Survey says up to 10 per cent of absences unauthorized and costly

A recent survey of nearly 1,200 American Payroll Association (APA) members found that 76 per cent of respondents estimated that up to 10 per cent of their organizations’ absences were unauthorized. According to CyberShift Trendline Survey respondents, authorized absences – such as disability, maternity/paternity leave, sabbaticals, sick time and vacation time – account for a higher  per centage of payroll-related costs. For example, a little more than 20 per cent of respondents listed sick time as accounting for more than 25 per cent of all payroll costs, while nearly 60 per cent said that vacation time accounts for more than 25 per cent of payroll costs.

Typically, unapproved absences are tracked at a manager’s discretion (53 per cent), while another 25 per cent of respondents do so by monitoring it as unpaid time.

CyberShift’s, a global provider of workforce management and expense management software and services, 2009 CyberShift Trendline Survey explored the relationship between workforce management solutions and the important issues of absence management, fatigue management and FMLA compliance.
Whether scheduled or unscheduled, employee absences undoubtedly cost money and impact customer satisfaction, sales, production, employee morale, safety and compliance. Along with being able to prepare for the unexpected, companies also need to account for employee-related short and long-term scheduled absences such as vacation time, jury duty, military leave and prescheduled medical and professional appointments. By ensuring the necessary resources are available when needed to minimize disruptions caused by absence levels, quality of service can be maintained for optimal business performance.
CyberShift examined how employers monitor scheduled and unscheduled employee absences. The majority of respondents (62 per cent) track absences using a Web- or PC-based solution with 73 per cent indicating that solution is part of their commercially available time and attendance software. Thirty-eight  per cent of respondents still use manual/spreadsheets for absence monitoring; the responsibility for those spreadsheets is split between payroll (56 per cent) and managers (44 per cent).
 In addition to absence monitoring, the survey found that, when it comes to tracking employees’ time, 38  per cent of respondents’ companies require all employees to report their time each pay period. The most prevalent method of employee time reporting among surveyed companies was a Web-based solution (35 per cent). Time clocks (32 per cent) and manual/spreadsheets (25 per cent) also were listed as top time reporting methods used by survey respondents.
 Of APA members who responded to the Trendline survey, 39.9 per cent work at organizations employing less than 500 people; 16.8 per cent work at organizations with 501 to 1,000 people; 27.5 per cent work at organizations with 1,001 to 5,000 people; 7.4 per cent work at organizations with 5,001 to 10,000 people; and 8.4 per cent work at organizations with more than 10,000 people.
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