Staff absence is one of the most common, and consistent, challenges faced by companies. Fortunately, however, as illustrated by Bradford Factor Triggers, not all absences are equal and some prove less problematic for companies than others. Such absences tend to be authorised by the business.

In this post, we’re going to take a look at what qualifies as an authorised absence and the different types your business is likely to encounter. 

What is an authorised absence?

An authorised absence is one that an employee has arranged ahead of time and, consequently, a business can plan around. This is in contrast to unplanned or unauthorised absences, which a business has little to no control over and are usually more detrimental to a company’s day to day operations. 

What are the types of authorised absences?

Here’s a brief rundown of the types of absences that are considered authorised. They might differ from company to company but the vast majority of organisations will recognise them in some form. 

  • Annual leave: Annual leave is the most common reason for staff absence. Fortunately, they’re also arranged ahead of time so they’re also among the easiest to plan for. Annual leave absence also includes time off in lieu, and, if offered by the company, duvet days, (which though unplanned, are still authorised).Annual leave, however, can be a double-edged sword. Although it isn’t as detrimental to a company as other types of absence, if you don’t have the right system for booking and tracking staff holidays, administering it can take up an excessive amount of time. 
  • Bank holidays: Bank holidays are really a subset of annual leave, as they make up the 28 days of statutory annual leave that a company has to offer its employees. However, how the business chooses to administer those 28 days is up to them.On one hand, a company may choose to make the bank holidays mandatory, which results in them only having to provide 20 additional holiday days for employees to take when convenient. On the other hand, if a business operates on bank holidays, they might give their employees the full 28 days’ allowance and require them to book bank holidays off.The 8 UK bank holidays are as follows: 
    • New Year’s Day
    • Good Friday
    • Easter Monday
    • May bank holidays
      • Early May
      • Spring bank holiday
    • Summer (August) bank holiday
    • Christmas day
    • Boxing dayHowever, in 2022, they’ll be an extra bank holiday on the 3rd of June for the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee.
  • Maternity, paternity, and adoption leave: Statutory maternity leave is 52 weeks, divided into 26 weeks of ordinary maternity leave and a second 26-week period for additional maternity leave. Paternity leave, meanwhile, is up to two consecutive weeks.There’s also adoption leave which, like maternity leave, is up to 52 weeks. Adoption leave, however, is the same length regardless of the employee’s gender.
  • Medical appointments: Medical appointments are usually regarded as authorised, though how they’re administered depends on the company. If a company has one, they could be covered by their sick pay scheme. Alternatively, depending on the length of the appointment, they could come out of their annual leave allowance.

  • Training: This type of absence occurs when the company decides an employee needs to attend a course for their professional development. This training could be offsite or it could take place onsite but the employee is unavailable for other work-related matters.

  • Conferences: If the employee is representing the company at a conference or similar event, that would also count as an authorised absence.

  • Compassionate leave: A member of staff is entitled to time off if a dependant, someone who depends on their care, passes away. However, compassionate leave doesn’t have a specified length: it’s best to talk to the employee and determine how much time they feel they need. Plus, you can always grant them more time if they need it. The employee also isn’t legally entitled to be paid for compassionate leave.

  • Public duties: On occasion, an employee might need to take time off from work to undertake a public duty. Roles that are deemed public duties include:
    • A member of a jury 
    • A magistrate
    • A trade union rep
    • A school governor
    • A local councillor
    • A member of a health authority

As with time off for compassionate leave, the length an employee is entitled to isn’t set in stone and is to be determined on a case-by-case basis. Employees also aren’t legally entitled to be paid for this time off.

Outline all authorised absences in your absence policy?

The best way to ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to authorised absences is to outline them in your company’s absence policy. As well as listing which absences are authorised, you should detail the procedure for each one, such as who to contact to book the time off, how much notice the company requires, and other terms and conditions. 

ScheduleLeave makes it easy to track annual leave and other authorised absences. It’s also effortless to integrate your existing calendar so employees can request their own time off, as well as see, at a glance, which of their colleagues are absent. If you’re interested in finding out how much time ScheduleLeave can save your company, sign up for a free trial today.