Hot Issues
spacer
Estate planning considerations
spacer
5 checklists to support your business
spacer
Are you receiving Personal Services Income?
spacer
What Employment Contracts Does My Small Business Need?
spacer
The superannuation changes from 1 July
spacer
Hasty lodgers twice as likely to make mistakes, ATO warns
spacer
Landlords who ‘double dip’, fudge deductions in ATO crosshairs
spacer
Most Spoken Languages in the World
spacer
Tax Time Checklists - Individuals; Company; Trust; Partnership; and Super Funds
spacer
Compare your business
spacer
2024 Year End Tax Planning Guide (Part 2)
spacer
ATO to crack down on rental income, WFH deductions this tax time
spacer
How to Draft a Standard Form Contract
spacer
GST, PAYG withholding a ‘significant portion’ of $50bn tax debt
spacer
ATO changes will make it harder for over 42,000 small businesses.
spacer
The Deadliest pandemics in History
spacer
Budget breakdown – Federal Government Analysis
spacer
Federal Budget 2024
spacer
Winners & Losers
spacer
2024 Year End Tax Planning Guide (Part 1)
spacer
Medicare levy surcharge OR basic health insurance ?
spacer
ATO warns of ‘serious penalties’ for unlawful tax scheme promoters
spacer
ACCC scam report
spacer
Employees taking more sick days - and it's getting worse
spacer
Foreign residents selling property in Australia
spacer
How much does negative gearing really cost – an overview and an opinion?
spacer
The Shortest-reigning Monarchs in History
spacer
FBT Reminder – Odometer Reading
Article archive
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2024
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2024
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2023
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2023
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2023
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2023
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2022
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2022
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2022
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2022
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2021
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2021
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2021
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2021
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2020
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2020
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2020
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2020
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2019
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2019
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2019
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2019
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2018
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2018
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2018
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2018
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2017
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2017
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2017
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2017
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2016
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2016
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2016
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2016
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2015
spacer
Quarter 3 July - September 2015
spacer
Quarter 2 April - June 2015
spacer
Quarter 1 January - March 2015
spacer
Quarter 4 October - December 2014
Employees taking more sick days - and it's getting worse

Recent data shows an increase in the average sick leave days to 13.8 per employee per year.

.

Traditionally, absence has been viewed solely as sick leave, but now it manifests in many ways. Absenteeism can take forms such as presenteeism, high rates of employee turnover, and extended periods of unpaid leave.

A growing number of organisations, from 36% in 2019 to 55% in 2023, believe that employee absence is underreported. This trend has been accompanied by a 2.6-day increase in the average number of absence days lost per employee per year since 2019.

Employee absenteeism continues to be a costly challenge for organisations. Survey data indicates that the average direct cost of absence per employee has increased from $3,395 to $4,025. Furthermore, 80% of companies surveyed attribute the rise in absences to COVID-related restrictions.

More than half a million Australians sustain a work-related injury or illness each year at an estimated cost of $61.8 billion, according to Safe Work Australia. With the added consideration of depression, presenteeism, and other factors contributing to absence, these costs could rise by a further $6.3 billion.

Managing absenteeism presents challenges for managers, particularly during periods like the COVID-19 pandemic. The situation is compounded by Australia's unprecedented labour shortages, escalating wages, shifting work practices, and increased workplace compliance.

The financial impact on Australian businesses is significant, prompting employers to adopt a more holistic approach, considering employees' wellbeing beyond physical presence or absence at work.

EMPLOYEE ENGAGEMENT IN ABSENCE AND WELLBEING PROGRAMS

Research indicates that employers often face low employee uptake despite offering various wellbeing services, with only around 20% participating. This phenomenon, termed "worried well" by Dane Carroll, reflects the tendency for individuals who are generally well but concerned about potential health issues to engage more in wellbeing programs than those who may have more significant needs. 

Concerns about privacy and perceptions of chronic health conditions influence employees' engagement in such programs. To address this, employers must consider wellbeing as a holistic element accessible to employees.

ANALYSE ABSENCE DATA FOR EFFECTIVE WELLBEING INTERVENTIONS

Understanding the factors driving absence in a business is crucial. Employers should analyse workforce demographics, considering aspects such as age distribution. For instance, the needs of a 25-year-old employee will differ significantly from those of a 55-year-old. However, age alone does not determine retirement plans, as many employees continue working beyond the traditional retirement age.

A deep dive into data, including sick leave and turnover, can provide insights into absence patterns. Identifying trends and patterns helps determine if poor wellbeing is rooted in cultural issues or other factors such as ageing-related shift patterns. For instance, high rates of single-day absences in an aging workforce may indicate the need for time off for recovery, enabling employees to return and continue working for the rest of the week.

Tailoring wellbeing solutions to address specific needs can increase employee engagement and enable employers to monitor the effectiveness of their interventions. Wellbeing initiatives have evolved beyond traditional offerings like massages and physiotherapy, encompassing workforce planning and flexible shift patterns to reduce absenteeism.

MANAGING EMPLOYEE LEAVE THROUGH OPEN DIALOGUE

Dealing with excessive employee leave can be challenging for employers. Beyond tracking absenteeism, it's crucial to understand the underlying reasons for absences. Is it because of a medical condition or injury? Or the need to care for a family member? Is it the lack of flexible working hours? Engaging in conversations with employees before the situation escalates into long-term absence is essential.

Implementing return-to-work interviews is a beneficial practice for several reasons. They can be informal conversations facilitating a smooth transition for employees returning to their roles, demonstrating the employer's care and concern for its workforce, and reducing the likelihood of recurring absences. 

Additionally, flexible working hours and remote work options can enhance employee wellbeing, increase organisational loyalty, and mitigate absenteeism. Offering flexible schedules that accommodate individual preferences and circumstances can serve as a measure to improve overall employee satisfaction and productivity.

The employment relations landscape has recently seen reforms to leave entitlements, including the introduction of paid family and domestic violence leave. This paid leave entitlement, akin to annual or paid sick and carer's leave, is now part of the National Employment Standards (NES). Traditionally, employees used paid entitlements and unpaid leave to address such events.

OVER TO YOU

Managing leave and absence is crucial for fostering a healthy and productive work environment. It allows organisations to optimise workforce planning, reduce associated costs, and ensure the wellbeing of their employees. By analysing absence data, employers can gain insights into the underlying factors driving absenteeism and implement targeted interventions. Open dialogue with employees, flexible working arrangements, and a holistic approach to employee wellbeing can significantly reduce absenteeism and enhance workplace productivity.

 

 

 

 

Catherine Ngo
27 March 2024
mybusiness.com.au

site By AcctWeb