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Stolen hours - at what cost to the economy?

9 March 2015

Absenteeism costs South Africa between R12 and R16 billion per year, according to Occupational Care South Africa (OCSA) and Statistics SA. OCSA adds that of the 15% of staff who may be absent on any given day, only one in three are actually physically ill, and that 40% of sick notes are issued without a diagnosis.

An analysis done by a large South African retailer revealed that overtime hours over a 12-month period equalled their absentee hours.  A recent survey conducted by US company Mercer Inc, found that 36% of payroll costs are associated with employee absence.  This number represents direct costs to pay absent employees, as well as indirect costs, such as lost productivity, the hiring of replacement workers and the payment of overtime. The same study determined that unplanned absences – like sick time, late arrival, early departure and extended breaks – account for as much as 6% of payroll. In fact, according to the Mercer survey, incidental unplanned absences account for an average of 21% of net lost productivity per day.  Undeniably, the costs of employee absence to your organisation are excessive, real and measureable.

Absenteeism affects productivity in many different ways. Apart from adding to the workload of others it also disrupts their work patterns. This leads to increased stress levels and damages staff morale.  The result is reduction in the quality of work output and, worst of all, it adds mandatory overtime to the overall costs.

But there is good news. Absenteeism, together with the burden of managing its risks and its effects on productivity, can be controlled. What an organisation needs is a solution that helps managers get ahead of the game – automatically alerting managers when employees are approaching defined attendance policy limits.  The right solution should also empower the employees to stay on top of their own attendance records by using employee self-service tools to track their annual and sick leave balances.

The benefits of implementing such a solution include:

•             Control over the effects of employee absence by gaining real-time visibility into time off trends and planned annual leave.  Active steps can be taken to reduce the impact that absence has on the staff.

•             Absence related processes can be administered by integrating the solution to the timekeeping and HR systems.

•             Attendance policies can be enforced consistently throughout the organisation.  Employees will know they are being treated fairly and equitably.

•             Companies can plan effectively with insight into planned time off across the organisation, and thereby minimise overtime costs.

Having the systems in place to put a stop to ‘stolen hours’ allows your management team to regain control, and enables your organisation to reclaim its productivity and profitability. All of this can be achieved with a workforce management software solution that focuses on absenteeism and cuts operational costs, keeps you compliant and increasing your efficiency levels.

About Bytes Systems Integration - Workforce Management Division

BSI Workforce Management Division has partnered with Kronos, a global leader in workforce management, which has evolved workforce management into workforce optimisation by empowering organisations to effectively manage their workforce and bridging the three main stakeholders, OPS, HR and IT.

More than 30 million people use Kronos solutions daily. Its 20 000 customers, including more than half of the Fortune 1000 companies, span more than 100 countries.

Kronos’s workforce management system is centralised, integrated, configurable and proven. it is modular in design, and includes time and attendance, absence management, forecasting and scheduling, as well as activities and analytics. It manages all aspects of an organisation’s complete workforce lifecycle, and supports the business with key insights into its performance.


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