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Attendance Management Guidelines

Attendance Management Guidelines

These are the guidelines that our affiliates use in managing absenteeism and health related issues at their clients.

Objective - Firm but Fair

To ensure that employees present themselves at work on time and that they are in attendance for the entire period required in terms of their contract of employment. To ensure that for incidents of illness the motivation requirements and certification criteria per the company's attendance policy are met.

Holistic View

Management information should reflect a balanced view of all individual employee profiles and not just those that fall outside set criteria. Comparisons to industry- and company-specific benchmarks should be provided. Statistical confidence limits should be interpreted and set wide enough to highlight a broad division of non-attendance data.

Positive Enforcement

Does the organisation have an attendance policy in place? Is the policy easy to understand and positively reinforced? Is it regularly communicated to all employees? Has the clocking system been position in close proximity to the workplace?

Traffic Cop

A scattered-preventative approach is not ideal and can create conflict. Commitment to the development and enforcement of a broad attendance policy is constructive and sustainable in the long-term. Organisations that set attendance parameters and detail and report key performance indicators (KPI's) encourage a positive focused attendance culture.

Don't Shoot the Messenger

The function of HR is to facilitate the communication of attendance information, the benchmarking and interpretation of KPI's. The HR function is ultimately responsible for ensuring the support and quality of the attendance measurement process. The departmental or line manager is responsible for acting on this information and is accountable for the results.


The Absenteeism Management Report (AMR ®) compiled by CAM Solutions is an important part of the attendance management process in an organisation. It provides an employer with an up-to-date effective identification tool useful in establishing trends and benchmarking key attendance ratios that can be used to compare to different departments and locations.

Enforcement Methodology

1. Burning the Candle
Organisations that treat overtime as a privilege generally have lower absenteeism. An employee being precluded from working overtime during the week in which a sick leave incident has occurred is a simple effective intervention.

2. Consult the Experts
Line managers should have overall knowledge of the factors giving rise to an incidence of absence; they can and should form a (non-medical) opinion about the authenticity of the absence. The best first line of interface is the "observant" line manager that takes an interest in the employees' circumstances, exposure and personal environment. Line management non-conformance factors can be investigated and reviewed.

3. Prevention is better than cure.
Ongoing communication. Communicate with the trade unions regarding the practical benefits and motivation for effective attendance management. In terms of the law, an employer is responsible for investigating and checking the information contained on the sick certificate. Pro-active health care well being management can yield advance notice of potential occupational diseases.

First Point of Contact

When, where and how does the sick certificate first interface with the company? Line management should appreciate the value and importance of the initial interpretation of the procedural information (e.g. validity, authenticity). A simple checklist of questions and opinion can facilitate this process (see draft Foreman's tool below).

Substantive Checks

Section 8 of the Occupational Health and Safety Act 85 of 1993 (OHSA) deals with the identification of hazards in the workplace. These can be documented as part of the corporate risk analysis exercise for each department in the company.

Type and example

  • Mechanical (falling tools, unsafe equipment)
  • Physical (noise, heat, cold, radiation
  • Ergonomic (functional design of the workplace)
  • Chemical (corrosive, toxic substances, ventilation)
  • Psycho-social (stress-related)
  • Biological (TB and HIV)

Path of Least Resistance

When spurious sick absence is managed effectively, some employees investigate other reasons to take time off. Certain companies have experienced a corresponding shift toward family responsibility leave and increased incidence of AWOL.

Other Attendance Management Points

  • Attendance: legal and policy requirements;
  • Attendance: legal and policy requirements;
  • Absenteeism Management Policy;
  • Absences: definitions;
  • Conditional absences;
  • The rights of the employer;
  • The rights of the employee;
  • The rights of the insurer;
  • Disciplinary management;
  • Incapacity management;
  • Disability management;
  • Initiation of neutral enquiries – counselling enquiries – disciplinary enquiries;
  • Other conditional absence: family responsibility leave, IOD-OD COIDA determined leave, total disability leave.

Foreman's Tool

To be completed by the foreman when sick certificates are handed over.

1. Practicalities;
a. Name and company number
b. Date off work
c. Date seen doctor
d. Dates booked off

2. Doctors identification and signature;

3. Diagnosis;

4. Questions;
a. Is there any factor in the work environment that could have caused this illness?
b. Is the employee fit to return to work?
c. Is there any occupational impairment for employment?
d. Can the work environment impair the employee’s health?

5. Comments by the employee.

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