Absenteeism, Causes and Effects

Custom Student Mr. Teacher ENG 1001-04 1 October 2016

Absenteeism, Causes and Effects

I. Meaning Absenteeism is the term generally used to refer to unscheduled employee absences from the workplace. Many causes of absenteeism are legitimate, for example personal illness or family issues, but absenteeism also can often be traced to other factors such as a poor work environment or workers who are not committed to their jobs. If such absences become excessive, they can have a seriously adverse impact on a business’s operations and, ultimately, its profitability. The Labour Department in India defined the absenteeism rate as the total man-shifts lost because of absences as a percentage of the total number of man-shifts scheduled. So for calculation of the rate of the absenteeism we require the number of persons scheduled to work and the number actually present.

II .Causes of the absenteeism

The rate of the absenteeism in Indian industries is very high and cannot be dismissed. A Statistical study of absenteeism of Indian Labour observed that, the basic cause of absenteeism in India is that industrial worker is still part-time peasant. Thus the workers go to find jobs at cities after the harvesting their crops. It means that when the transplanting season. These workers consider to the modern industrialism is insecure. Thus, cause to high rate of the absenteeism in the industrial sector. According to the Labour Investigation Committee (1946), there were many reasons that caused the absenteeism of the industrial workers. The Commission pointed out many factors which caused the absenteeism in Indian industries. These factors are:

1. Sickness and low vitality: The committee pointed out that sickness is most important responsible for absenteeism in almost of the in Industrial sector. Epidemics like cholera, small-pox and malaria always break out in severe from in most industrial areas. The low vitality of the Indian workers makes them easy prey to such epidemics and bad housing and unsanitary conditions of living aggravate the trouble. However, the Commission has been noticed that the rate of absenteeism among the female workers is higher than their male counterparts.

2. Means of Transport: The Commission also stated that the transport facilities also play very important to contribute the absenteeism of the worker in the industries. It has been pointed out that, the rate of absenteeism is higher in those factories where transport facilities are not easily available as compared to those where such facilities are easily available or provided by the factory itself

. 3. Hours of work: The long hours of work also affect the workers’ efficiency and consequently their sickness rate and absenteeism rate are increased.

4. Nightshift: It has also been pointed out that there is a greater percentage of absenteeism during the nightshifts than in the dayshifts, owing to the greater discomforts of work during the night-time.

5. Rural exodus: The committee also pointed out that probably the most predominant cause of absenteeism is the frequent urge of rural exodus. It has been noticed that the workers go back to their villages at the time of harvesting and sowing the crops. It increases the rate of absenteeism in factories.

6. Accident: Industrial accident depends upon the nature of work to be performed by the worker and his ability for doing that work. In case of hazardous nature of job, the accidents occur more frequently which lead to higher rate of absenteeism.

7. Social and religious Function: it has been noticed that workers become absent form their duty on occasions of social and religious functions. Since the workers like to join their families on such occasions, they go back to their villages for like to join short periods.

8. Drinking and amusement: the Labour Investigation committee pointed out that drinking and amusements are also responsible for absenteeism. Since drinking and amusements in the late hours of night make it difficult for the workers to reach in time on their duties. They like to become absent rather than late since they know that badli workers will be substituted for them, if they are late.

9.After Pay-Day: the Labour Investigation committee also noted the level of absenteeism is comparatively high immediately after the pay-day because they get their wages, they feel like having a good time or return to their villages to make purchases for the family and to meet them, so the absenteeism is high after they got paid.

10. Nature of work: the absenteeism rate is also affected by the nature of work. According to Prof. William pointed out that absenteeism prevails because workers are not accustomed to the factory life and factory discipline. In other words, absenteeism prevails because the nature of work in factories is different from that for which the worker is accustomed. So when they come to work in the factory, they feel strange, this new situation make them uncomfortable, so lead to high rate of absenteeism of the industrial workers.

11. Other causes : The above factor which are caused the absenteeism in the Industrial which are pointed out briefly by the Labour Commission. However, there can be tow other factors which caused the absenteeism in industrial sector.

These factors are: a) personal Factors and b) workplace factors.

A. Personal factor: The personal factor also divided into other sub-factors, these are:

i. Personal Attitude: there are different attitude of employees. The Employees with strong workplace ethics will respect their work and appreciate the contribution they make to their companies. Such employees will not engage themselves in taking unscheduled off. On the other hand, employees with very low or no work ethics are indiscipline and have lot of integrity and behavioural issues. Since, they feel no obligation towards the company, absenteeism comes easily to them.

ii. Age: The younger employees are often restless. They want to spend time with their friends and have fun, rather than being tied down with work responsibility. This lack of ownership often leads them to take unauthorized time off. With age, people gain experience and maturity, which makes them focused and responsible. Their approach is rather professional and they prefer to stick to their chairs to get the work done. If ever they are found absent, then it could be due to sickness.

iii .Seniority: Employees, who have been with the company for a long time are well-adjusted with the working culture and the job, therefore, they find no reason to be absent without permission. On the other hand, new hires are more prone to taking ad hoc breaks to unwind themselves. iv. Gender: Women generally do a balancing act by shuffling their time between home and work. Family, being their foremost priority, they don’t think twice before taking a step towards absenteeism.

B. Workplace Factors

i. Stress: The pressure at work sometimes takes a toll on the employees. This results in increased levels of stress. The employees then resort to excuses that can help them stay away from work.

ii. Work Routine: Doing the same job over a period of time can get monotonous. The employees find the job functions boring. They rather choose time off to do something interesting than come to work.

iii. Job Satisfaction: If employees do not find their job challenging, dissatisfaction creeps in. That leads to more absenteeism in the workplace.

III. Effect of absenteeism: The effects of the absenteeism of the workers in the factories adversely effect to the employers, the cost of production of the factory is increased because of the absent of the workers, by employed extra temporary staffs in order to replace the absentee. The effects of absenteeism in the workplace are directly proportionate to decreased productivity. The company, eventually, is trying to cover up the direct and indirect cost involved to hire temporary staff, and pay employees for overtime.

So the cost of the production of the company is increased as the result they increase the price of the commodity, so the consumers have to pay high price for the commodities.. However, the workers themselves also effect of the absenteeism because their income is reduced according to the principle of “no work no pay”, as the result their standard of live decreased. Thus, absenteeism adversely affects the employers and the workers, and consumers and ultimately , it can be adverse affect to the growth of the economy in the country. so all these give rises to many industrial labour and social problems.

IV. Method to remedy the absenteeism As regard to the measure to be adopted to remove the absenteeism, the Bombay Textile Labour Enquiry committee stated that “the proper conditions of work in the factory, adequate wages, protection from accident and sickness, and facilities for obtaining leave for rest and recuperation constitute the most effective means of reducing absenteeism. The Labour investigation committee, agreed with the above view, stated that “the excessive fatigue and sweated conditions of work are bound to create a defence mechanism’ in the worker and if adding results are to be obtained, the best policy would be to improve conditions of work and life for the workers and make them feel contented and happy.

Therefore, the Committee suggested that the most effective way of dealing with absenteeism is to provide holiday with pay or even without pay and permit workers to attend their private affairs occasionally and thus regularise absenteeism instead of merely taking disciplinary actions for it . Provision of suitable housing facilities in industrial towns should also go a long way in improving attendance. Besides, the above provisions a sense of responsibility towards industry should be created among the workers through proper education and training. The workers’ participation in the management of industry, introduction of an incentive wage scheme and linking wages and bonus with production may also prove very helpful in checking the rate of absenteeism.


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  • University/College: University of Chicago

  • Type of paper: Thesis/Dissertation Chapter

  • Date: 1 October 2016

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