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How Do I Write an Absenteeism Letter?

Chronic absenteeism may result in termination.
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  • Written By: Marlene Garcia
  • Edited By: Daniel Lindley
  • Last Modified Date: 22 October 2014
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An absenteeism letter should spell out the reason for the warning and specific dates when an employee missed work. Listing the desired outcome gives the employee notice that the company expects attendance to improve. This warning typically explains the consequences of repeated unexcused absences from work and includes a comment indicating a belief that the problem can be resolved. An absentee letter might outline issues in the past of a similar nature.

Some companies prefer a face-to-face meeting with an employee who is missing too much work as the initial step before an absenteeism letter goes out. Giving the worker a copy of his or her attendance record documents excessive absences and might be the only action necessary to solve the problem. A meeting also gives the employee a chance to explain circumstances at work or in his or her personal life causing absenteeism.

An absenteeism letter sometimes offers counseling to the employee or asks him or her to consent to a medical examination. This letter should remain professional and not include any personal opinions of the worker. The reason for the letter should be stated, along with potential consequences if work attendance does not improve. If a company policy regulates employee attendance, the policy can be mentioned in the absenteeism letter.

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If an employee continues to miss work without cause, a second letter might be worded more sternly. It might note previous warnings and lack of improvement in the employee’s attendance rate. The threat of termination generally appears in this absenteeism letter. Evidence of poor attendance should be clearly outlined in this warning, along with any efforts by the employer to solve the issue.

People miss work for different reasons, including illness and injury. These conditions are usually beyond the worker’s control and accepted as legitimate reasons for absences. Some companies ask for proof from a doctor if medical issues prevent a person from going to work, especially if the absence covers a long period of time. When an employee frequently misses work for reasons he or she can control, it typically warrants progressive disciplinary action.

Habitual absenteeism might be defined in company policy, but generally involves one-day absences that occur often. Management typically computes the total number of days an employee failed to show up over an extended time period. This number can be compared with the attendance rate of other employees to determine if absences are excessive.

The final action commonly taken to deal with chronic absenteeism might come as a termination letter. This letter should clearly note that an employee failed to correct his or her attendance after warnings. A termination letter typically asks the employee to turn in keys, equipment, uniforms, and any other property belonging to the company. It usually includes an effective date and a deadline for returning property.

Absenteeism affects colleagues in the workplace who might cover tasks normally done by absent coworkers. When this happens repeatedly, it might breed resentment and affect morale. Financial impacts might include paying overtime for someone to do work usually done by the absent employee. Absenteeism might also affect productivity and disrupt schedules.

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