Absenteeism is said to be there when an employee fails to come work when he is scheduled to work. It is an important problem in many enterprises. Excessive absenteeism involves a considerable loss to the enterprise because work schedules are upset and delay, and management has to give overtime wages to meet the delivery dates. The rates of overtime wages are double than the normal rates of wages. Therefore, study of causes of absenteeism is essential to deal with the problem.
Worker may remain absent from the regular work due hard nature of jobs, monotony in the work and personal reasons. This leads to absenteeism. It is a normal and natural tendency among the factory workers. Absenteeism means absence of workers from the regular work without prior permission, notice or sanction. It is unauthorized leave and is different from regular leave or holiday. In brief, absenteeism means absence which is avoidable and willful. Unauthorized absence from regular duty is absenteeism. However, absence on account of strikes, lock-outs, etc. does not constitute absenteeism.
The rate of absenteeism is expressed as the percentage of mandays lost through absence to total number of mandays scheduled in a given period.
Absenteeism = Number of mandays lost through absence
Number of mandays scheduled to work * 100

The number of mandays scheduled to work is calculated by multiplying the average number of workers by the number of working days during the given period.
Absenteeism is a universal problem in industry. It becomes a problem when it exceeds 10% as it disturbs the production schedules and creates many problems. Personal researchers have found that generally a small percentage of employees (15%) account for large for a percentage of absenteeism (70%). Such employees are likely to have low interest in their tasks and to be physically below par. Research studies have a further revealed that:
1. The days before and after a holiday are liable to higher rate of absenteeism.
2. Women are absent more often than men.
3. Bad whether increase rate of absenteeism, especially among employees who live at distant places.
4. Employees under the age of 25 years and above the age 55 years are absent more often than those in the age group of 26 to 55 years.
5. Operative employees are absent more frequently than the supervisors and mangers.
Adverse Effects of absenteeism:-
The adverse effects of absenteeism are too many to be listed. We can describe them under two broad categories as under:-
1. On Industry:- Absenteeism in industry stops machines, disrupts processes, creates production bottlenecks, hampers smooth flow or continuity of work, upsets production targets, results in production losses, increases direct overhead costs, increases workload of the inexperienced, less experienced or substandard workers as substitutes, this in turn creating problem of recruitment, training, job adjustments, morale and attitudes. Manpower planning is rendered impossible. Casual or substandard employees increase machine downtime, rejection of finished products, and breakdown of machinery and consequent idle machine-hours. Absenteeism, on the one hand, directly contributes to the rise in production costs to deterioration in quality of goods produced and the supply to valued customers.
2. On Workers: - Ill-effects of absenteeism on those who cause it are equally baneful. Frequent absenteeism adversely affects the economy of the worker himself. It reduces his earnings and adds to his indebtedness, decreases his purchasing power, make it difficult for him to meet necessities of life, leading to personal problems of attitude and morale, and in many cases loss of employment and resultant disaster for his dependent.
Causes of Absenteeism:-
In order to identify the causes and extent of absenteeism, proper records should be kept in every department for various causes of absenteeism by such divisions as age, sex, days of the week and classes of jobs. It should be noted that is almost impossible to give a list of exact reasons and their percentage. The evaluator of the personnel programme should classify the data relating to absenteeism and try to analyze the various causes of absenteeism. Generally, the following reasons are accountable for absenteeism at work:
1. Nature of Work: - When work is tough and monotonous in nature, the workers get tired physically and mentally. So he frequently remain absent without information to the employer.
2. Poor Working Condition: - Poor working conditions affect the worker’s health adversely and mentally. So he is tired of work-environment and thus they may remain away from work without any notice to the employer.
3. Absence of Regular Leave Arrangement: - Every worker requires at least 15 to 20 days leave in a year for his personal work. The employer should provide for such leave to all workers. However, in many factories, workers are not given leave as and when required. Naturally, workers remain absent without any intimation to the employer. Thus, absence of regular leave arrangement leads to labor absenteeism.
4. Accidents: - Industrial accidents and occupational diseases bring about absenteeism depending upon the nature of the purpose and machinery used. Accidents make the workers incapable of work for some days. They also create mental problem.
5. Poor Control: - Poor production and material control can result in absenteeism. Unless the flow of work between departments is balanced and continuous, workers may stay away from their jobs because they lose their interest in the work and also the feeling of the importance of being dependable.
6. Irregular Transport Facilities: - Many factories are located away from the city limits. Naturally, workers have to travel long distances. In case of any disturbance in the transport system, workers are unable to reach their place of work at the proper time and they have to remain absent. Thus, transport difficulties lead to labor absenteeism.
7. Lack of Interest: - Lack of interest and lack of feeling of responsibility and worth-whileness are also fundamental causes of absenteeism. Attitude of mind caused by environment and sociological factors may condition some to develop a feeling of irresponsibility about going to work.
8. Attraction to Village Life: - Majority of Indian workers come from villages to towns for employment. Physically, they are in towns, but mentally they are in villages. Their relatives and family members are in the villages and naturally they feel like visiting their villages often. This leads to absenteeism. In addition, workers have to go to their native places due to illness of family members, court matters, socio-religious festivals, agricultural operations, etc. such causes lead to high labor absenteeism.
9. Alcoholism and Gambling Habits: - A number of workers in factories are used to drinking, gambling and other habits. Such workers are unable to attend duties regularly due to such habits. This leads to absenteeism particularly among the male workers.
10. Miscellaneous Causes: - A miscellaneous group of causes include such factors as bad weather, another job, personal business, friends visiting from distant locations, absence of strict discipline, willful disregard of rules, religious and social festivals, etc.
Effects of Absenteeism:-
Labor absenteeism is harmful to both the employers and the workers as follows:-
1. Normal wok-flow in the factory is disturbed.
2. Overall production in the factory goes down.
3. Difficulty is faced in executing the orders in time.
4. Casual workers may have to be employed to meet production schedules. Such workers are not trained properly.
5. Overtime allowance bill increases considerably because of higher absenteeism.
6. When a number of workers absent themselves, there is extra pressure of work on their colleagues who are present.
7. Habitual absentees may be removed from service causing them great hardship.
Measures to Control Absenteeism:-
An employer has to introduce suitable measures for reducing labor absenteeism to the lowest level though it not possible to remove it completely. Such measures should be related to the important causes responsible for high rate of absenteeism. The possible measures which an employer can adopt are as follows:-
1. Proper Selection: - Right types of people should be employed for various jobs. While assigning work to the employees, their aptitude and interest should be duly considered. This will make them feel interested in their jobs.
2. Proper Orientation: - The new employee should be inducted in such a way that their critical attitude is reduced quickly as possible to avoid absenteeism from this source.
3. Better Work Conditions: - Workers sometimes remain absent due to hard nature of jobs and bad working conditions. An employer can provide proper working conditions so that workers may not have industrial fatigue. Similarly, it is possible to make a hard job a little lighter by introducing suitable measures. For example, mechanical devices should be used to reduce manual labor of workers. It is possible to reduce labor absenteeism to a considerable extent by proving proper working conditions.
4. Provision of transport and housing facilities: - Workers sometimes remain due to housing, transport and other difficulties. It is possible for the employer to provide free or concessional transport facility to worker from their residence to the factory. This will ensure regular attendance of workers.
5. Incentives bonus to regular employees: - Cash prizes may be given to those who are regular throughout the year. Workers who are regular may be given special bonus for their regularity. Regularity in attendance should be taken into consideration while giving promotions. Such positives measures encourage workers to be regular in their attendance.
6. Disciplinary Action: - Punitive action should be taken against those who have the habit of taking leave without proper sanction. Before taking any disciplinary action against the chronic offenders, their name should be adequately published in the organization. If the need arises, the chronic offenders may be disciplined by layoffs, discharges and Daniel of promotion and other privileges.
7. Prevention of Accidents: - Industrial accidents or even fear of industrial accidents may increase absenteeism. The management should take adequate safety measures to minimize industrial accidents in the workshop.
8. Effective Supervision: - Absenteeism should reduce to a great extent by effective supervision. Supervisors and foreman should be given adequate training to deal with various problems of workers. Absenteeism will be at low level if the supervisors are bale to win the confidence of workers.
9. Employee Counseling: - Absenteeism is essentially related to individual behavior and can be better tackled through guidance and counseling. Workers should be given proper education and orientation as regards absenteeism and their ill-effects on them. They should be encouraged to be regular through proper information, education, and guidance. Habitual absentees should be called by the personnel counselors to impress upon the seriousness of their absence and the need to be regular.