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Human Resources Employer Guide to Tracking Employee Absences

5 min read

Tracking employee absences in the workplace can be challenging at times. Of course, taking time off is sometimes unavoidable. Employees may take absences for sick leave, bereavement, child care or sometimes they just need a well-deserved rest and vacation. Today we’re going to look at how you can keep track of these employee absences.

What is employee absenteeism? 

Absenteeism refers to habitual workplace absence that is typically unplanned and unannounced. Although every worker misses work from time to time, it’s crucial to know the difference between absenteeism and other types of absences when creating your leave of absence policy. There are two main types of absences that are important to distinguish between.

Excused absences

Everyone occasionally needs to take time off from work. For example, this could be due to a sudden illness, family leave or personal leave. These are just some examples that can be unannounced but are legitimate and therefore likely to be excused by an employer. Vacation leave and foreseeable medical absences are likely to be planned in advance and also excused by employers. Nonetheless, they will still require you to manage vacation requests in a similar way. 

Unexcused absences 

Absenteeism is usually defined as chronic or habitual absence without good reason. However, the majority of people aren’t aware that things like lateness, early departures, and even extended lunches also come under this heading. These sorts of “absence” are unexcused and not legitimate.  

Cost of Absenteeism

A consequence of absenteeism is that it becomes costly for both employers and employees. Therefore, businesses should consider the direct and indirect costs when calculating salaries over the payroll period. 

Direct Costs

When absences go unnoticed, the employer may be left paying the salary for working time that has not been complete; this is a result of poor absence management practices. Additional direct costs include those from managing paid time off, as well as overtime or replacement worker costs to cover the absences. Furthermore, a direct cost to the employee may be that they are not paid for taking time off or may even, ultimately, lose their job. 

Indirect costs 

Indirect costs of absence to the employer can have a big impact on a business and its workforce. Firstly, there is the issue of lost productivity from within the company, which may affect overall profits. Secondly, work may be delayed, meaning deadlines are not being met and projects are falling behind targets. 

As such, it is important to keep track of employee absences. Yet, you might be wondering “How do I track employee attendance?” A simple way is by using an employee absence tracker. 

Tracking Employee Absences

So what is an attendance tracker? To put it simply, an absenteeism tracking tool helps any manager or employee keep a close eye on staff attendance. This can be very beneficial to businesses for a number of reasons. These include: 

Beneficial for employer and employee 

The employee absence tracker is useful for employers to keep an eye on employee attendance. However, it’s also beneficial for employees. It allows both parties to keep an eye on attendance and absences. Furthermore, it is all kept on record, so everyone is in the loop. 

Rates of absenteeism 

Not only does the tool record attendance, but it also offers an easy and efficient way of calculating the rate of absence in a business. This will include the incident rate, which will specify the inactivity and severity of each absence the staff takes. So, when making monthly or annual reports, the tool is at hand and ready to pull essential data from. 

Reduction in costs 

Using the tracker will provide a self-checking tool for both employers and employees so that both can keep an eye on their attendance record. Therefore, it will serve to reduce direct and indirect costs to the employer and increase workplace productivity. 

Employee Absence Tracker Excel Templates

Attempts at tracking employee absences have been done with in-house spreadsheets, lists, databases, specialist software and more. Yet, these can often be difficult to follow and cumbersome. But fear not, we’ve created an employee time off template tracker. It is easy to use and doesn’t have to be integrated with another program. So, how does it work? 

Step 1: Download the template for tracking employee absences. 

Step 2: Enter the month you will be using the tracker for. Next, add your employees into the spreadsheet alphabetically, or by works number, so they are easy to find. 

Step 3: Input the necessary information regarding absence, including the reason and type, next to the name of the employee in question. 

Step 4: Color code your tracker to customize the type of absence. This will make it easier to follow and interpret. For example, bereavement leave could be blue, whereas vacation leave could be red. This way, it’s much easier to read with just one look. 

Step 5: Now your absence tracker is up and running, you can create a “track employee absences calendar”. This can work side by side with your employee absence tracker excel. It may be useful for listing important dates, as well as the absences and time off employees are taking. 

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Managing Employee Absences

After tracking attendance with the employee absence tracker 2020, you may notice that absenteeism is a problem in your business. If unfortunately, this is the case, you need to know the best ways to deal with it. There are a number of actions you can take in the form of absence control programs.  


Incentive plans consist of a number of measures that encourage workers to take fewer absences. For example, cash incentives include attendance bonuses and non-cash incentives may include recognizing employees’ hard work through certificates or communication. Incentives can help increase morale and ensure your workforce is coming into the office. 

Verification of illness

You may decide to take the measure of asking employees to provide verification of illness. This could be implemented when an employee is taking a large amount of unexcused sick time. For example, asking for a doctor’s note to verify the illness would be of use in this case.

Time off policies 

A good way to manage the problem of absences is to establish adequate sick leave and excused absence policies. This may help to solve any gray areas in time off and remove the stigma of unauthorized absence in some cases. 

Performance improvement plans

These plans are in place to help teach employees to be more self-aware regarding their time. Above all, their aim is to make the workers more accountable for their time and consequently take less unexcused absences. 

Legal Issues 

Of course, when establishing, implementing and enforcing such control programs, there is some legislation that you must be aware of and take into account. 

Wage and hour laws

Employers need to make sure that their policies regarding absences are in line with the Fair Labor Standard Act (FLSA) and federal and state wage and hours laws. These laws are in place to provide a minimum hourly wage and overtime for covered employees. You must make sure that when making absence-related deductions from employee pay, they are in compliance with the correct laws for employees. 

Paid sick leave laws

There are a number of state and local laws regarding the issue of paid sick leave. Some legislation obligates employers to make allowances for sick related absences and include restrictions of discipline for absences of this type. It’s essential to check out your local and state laws here to be sure of what applies to you. 

Family and Medical Leave Laws (FMLA)

FMLA paid family leave California laws provide eligible employers with up to 12 weeks of protected leave to care for a spouse, child or parent who is seriously ill. It may also be used if the employees themselves are seriously ill. As such, employers must respect employees who are eligible for this leave and take note of their limitations regarding discipline for absence. 

Worker’s Compensation Laws

This law that applies in all 50 states provides victims of industrial and occupational accidents with the necessary treatment, rehabilitation, benefits and more. In these cases, the employer is responsible for injuries. Under this worker’s compensation law, employees are entitled to absence without a set limit. Therefore, employers must respect workers who are covered by these laws. 

After reading this guide you should be up to speed with all the necessary information for tracking employee absences. What’s more, you should now be able to use the employee time off template tracker 2023/free with ease.

Easily Track Employee Holidays & Absences with Factorial!

Written by: Charlotte Stace

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