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The Ripple Effect of Absenteeism

The Ripple Effect of Absenteeism

Absenteeism has become a growing problem in South Africa, and if not managed can spiral out of control and cost a company a significant amount of money.

Absenteeism refers to an employee’s intentional or habitual absence from the workplace.

According to information released by Statistics SA, the issue of absenteeism is costing companies about R12 billion annually in South Africa. Because of the vital role of each and every employee in your business, an absent employee has significant impact on the company overall.

According to Forbes the most common causes of absenteeism are:

  • Illness
  • Burnout, stress and low morale
  • Family matters
  • Depression
  • Bullying and harassment
  • Disengagement
  • Job hunting


When taking the above list into consideration, we can see that most cases of absenteeism are often due to legitimate reasons and are inevitable; however habitual absentees in a company are caused by a lack of employee discipline. Developing a structured environment enforces a disciplined culture amongst employees, which will decrease the unwanted habit of employees misusing company time.


Christo Botes, Executive Director of Business Partners, asserts that absenteeism has a ripple effect and does not only affect the employee’s actual salary cost, but can start affecting the morale of their colleagues which then leads to a lack of productivity and ultimately a decrease in profits.


Forbes indicates that additional indirect costs and effects of absenteeism include:

  • Poor quality of goods/services produced
  • Reduced productivity
  • Excess manager time (dealing with discipline and finding suitable employee replacements)
  • Poor morale among employees
  • Safety issues (having an inadequately trained employee filling in for others)


Salary cost is one of the greatest unmanaged expenses in a company, and absenteeism is one of the biggest contributors to that cost. Kevin Howell, Founder of Ouch! urges companies to move from a mindset of concern to a more preventative attitude in order to reduce salary costs.

Successful businesses are built around systems and processes. Time and attendance management systems should be the cornerstone of a company’s human resource function on in order to have an efficiently and effectively run department.


Where you assessing your own company’s problem with absenteeism while reading this?


Ouch! provides an affordable, state of the art and a easy to use time and attendance management solution! Contact us to find out more.

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