How to Terminate an Absentee Employee

How to Terminate an Employee for Excessive Absenteeism

While unscheduled absences cost an estimated $3,600 per year for each hourly worker, a salaried worker costs an estimated $2,650 per year. The total cost for employee absences in the United States is an estimated $225.8 billion each year.

There are also less obvious consequences to excessive absenteeism in the workplace beyond financial repercussions. These consequences range from decreased employee engagement levels to an increase in employee turnover rates.

Even the best employees will likely miss work from time to time, whether for sick leave or a family medical emergency. However, when excessive absences occur, a business owner may need to terminate an employee.

For a larger business, human resources may be in charge of terminations while a small business may require a business owner to personally terminate a team member. Best practice tips for terminating an employee due to excessive absenteeism include-

1. Limit Drama

Best practice tips for reducing the drama surrounding an employee termination include firing an employee at a time the office is not busy. Ideal times could include earlier in the day or after most employees have left for the day.

Human resources must make sure that the employee handbook specifically addresses the attendance policy and progressive discipline guidelines. Employee attendance should never require guesswork, it should be well established and understood by all team members on staff.

2. Supplemental Documentation

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Employment law protects workers for specific employee absences and reasonable accommodation ranging from the Family Medical Leave Act to sick leave eligibility. The Family Medical Leave Act for example provides up to 12 weeks of unpaid leave under certain circumstances.

However, there are also employment law guidelines regarding termination for employee absenteeism. Human resources professionals must make sure they understand employment law or consult a lawyer to avoid potential lawsuits from terminated employees.

Supplemental documentation that details employee attendance and employee absenteeism can prove invaluable should a business get involved in an employment law dispute. For this reason, human resources must make sure to keep accurate employee attendance records and retain a signed attendance policy from the concerned employee.

3. Safety First

In no instance should the termination of an employee put other team members or customers in danger. If an employer or human resources department is concerned about how a terminated employee will react to their dismissal, they must make sure to take proactive security measures.

While some businesses have a designated security guard on site who can oversee the termination, other businesses may decide to contact a local police department.

4. Secure Office

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There are multiple security concerns to consider whenever an employee termination occurs. For example, a disgruntled employee could damage office property after their termination or even email themselves a copy of privileged company information.

To avoid damage to workplace property or a breach of confidential information, a terminated employee should be supervised while they collect their personal items. While the terminated employee is meeting with human resources an IT representative can change password codes and credentials.

Any cards or keys that allow an employee access to the property should be collected before the terminated employee leaves the premises. The terminated employee should also be advised of a timeline to return work property they have at home, if applicable.

Many businesses request a terminated employee to return work property by mail to avoid any unnecessary personal contact.

5. Professional Attitude

Everyone knows that terminating an employee can be a highly emotional event. In order to combat this effectively, human resources must make sure that the termination is handled professionally.

Maintaining a professional tone and attitude through the termination process is a top priority. While a human resources professional may be tempted to be overly friendly or optimistic during the process, a nonclinical attitude can create an adverse response in the terminated employee.

For instance, an employee may assume that they were not fired and that the conversation was merely a progressive discipline measure. The terminated employee should leave the conversation clearly understanding that they were fired.

Key Takeaways

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  • Human resources and business owners must make sure to adhere to employment law and best practice procedures when terminating an employee for excessive absenteeism.
  • Best practices for employee termination due to excessive absenteeism range from employee handbook clarifications to security protocol.