working days; if you work 2 days per week, the trigger is 4 days; and so on.

By adding the part-time work patterns and the FTE value for all staff, the company can now easily build their pro-rata trigger points:

(FTE = 0.2) + (absence days = 2) -> review meeting

Enhanced sick pay entitlement starts at 6 months of service

Company B offers employees enhanced sick pay, but only after they’ve passed the first 6 months’ probation. To make sure that the correct instructions are sent to payroll if an employee is absent in their probation period, they can add length of service as a condition. To further help make sure the payroll team are aware, the notification can be sent straight to the payroll team.

(New absence) + (length of service < 6 months) -> SSP only

Sick pay entitlement is specified in days

Company C also offers employees company sick pay but this is limited to 2 weeks in the first year of service and goes up by a week each year. The pay stop points are programmed into automatic reminders for the payroll team:

(length of absence = 2 weeks) + (length of service < 1 year) -> stop pay

(length of absence = 3 weeks) + (length of service > 1 year AND < 2 years) -> stop pay

There’s a little bit of math involved in setting up the conditions to make sure they are correct. However, once configured, these reminders and task alerts make managing absence consistently and fairly much less time-consuming.

If you’d like to learn more about how Engage triggers could help you manage absence, get in touch!