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7 Possible Reasons Why Your Employees Are Calling In Sick Too Often

Employers face many challenges when a higher volume of workers call in sick too often. They face the dilemma of figuring out what workers they should keep and who should be terminated. With worker absences, the answers aren’t always as black and white.

7 Possible Reasons Why Your Employees Are Calling In Sick Too Often

Many employers must discuss these absences with the workers and find out what is wrong. For example, frequent absences don’t mean that all workers who call in aren’t sick or facing serious challenges.

For many workers, there are a variety of reasons that drive them to call in. With the recent global pandemic, employers have seen an increase in worker absences because of the contraction of the COVID-19 virus.

Many employers have also required a doctor’s excuse or a copy of a positive COVID-19 test. To reduce worker absences, employers must get to the heart of the matter first.

1. Germs and Bacteria in the Office

Germs and bacteria in the workplace spread like wildfire, and workers become sick more frequently. The employer must follow all OSHA regulations for creating and maintaining a safe and healthy work environment.

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This includes managing potential health risks in the property that cause illnesses and occupational diseases.

With the recent global pandemic, employers have seen just how quickly germs, viruses, and bacteria can affect their workers. They have begun to follow more stringent cleaning practices to kill the germs, bacteria, and viruses that are lingering on the property.

Even if the business doesn’t have clients entering the building as frequently as grocery stores or department stores, cleaning practices are paramount.

Businesses have discovered that scheduling cleaning services more often mitigate these risks. It is vital for them to hire a professional cleaning service to manage the cleaning requirements. Business owners cannot overburden their on-site workers to get the cleaning managed.

In fact, an increase in worker absences is possible not because of the health risks but also the fatigue caused by overworking them.

It could prevent the workers from completing everyday tasks, and the workers get exposed to germs, bacteria, and viruses more profoundly.

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2. Overworked Without Adequate Breaks and Days Off

Overworked employees who aren’t getting adequate breaks or days off may call in sick just to get a break. Companies that become short-staffed increase the hours of the existing workers and make it difficult for the workers to get the breaks they deserve by working full-time.

Federal regulations provide all full-time workers who complete at least an 8-hour workday with two 15-minute breaks and a lunch break ranging between 30 minutes to one hour.

If the company hasn’t hired workers to replaced employers who have quit or were terminated, the existing workers will complete excessive overtime hours. This can prevent them from taking these necessary breaks or getting more than one day off from work.

The results are overworked and fatigued workers. Instead of saving the company money or benefiting it, the existing workers will begin calling in sick more often for the simple reason that they need to rest.

3. Low Job Satisfaction

When surveyed, many workers with a high volume of work absences identified low job satisfaction as a primary reason. Companies that do not create a work culture where all workers have the same opportunities generate low job satisfaction.

Many workers have lower than average productivity levels because they feel unappreciated. Some may even state that they believe it is pointless to give their all in their positions since they don’t have the same opportunities as others.

Many industries that do not provide raises for stellar performance have under-performing workers. Workers that have been with companies for an extended period of time often call in because they don’t see a future with the company.

For many, it is the lack of motivation that discourages them from maintaining steady attendance.

Employers who allow workers to complete anonymous surveys get feedback as to why workers are unhappy. It is the employers who take the feedback and try to improve worker satisfaction that decreases worker absences.

They give their workers a reason to dedicate their time to the companies. If workers feel unheard, their performance decreases, and they are absent more often.

4. Using Up Sick Days or Vacation Days Before They Lose Them

Sick days and vacation days give workers paid time off from work. Sick leave is often used for worker absences related to illnesses. The workers must get approval for using vacation days with most companies.

However, if the worker doesn’t use these days before the end of the year, they will lose the paid days, and they won’t roll over to the next year. Many workers call in sick just to use up these days and gain the full benefits of the opportunities.

Employers could make changes to improve worker absences and keep them at work more often. New business models eliminate sick days altogether, but the new models aren’t used to punish workers. Instead, the business may provide unlimited vacation days.

The opportunities could give the workers a chance to take vacation days for illnesses or whenever they are fatigued.

Studies show that the new business model doesn’t require the workers to come up with a reason for taking a vacation day. They can contact their employer to inform the employer that they want to take a day.

This eliminates the stress of lying to the employer, and the worker doesn’t feel judged for needing a day away from work. Studies show that the model decreases the number of times workers are absent from work.

5. Hostile Work Environments

A hostile work environment drives workers away from work, and if employers never take steps to manage the problem, workers may leave the business altogether. Too often, open-door policies for reporting incidents don’t give workers the protection they need.

In fact, some employers will retaliate against the workers just for implying any wrongdoing in their organizations.

A more helpful strategy is to investigate the claims and find out what happened. Many employers fail their workers by simply failing to find out what is wrong.

Workers that stay out of work too often aren’t terrible workers in every instance. Some may be reacting to their work environment.

Employers who care about their workers and follow steps to eliminate hostile work environments do their workers a great service by taking action.

Hostile work environments are often based on sexual harassment, racial discrimination, or opposing viewpoints among workers.

Some companies seek diversity among workers, but they do not take into account how issues such as political ideologies can affect their workers. Discussions of these viewpoints can often lead to incidents at the workplace.

The work culture should remain positive and keep tempers at bay. However, workers that don’t feel safe at work will be absent more often.

6. Untreated Mental Illnesses

Mental illnesses can become debilitating and prevent workers from attending work as expected. During the hiring process, employers may inquire about mental illnesses the applicant may have. However, the employer must ask all applicants the same questions.

They cannot ask one applicant about mental conditions and omit the question for all other applicants.

With employment laws, workers with mental illnesses have rights and how they use these rights determines if they disclose their condition to their employer.

For example, a worker who doesn’t pose any risks to other workers takes medication regularly and doesn’t need special accommodations doesn’t have to disclose their illnesses to their employer.

Workers with mental illnesses that require special accommodations must disclose their condition to the employer. Employment laws prevent employers from discriminating against workers with mental illnesses.

The special accommodations may relate to time off from work because of their illness.

For example, workers with PTSD may need a mental health day to visit a therapist or to regain control over their illness.

They may also require a separate workspace where their work area isn’t crowded. By improving accommodations, some employers may see a decrease in worker absences and have incredible workers with higher productivity levels.

7. Undiagnosed Medical Conditions

Undiagnosed medical conditions can lead to more worker absences. For example, minimum wages workers who cannot afford health insurance may have conditions that weren’t diagnosed or treated properly.

While employers cannot change the current healthcare system, they may provide access to clinics for lower-income workers. This could help them get their condition in check, improve their health, and keep them at work more often.


Business owners may face more labor shortages because of worker absences. When trying to mitigate these risks, it is urgent for employers to find out the root cause of the absences.

Many workers are actually sick and need to seek medical care.

Others may simply choose not to work because they lack the motivation to go in. The underlying reasons for the absences give the employer further insight into how to decrease absences and keep workers on the job longer.

For some employers, it may take the implementation of policy changes and new directives to improve the problem.


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