What do you need to know before offering employees an Attendance Bonus?

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An attendance bonus is an incentive, usually discretionary and non-contractual, that employers may offer to encourage full attendance or improve attendance when absenteeism is a problem. They can be an effective tool to motivate and encourage staff to attend work more regularly.

However, before introducing such a bonus or incentive it is important to consider a few points:

1. Is there an alternative way to reduce absenteeism?

Are return to work interviews conducted after each and every absence that is not pre booked leave? What are the reasons for the absences? Genuine disability reasons could mean despite reasonable adjustments being made an employee may well still have higher levels of absence than their peers. Ensure a clear sickness absence policy exists and more importantly is this followed through by line managers.

2. Demographics of the staff

An attendance bonus may not be an effective tool for staff with responsibilities at supervisory and management levels, as their motivators may differ to those employees in more junior and perhaps in unskilled roles.

3. What is the measure and incentive?

Be clear on the period of time that will be measured, perhaps quarterly is fresh enough to sustain the competition and time to get employees to change their attitude to being absent from work. The incentive has to be appropriate and considered of value to motivate. A bonus of £50 or half a day paid leave is likely to incentivise. Don’t forget to acknowledge and praise the employee’s achievements.

4. Be mindful not to discriminate.

Some staff who may have a disability, pregnancy related illness, and care for a disabled dependant may have higher levels of absence than their peers. Occasionally, despite making reasonable adjustments to help the employee attend work more regularly may not result in nil absence. Making a distinction that absences related to such reasons are discounted helps to create a level starting position for everyone and is non-discriminatory too.

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