Absence From Work
Even the most diligent of employees will occasionally miss a workday. Since the reasons for an absence from work can vary greatly, many employers utilize listings of what constitutes excused and unexcused absences. Here is a breakdown of the most common types of absences and how they can impact the continued employment of the individual.
Quite a few situations can take place that require the employee to request time away from work. The request may take place in advance, or occur at the spur of the moment. Fortunately, many employers are willing to approve these types of absences and ensure that they do not have any type of negative impact on the attendance record of the employee.
Some of the more common examples of excused absences include:
It’s not unusual for employers to have extend sick time to employees who are out for any type of health related issue. Sick time can be utilized when the individual is suffering from any condition that would impair the ability to perform the duties associated with the position. If the nature of the health issue would also place other employees at risk, it is generally recommended that the employee take a day or several days off until the problem is resolved.
With this type of absence from work, the employee draws on the bank of sick days currently allotted. Most companies calculate the number of sick days an employee currently has available based on attendance. For example, the employee may accrue one sick day for every 30 days worked. Other company policies include assigning the employee a set bank of set days with the commencement of a new calendar year.
Sick time can be used when the employee needs to undergo some type of outpatient procedure, has a severe cold, or must be in the hospital for a few days to recover from an accident or some type of invasive surgery. Using the sick days ensures that the income of the employee is not reduced, something that makes it easier to concentrate on getting well and not worrying about finances.
Another common form of absence from work is the use of personal time. Unlike sick leave, personal days can be utilized for any reason that the employee deems necessary. Perhaps the employee has been working hard on a project that is now completed. Feeling mentally drained, the employee requests to take a couple of personal days as a way of creating a long weekend. During that time, the employee has the chance to recharge and return to work ready to take on the next challenge.
Vacation days are another example of excused absences. Depending on company policies and procedures, employees will need to request vacation days well several months in advance. This allows the employer time to evaluate the request, make arrangements for the duties of the employee to be covered during the desired time frame, and in general make sure granting the vacation time will not interfere with the day to day operation of the business.
The amount of vacation time allotted to each employee is often based on how long the individual has been with the business. For example, someone who has been with the company for a couple of years may receive a week’s paid vacation annually. Those who have been with the company for five years or more may have three or possibly four weeks of paid vacation.
Family and Medical Leave
Certain types of medical issues involving the employee or a close relative may require a longer period of time to resolve. Rather than using personal days for these events, the employee is able to apply for and receive what is known as family and medical leave.
Maternity or paternity leave are two examples of this type of excused absence. The birth of a child means a significant amount of adjustment for the new parents. New mothers need time to recover from the birth and to spend time with the child. Fathers may be granted leave to take care of the mothers and help with the tasks needed to care for a newborn. In this scenario, the approved leave may last for several weeks or months, depending on company policy.
Caring for a close family member who is in ill health is another reason to grant this type of leave. For example, perhaps a parent undergoes an operation and requires constant care during the recovery period. The employee may be granted paid time away from work to care for the parent until the individual is capable of managing alone.
At times, the medical leave is granted because the employee is dealing with a health crisis. An operation and the subsequent recovery period may mean the individual is unable to work for a few weeks. Granting the leave ensures that the employee has a job to come back to once the attending physician releases the patient.
Bereavement or Sympathy Leave
When a close relative passes away, receiving time to attend the funeral and take care of any essentials is not uncommon. Most companies have provisions to extend this type of excused absence from work when the deceased is a spouse, child, or parent. Some extend the coverage when the deceased is a sibling or grandparent.
Employers often extend covered leave when an employee is called for jury duty. Unless the employee is able to convince the court that serving jury duty is not feasible for some reason, there is little choice but to show up for court on the appointed day. Depending on local laws, the employer may cover the wages or salary of the employee, less any compensation received from the court.
If an employee is called to active duty, such as the activation of a reserve unit, the absence is excused. During the time away, the pay of the employee may remain at the full amount, or be reduced based on the type of compensation provided by the reserve unit. Many companies have policies that ensure the employees can return to their positions once they complete their tours of duty.
- Not all forms of absences are excused. There are times when an employee may seek to take time off and be denied. When the time is taken anyway, the employee is subject to some type of disciplinary action.
- For example, failing to report to work and ensure that a supervisor is notified within a reasonable time frame may result in no pay for the day. It may also lead to a short suspension owing to the failure to comply with company policies.
- Essentially, any absence that is not covered under the policies and procedures of the employer may be classed as unexcused. Since this type of activity does disrupt the day to day function of the business, the employer may take action up to and including termination.
- Understanding what constitutes an excused absence from work and how to go about obtaining that permission is important. Doing so helps to preserve the relationship between the employer and the employee, and increase the odds that the two parties will continue to work together for many years to come.