Ethics, Costs of Absenteeism & Impact of Policies in the Workplace

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Ethics, Costs of Absenteeism & Impact of Policies in the Workplace Tracie V. Johnson
Globe University

Ethics, Costs of Absenteeism & Impact of Policies in the Workplace Overview
Company policies are intended to be a benefit to the employee, actually give a means for the employee to use it unethically and hurt the financial security of the business. For example, at Wisconsin Physicians Service, there is an employee benefit of short-term disability that is also incorporated into an occurrences program. The number of occurrences that an employee has indicates how well the employee meets company standards. An occurrence is given for any time away from the job if an employee does not use vacation or employee time. When an employee is gone over two days, a doctor’s note is required. For this reason, many employees choose to take the full two days since an occurrence will be given. Current company standards allow for ten occurrences in a rolling year. A rolling year means that an occurrence will stay on the employee’s record until the same date the following year. A great benefit is overused and unethically many take two days, even if a day or even as few as a couple hours are really needed. This policy allows people to be away from work for more hours than needed, and can financially hurt the business if done too often, by too many employees. Does the fact that the company allows something also mean that they allow employees to act unethically? Is this great benefit financially hurting the company to a point the business should reconsider its methods? Do great financial gains allow a company to act unethically? Issues/Problems

There are multiple issues when considering the problems, impact and ethical issues regarding employees taking more time than necessary from work. In addition, multiple concerns also become important as companies allow policies to be misused and abused. This is true whether it is increasing sales, following processes or absence policies. Employees missing from their jobs disrupt workflow; cost the company in the form of lower productivity, and depending on industry, actual money if sales or customer service is affected. In addition, lower moral in the business also causes people to think less of the company and do what they want—most likely against what the company would prefer. In the case of WPS Insurance, their attendance policy that allows ten occurrences in a rolling year is not a significant deterrent for employees to take only the time they need instead of the two days allowable before medical documentation per occurrence. Employees missing from their jobs disrupt workflow and lower productivity. This is especially true when tasks are completed as a group. Employees that are there, sometimes have to ‘make up the slack’ of the missing employee. This adds stress to the workforce and disrupts the workflow. Missing employees also means that less work will be accomplished. In some workforces, actual work will not be able to be completed. For instance, at WPS Insurance, actual claims that will be entered into the system will be lowered because of missing employees. Employees missing from their jobs also cost the company actual money based on lower sales or an impact on less customer service. Consider a salesperson that will actually lose money because the sales cannot be made while absent. In addition, there are industries that will not make a sale because someone called into a call center with questions, possibly had to wait too long for an answer and then did not purchase a product. In 2005 a national survey showed that absent workers cost a company up to $660 per employee every year, (Ericksen, B & Twigg, T., 2007). Costs also rise as employees use more than the allowed absences and are disciplined. Training expenses and amounts for rehiring can accumulate to large amounts in a company’s budget when the turnover is already high. Lower morale within a business...
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