What Is Absence Rate and How To Apply It (Plus Examples)

The absenteeism rate, absence rate, or absence percentage, is the rate of unplanned absence due to sickness or other causes. The absenteeism rate can be measured for an individual, team, or the organization as a whole. Each number gives information about the vitality of the organization.

From time to time, employees miss work. Employee attendance expectations throughout the year are probably unrealistic. However, when workers consistently miss work without notice, it can hurt your company. Learn how to determine your company’s absenteeism rate to cut down on absences at work.

How to Calculate Absenteeism Rate

Why is knowing the absence rate important?

Knowing your department’s absence rate is crucial because it can influence how you implement various changes in response The changes you make may be different from those you’d make if employees were absent because of tardiness or negligence if they were absent due to unforeseen circumstances. Employees who rarely miss work due to unforeseen circumstances may not need any corrections made, but those who frequently miss work due to scheduling conflicts or other issues may need some adjustments made to their duties and schedules.

It can be just as crucial to understand the reasons behind your department’s high absence rate as it is to comprehend the rate itself. You can use a variety of preventative measures to meet the needs of your employees and enhance overall work effectiveness. For instance, if workers are absent due to burnout, quarterly job responsibility rotation may help reduce absenteeism caused by burnout-related problems.

What is absence rate?

The number of days over the course of a period that an employee is completely absent from work without a reason is known as the absence rate. Any days the employee requests off for a vacation, personal time, or health-related reasons are not counted as absences. Sporadic absences may be brought on by an unexpected illness or unplanned event, but habitual absences from work are considered absenteeism.

Absenteeism can exist for many reasons, both unavoidable and correctable. Employees occasionally legitimately excuse themselves from work or notify you of their absence, while others may do so for personal reasons. Both reasons can contribute to a business overall absence rate. One of the following reasons could be the cause of an employee’s absence from work:

How to calculate absenteeism

Consider exploring some of the following steps when determining your absence rate:

1. Determine your calculation period

You must first collect information for each formula component before using the absenteeism formula. Measurement of a specific time period, such as a month or quarter, is necessary when measuring absenteeism. Once you know the total calculation period, you can start measuring other absenteeism factors so that you can apply the formula.

2. Calculate the average number of employees

Your number of employees to use in calculating your average may have changed over the course of the evaluated time period. Your absentee data may be impacted by new hires, terminations, and employee leaves. Consider first subtracting any previous employees or employees on extended leave before applying your formula. If any new employees have been hired since then, include them in the current employee count.

3. Gather employee absence data

You can start gathering employee absence information from your records once you’ve decided how many employees you’re evaluating and what time period to use. An employee’s absence is only considered legitimate if both of them were absent throughout their entire shift without prior notice and for the entire day. It would not constitute an absence if an employee later informs you that they were unable to report to work due to personal obligations or another circumstance. The missing day is an absence if they don’t notify you of it until the following day or not at all.

4. Compensate calculations for shifts

Consider recording partial absences in your calculation to help ensure accuracy. These absences don’t last all day or only last for a few hours during the employee’s shift. Your absence formula can produce a more accurate account of how much your general department has accumulated in unscheduled time off if you calculate these absences by subtracting the total hours from your absence day total.

5. Use the employee absence formula

Utilize the absence formula to determine your absentee average after collecting employee data. You can use this formula to determine the average absence rate for your department as a whole. The absence formula is as follows:

Absenteeism rate is calculated as follows: (Average number of employees X missed workdays) / (Average number of employees X total workdays)

Example absenteeism calculation

Take the case of a department manager evaluating absences in their quality assurance department over the course of the previous month. They add their 100 employees together for a total of 103 after determining the variations in their hiring and leave rates. According to their records, there were 11 days in total where workers missed at least one hour of work or the entire workday. The department manager determines that there were 10 absent days in the span of time after calculating the number of hours in each shift where workers were partially present. With this information and the absence formula, they arrive at the following conclusion:

(103 X 11) / (103 X 30) = 0.36

This indicates that the quality assurance department’s typical employee absence rate is 37%.

Ways to apply absence rate

You can use your department’s absence rate in a variety of ways, including the following:

Changing departmental policies

You might be able to change policies to prevent absentee issues if you notice absentee patterns in your department or across all departments you manage. One strategy to reduce absenteeism is to give employees more paid time off. Paid time off can assist staff in managing personal matters while adhering to corporate policies. If employees have time off, they might be more likely to use it than to abruptly quit their jobs.

After determining your absence rate, take into account improving your work schedule rates since employees may be absent as a result of rigid work schedules. Scheduling changes might not help reduce absenteeism in this circumstance if the employee absence rate is high due to illnesses or other reasons and low due to schedule conflicts. The next steps in your action plan may be determined by talking to the staff to determine which schedules need to be adjusted.

Managing individual employees

By asking each employee about their own absence rates, you might learn how to increase the effectiveness of your department. Employees who are ill and unable to work, for instance, may do so from home. Employees may continue to perform some aspects of their jobs while working from home if your department’s technical aspects are largely absent from on-site work.

Meeting with them to discuss their recent absences may be the solution if your absenteeism rate is high due to a small group of employees or a few individuals. Additionally, making sure each of your departments uses a trustworthy timekeeping system can help you keep better track of absences, late check-ins, and general employee hours. You can keep track of which employees are absent and when by using organized timekeeping techniques, such as an attendance software that can store data for each employee individually.

Making decisions for each department

Your absenteeism rate can be used to inform decisions about your departments. Comparing a department’s high absenteeism rate to its production count for the same time period may help you understand why production rates are high or low. You may use this data to make decisions concerning employees. Giving employees who are almost never absent within your department a promotion, for instance, could boost output rates.

Comparing various absentee rates over a range of time periods is another way you can use absentee rates to inform decisions for your departments. If absentee rates increase following the implementation of a new policy, you can use those rates to assess whether or not the policy is practical for the department and employee schedules.

Comparing departments

Consider using your absentee rate to compare departments and other metrics if you oversee multiple departments. The absentee rate for a department may change if a policy is implemented in one department but not another. Monitoring absentee rates in relation to any departmental changes, policy changes, or absentee rate changes can all help you understand how processes affect productivity. You might find that there are more absences during a particular time of year, like the holidays.


How do you calculate absence rate?

The formula for calculating absenteeism is fairly straightforward: to calculate the percentage of absenteeism over a month, a year, etc., multiply the number of unexcused absences in a given period of time by the total period, divide the result by 100.

What is a good absence rate?

For a healthy absenteeism rate, 1. 5% is what you should be aiming for. Absence is impossible to prevent. If an employee misses 3–4 days of work per year due to illness, this is typical and won’t significantly affect your absenteeism rate.

How do you calculate absence hours?

  1. Number of absent days divided by the number of workdays in a given period equals the absence rate multiplied by 100.
  2. Lost time rate is equal to (total absence [hours or days] / total absences during the studied period) multiplied by 100.
  3. This rate represents the typical number of absence days per employee over a specific time period.

What is the average absence rate in the UK?

The UK’s sickness absence rate increased to 2 in 2021. 2%, from a record low of 1. 2020 will see an increase of 8%, the highest level since 2010 when it was also 2 2%.

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