Absence, in its various guises, is inevitable – employees have to take time off. Consistently being caught off-guard by staff absence, however, doesn’t have to be. Creating an absence policy gives you a plan of action for dealing with time off – whether planned or unplanned. Here are a few reasons you need one for your company.

Save time

The first and most significant advantage of is that an absence policy saves everyone time and effort. It ensures that employees, HR, and management are on the same page.

For a start, just having a policy makes it far more likely that your employees will be familiar with the procedure for different types of absence. They can be taken through the policy during their company onboarding and told where they can find it for their own reference. They’ll be better able to answer queries regarding absence for themselves.

When there is actually is an issue, HR will have an official ruling to refer to – a company line on the matter. They won’t be responsible for resolving the dispute themselves and they’ll be less reason to involve management.

Also, an absence policy saves time by establishing an official point of contact for staff. This is particularly useful for new employees, who are less familiar with the company hierarchy and procedure. However, it’ll also help more seasoned members of staff, who may need time off for less conventional reasons and are unclear about who to speak to about it.

Helps with strategic decisions

Drafting an absence policy compels you to consider all the reasons employees may take time off from work and the how each could affect your company. You might have procedures for dealing with annual leave or sick days, but what about longer-term sickness absence – or compassionate leave?

Being aware of the potential reasons for absence enables you to make better strategic decisions regarding staff, which serves to make your company more adaptable.

It’s preventative

Having an absence policy will actually prevent absences as well as help to solve disputes.

For instance, if employees are aware of how they’ll have to justify sickness absence, with doctor’s notes or a back to work interview, they’ll be less likely to call in sick without proper justification. On the other hand, if, as per your absence policy, they know that remote working is an option when they’re under the weather, they’ll opt to stay home instead of coming into the office and compromising their colleagues’ health.

Better for morale

Related to the above point of prevention is the fact that a policy is good for employee morale. The fact that the company has an absence policy shows that they acknowledge the fact that people need to take time off makes employees feel more cared for. That they’re a person and not merely an expendable employee.

With this feeling permeating your company, staff are going to be happier in their work overall. They’ll be less friction between management and employees, leading to less stress, burnout – and fewer absences. Better still, employees are more loyal to a company that looks after their wellbeing, resulting in lower staff turnover

Ultimately, a well-thought-out absence policy helps to create and maintain a healthy company culture.