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Sobers: Group effort needed to tackle absenteeism

BEA DOTTIN, [email protected]

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Both management and employees have to play a greater role in addressing the issue of absenteeism in the workforce.
This is according to Anthony Sobers, chief programme manager at the Productivity Council, who said that tardiness and absenteeism were a growing problem that needed to be tackled collectively.
He said statistics gathered by the Productivity Council in 2011 in some sectors suggested that the island was losing too much time to absenteeism.
Speaking during the question and answer segment of the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados Inc. (HRMAB) breakfast seminar at The Savannah Beach Hotel, Sobers said the hotel sector was losing “about 40 per cent” of work time to absenteeism.
“Finance services and insurance are losing 20 per cent of their time to absenteeism [and] construction, 30 per cent of the time is lost to absenteeism,” he added.
“This speaks to the level and complexity of dealing with absenteeism. It is an issue relating to both management and employees.
“Is it that people don’t like to work? But there is an issue whether our supervisors and management are equipped, prepared and educated to deal with absenteeism in a timely fashion or make timely interventions to really reduce the level of absenteeism,” he said.
Sobers added that some service providers were contributing to employees’ tardiness and absenteeism, saying that doctors would give a number of people the same appointment time in the morning resulting in some of them not getting through until after midday.
“It relates to doctors, lawyers and the banking sector,”?he said. “So we are having a system which is five days per week that is sort of having these hiccups resulting in you not being able to be at work. The question is how is this thing related to absenteeism in the work place . . . these are issues we need to respond to.” (MM)