Sickness not the real reason
Employees could be taking sick leave because they are stressed and not satisfied with a number of things within their organizations.
This view was expressed by Mona Robinson, assistant general secretary of the Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations of Barbados.
She was giving a presentation at the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados Inc. breakfast panel discussion last Tuesday at the Savannah Beach Hotel on the seminar topic Managing Absenteeism and Attendance Problems in the Workplace.
Robinson said: “My research says when employees say they are ill that is seldom the reason. It may be an underlining cause for several other reasons.
“For example, stress is one of the top ten reasons why employees are absent. It may be pressure of completing a task for which the employee feels unsuited or unqualified. Some level of disconnect may be happening. Whatever the reason, stress is a major cause for absence. Also personal needs that cannot be handled on weekend or after work; works that are urgent, family issues; dealing with children or older relatives.”
According to the secondary school teacher, some employees were mentally unchallenged, adding that some tasks were monotonous “and there is no job satisfaction”.
“Sometimes it is true employees feel they have a sense of entitlement to stay at home but this is probably only because there is some level of dissatisfaction or achievement,” she said. Some work environments were “simply not conducive to work and to engagement of the employee”, she added.
“There is an atmosphere of acrimony, for some it is the lack of proper eating or bathroom facilities, there are unnecessary restrictions. Of course some of these have to do with the employees’ work ethic. Some employees may feel that their contribution is not valid or valuable,” said Robinson.
To solve the problem, Robinson suggested greater dialogue.
“It is pointless making general statements at staff meetings. Employers need to get to understand their employees; they need to know their strengths and talents and let them feel valued,” she added.