Articles

May 29

Written by: Leonie Pretorius
29 May 2012  RssIcon

Absenteeism is a huge problem in various industries especially in the Cleaning and Security industry, and can cost organisations thousands even millions, and should be monitored and controlled.

Absent does not only mean  not coming to work it also includes:


  • Arriving late (or poor timekeeping, if you like. It is still absent as long as the employee is not at work.)
  • Leaving early (again, if you like, poor timekeeping. It is still absent if he is not at work)
  • Extended tea or lunch breaks - the employee is not at the workstation, and therefore absent.
  • Attending to private business during working hours - the employee is at work, but is
  • not attending to his/her duties in terms of the employment contract - and is therefore absent.
  • Extended toilet breaks - same as extended lunch or tea breaks.
  • Feigned illness - thus giving rise to unnecessary visits to the on-site clinic, or take time off to "visit the doctor" - which they never do, because they don't need a medical certificate for less than 2 days off.
  • Undue length of time in fetching or carrying (tools from the tool room, for example, or drawings from the drawing office, etc)

Other unexplained absences from the workstation or from the premises.

The very basis of the employment contract (whether written or not) is that the employee has to:

[a] come to work, and
[b] be on time

In order to perform the duties which he/she has been hired to do, and he/she must remain at the workstation for the contracted number of hours per day in order to perform the requisite duties. If the employee does not do that, he/she cannot fulfill his/her contractual obligation, and is therefore in breach of contract.


This obligation - to come to work and stay on the job whilst at work - does not only come out of the Employment Contract.


It arises also from three other sources - Common Law, Statutes, and Company Rules and Regulations.

If your organisation is facing a problem note that there are a number of remedies- a large number, in fact - that can be used to combat this scourge, but most important ensure you have a policy in place that addresses absenteeism and desertion and that your disciplinary code clearly states the progressive discipline that will be followed should an employee contravene the rule of coming to work, being on time, reporting absence and providing required documentation such as a sick note in the case of sick leave taken.

Copyright ©2012 Leonie Pretorius

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