Referring to two studies that were conducted in this island between 2004 and 2008 where more than 1 300 employees from 29 organisations – mainly those in the private sector – were surveyed, he stated that this and the other reasons for absenteeism are similar to those in other countries, but two issues that they have examined with specific reference to Barbados are the weather and personal errands.
He said that absenteeism was calculated using both those certified by a physician and uncertified days with the “absenteeism rate calculated as total number of days lost through absence – excluding holidays, vacation days, and off days – divided by total days available for the three months/ 12 months under study – total number of work days available based on the number of employees at beginning/end – generally accepted way of calculating absenteeism and number of work days available.”
Meanwhile, the actual costs such as the salary of the absent employee were used as opposed to a substitution for the average wage, with the “typical costs of absenteeism are calculated using the following variables: lost wages, benefits, overtime for replacements, fees for temporary employees, supervisor’s time, substandard production, and over-staffing necessary to cover absences”.
He said that based on the information gathered here, it was revealed that the costs of absenteeism are high and steps must be taken to reduce these incidences of absenteeism using the findings of this study.
While companies were co-operative in allowing time off for their workers to complete the information on the job site and providing actual absenteeism records of their staff, there was no mechanism in place for tracking absenteeism, said the professor.
“Many companies did not have existing, systematic methods for collection, analysis, tracking absenteeism. Organisations were interested in participating and provided required data with significant effort. Employee participants completed the surveys, and employers allowed the time off, in spite of the time required for this activity – most done on-site.” (PJT)