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Solve Your Absenteeism Problems

On-time attendance is a problem for every business at one time or another. For some businesses it is an occasional problem, for others it is a constant struggle.

LegalBriefs subscriber and long time friend, Mike Newman emailed the following suggestion:

Just a note: By far the policy change that has had the biggest positive impact I have ever seen (including managing 3 manufacturing facilities with over 400 unionized people) is the following change we made 2 years back:

Regarding absenteeism/sick time......

We reduced our 10 paid holidays to 6 per year. We give each employee 1/2 day of paid time off for each completed month of service (i.e. 6 per year). We allow everyone to "build up" their paid time off to a maximum of 12 days. We tell folks they can take a day off whenever they want (we don't care if they are sick or going hunting, and don't ask either). If they don't come to work they have to use one of their paid days off from their bank.

I have not had a single attendance issue since!!!!! It's amazing when coming to work or not is put in the employees’ hands how they modify their own behavior. Everyone wants to keep their paid days off for fun days that are planned in advance, which is a win/win for supervisors/employee and company.

Also amazing is how there are two types of employees... and none in between...either they are in control of their life and have saved up all 12 days and use them a week or two at a time before they disappear, or have zero saved up and use them on the 1st of the next month.

This policy change has saved me tens of thousands of dollars.

Mike is correct. We have worked with a number of employers to draft similar flexible leave provisions. These clients tell us the policy works!

If you need an employee handbook (don't forget our innovative Employee Handbook package for Oregon businesses), if absenteeism is a problem or if you are reviewing your vacation policy, you should consider a flexible leave policy to solve and prevent on-time attendance problems in a positive rather than punitive manner.

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