Managing Sickness Absence In The Workplace

Are you struggling in dealing with employee sickness at work? Read on. This guide covers three critical methods for managing employee sick leave with an online tracker, addressing the causes of sickness absence, and how to reduce employee sickness at work.

Getting sick is an imminent part of life, which is also inevitable in the workplace. Employers will always have to deal with sick employees, this being just another challenge that they have to face daily.

Unfortunately, sickness at work can generate a lot of adverse outcomes: low productivity, a factor for committing mistakes, decreased motivation, and high costs. It turns out that more employees are working when they are feeling unwell, costing employers about $150 billion to $250 billion or 60 percent of the total cost of worker illness according to CDC1

LeaveBoard is used as a straightforward sickness management tracker. It allows HR managers to stay on top of all staffing issues by using our software, and everything will be easier in no time.

Let’s start on how it does approach the challenge of dealing with a growing number of sick leave absence requests productively and accurately:

Managing staff sickness online

With the LeaveBoard HR system, you can stay on top of the absences in a carefree way. It’s essential to track any leave of absence, so sickness is not an exception. The online HR solution is accessible from any device connected to the internet directly from the browser. In this way, you and your employees will be able to:

  • Request their sick leave and add notes, if necessary (regarding the illness).
  • Approve leave requests with a few clicks, following the approval flow you created
  • Gain an overview of planned absences
  • Set-up dynamic leave tracking policies
  • Receive an email notification as soon as a request is added or approved.
  • Monitor the vacation and sick leave calendar, so that you can ensure business continuity


Control sickness absence

Take into consideration that every one of your employees has specific, individual needs, and one size does not fit all. Therefore, your leave policies should be flexible, and the sickness management tool can accommodate this.

Determine how many sick days your staff is entitled to, the approval process, and the approvers (you can set up a notification so when a sick leave request is approved, the system will send an email to the person who needs to follow up on sick leave procedure).

  • Benefit from customized allowance per employee 
  • Manage sickness entitlements for every employee with just a few clicks
  • Enjoy automatic balances calculation
  • Each sick leave request follows the same validation procedures for each employee using the dynamic time off request form.


Reporting on sickness absence

LeaveBoard offers complex and accurate absence reporting software so you can check sickness and leave levels at any time:

  • Benefit from records of all absences
  • Sort them annually, by month, or by custom period, by team, department, or the entire company so you can have a valuable insight into attendance issues and mark different patterns on employee absence
  • Enjoy powerful filters in our reporting tool
  • Identify illness patterns with our leave reports
  • Download an Excel editable XLS sheet with the generated reports with one click.

LeaveBoard offers the sickness tracker you need and have been waiting for. It powers flexibility to adapt to small and medium businesses’ growing needs and provides automation functionalities to remove the manual work from the HR department. Additionally, there are some extra functionalities that we would like to share with you:

  • Employee portals with dynamic time off and sick leave forms 
  • Leave requests and approvals in one click
  • Sick days entitlements
  • Centralized leave records
  • Streamlined communications
  • Vacation calendar
  • Email notifications according to the approval workflows
  • Mobile-friendly use with the web-based app
  • History of requests
  • Multiple access levels (employee, manager, supervisor, administrator)
  • Office365 calendar integration (when the employee books sick leave - an automatic entry is added into the calendar)
  • Always available as a cloud solution.

It can be staggering managing a team when suddenly many of the employees are absent for different reasons. There are situations where you cannot predict and prevent an absence, but in the majority of the cases, HR software is a key to handling staffing issues.

A sickness tracker can be a point of support for your HR management, alongside absence management, employee self-service, and employee database features. LeaveBoard is here to offer all these. It’s also quick and easy to set up because it runs in the cloud - no need to download or install any software.

Frequently asked questions

What are the causes of sickness absence?

Mental ill-health, stress, minor illness (such as colds, flu, stomach upsets, headaches, and migraines), back pain and other musculoskeletal injuries, recurring medical conditions, home, and family-related responsibilities. You can add employee stress to these causes if employee needs are not managed accordingly. 

And don’t forget about epidemics like COVID that took the world by surprise and changed the way people work.

Note: if you want to track Work From Home, you can do it with ease with LeaveBoard also.


 What are the benefits of having efficient management of sick absences?

The benefits of having a smooth process of managing and monitoring sick leave will lead to: 

  • lower insurance costs
  • a higher percentage of staff retention and motivation
  • increased business continuity
  • errorless tracking of employee sickness regardless of company size
  • less burnout and absenteeism
  • improved productivity, efficiency, and profitability.


How to reduce sickness absence?

It doesn’t matter if you are struggling with short-term or long-term absences. What you need to do first is start monitoring your absences, which is pretty easy with LeaveBoard’s leave tracker. You have to know what exactly you are dealing with, and then you can start working on it. Here are some tips on how to reduce sickness absence:

A. Offer flexible work

Flexibility within the work means it is not a costly method, and it can go a long way. Flexibility refers to remote working (work from home) and the possibility of shifting the hours around, as it best fits every employee. A flexible working policy can help your staff enjoy a better work-life balance, and therefore the risk of stress-created illness can decrease. 

TIP: You can also track WFH from LeaveBoard.

B. Attendance enticements

You can choose to encourage great attendance levels and discourage unnecessary absences by offering a financial reward, such as an annual bonus or maybe some discounts your staff may enjoy (for recreational activities). But you should make sure that this does not become a form of “shaming” for those who take sick leave. 

C. Promote a healthy lifestyle

It’s another way to reduce stress and illness. You can offer gym memberships, organize group sports activities, or pool memberships. Or even free healthy lunch once a week! Look after your employees’ health, and you will only have to gain from it.

D. Conduct return-to-work interviews

These interviews are among the most used sick leave management strategies because they represent a great way to spot the less “authentic” sick absences. Plus, through this method, you can observe and discuss the underlying causes of the absences and take measures accordingly.

E. Discuss any concerns regarding job security

A feeling of insecurity regarding the job will lead to more sick absences instead of a feeling of stability. Managers and supervisors should be able to sense these issues coming from some employees and address them.

Encourage a transparent atmosphere, where employees can feel free to discuss their worries with supervisors and managers.


Can absence management turn into something negative?

Unfortunately, yes. There is a fine line between monitoring and handling sick absences and creating an atmosphere where employees are scared and come into work even if they feel unwell. Two negative consequences can occur:

  • presenteeism: the case where the employee comes to work even if they do not feel well. If workers don’t take any time off can lead to a slower recovery, plus they are more prone to error if feeling sick.
  • leaveism: the case where employees use allocated time off (annual leave or flexi hours banked) to take time off when in reality they are sick OR the case when they work outside of contracted hours because their usual tasks cannot be completed during normal work hours.

Ensure all your strategies involving sick absences are balanced and adequate for your staff and your company to avoid these two consequences.



1Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) - the national public health agency of the United States

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