An absence is any time taken off from work by an employee. It is typical to split absences into two broad categories; Authorised and Unauthorised.

Authorised Absence

Any absence that is approved by somebody with the appropriate authority, such as a manager, can be considered as authorised. Absences that typically fall into this category include annual holiday, TOIL, maternity leave, paternity leave, and reasonable sick leave.

Unauthorised Absence

Unauthorised absence occurs whenever permission is not given to the employee for the absence. This can include long term sick leave when the employee has not provided sufficient evidence. Persistent lateness can also be considered an unauthorised absence.

It is recommended to record all employee absences. Having accurate absence records can have many benefits for any organisation including the early detection of absenteeism.


If an employee is regularly absent from work it is known as absenteeism. This normally refers to unauthorised absences such as sickness.

High levels of absenteeism can have many negative effects on the employer. These include:

  • Loss of productivity
  • Wages paid to absent employees
  • Extra management task
  • Loss of morale with other staff members “picking up the slack”

Absenteeism can be measured in many ways, including the Bradford Factor score. An HRIS can auto calculate the score and highlight potential problems.

Some absenteeism can be considered a good thing. This includes an employee staying away from work when they are contagious. These types of absence should be considered when dealing with absenteeism.

Annual Leave

Annual leave is the amount of paid time off for an employee. The employee should be aware of their annual leave as part of their employment contract. Most governments set rules regarding the minimum amount of annual leave for an employee but there is no upper limit. The total amount of annual leave for an employee may include public holidays.

It is usually a requirement for employees to request absence in advance of actually taking it. However, depending on the length of the absence a longer notice period may be required. The employee’s contract should include the notice period required and how to request it.


Appraisals are a way for managers to review the performance of their employees. They can be used for various reasons, including:

  • Setting out plans and goals
  • Talk about any areas of improvement

They can also be used to help management choices about the employee. Such as

  • Wages
  • Bonus,
  • Job Role

There are many ways to complete an appraisal for an employee. Some examples are:

  • Traditional Appraisal: The employee and manager talk about the employee’s performance.
  • Self-appraisal: The employee assesses themselves
  • 360-Degree Feedback: Performance is reviewed from a couple of points of view. These could be colleagues, managers, direct reporters and other associates.

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development?is a professional association for HR professionals. Originally a UK based organisation, they now have a global reach with over 150,000 members around the world.



Display Screen Equipment is in almost every job these days, as computers are used in almost every walk of life. There are guidelines and regulations to help minimise the impact of using these intensively. If you have workers that regularly are at a computer, there should be an assessment done to try to ensure they are set up and working as best they can be at the computer. Also, they should take regular breaks from the screen and desk, to rest and readjust the eyes and skeleton position.

Further details can be found at hse.gov.uk

Employee Self Service

An HRIS with Employee self-service, such as Espresso HR, allows employees to access company information, change various personal details for themselves, request an absence from work – such as a holiday or sick leave, review organisation document, and more.

Allowing employees to access via self-service can provide improvements to efficiency, reduce administration time, and improve record accuracy. Here are just a few examples of the benefits of self-service systems:

  • Greater Accuracy: Employees can keep their personal details, emergency contacts and more up to date in just a few clicks.
  • Improved Efficiency: As employees can request time off directly via the system there is no need for paper forms, emails, and other manual tasks.
  • Easy self-checking: Employees can easily check back through their records to see when things happened if they have forgotten something.
  • Documents on-demand: Employees can find relevant procedure documents and contracts directly in the system as soon as they need it rather than needing to request them or go routing through a filing cabinet.

The Human Resource Information System (HRIS) is a type of software. An HRIS is used to record and track the data of an organisation for its’ human resource needs.

Some common things recorded in an HRIS include, but are not limited to:

  • Employee records
  • Accurate absence and attendance records
  • Emergency contact details
  • Organisation policy and advice documents.

The benefits of an HRIS are greatly increased via self-service features. This allows an employee to use the system on their own.

Human Capital

Human Capital is the skills, knowledge, and abilities that employees have which they have gained via training, education, and experience.


The induction process is where a new employee adjusts to their new job and their working environment. This includes learning about the company and their role and getting to know their colleagues.

Maternity Leave

Employees are entitled to take time off to have a baby. This is known as maternity leave. UK law entitles employees to take up to 52 weeks leave, although the employee can take less time off if they choose. While on maternity leave, employees are entitled to the same rights as while they are working. This includes holiday accrual and pay rises. They also have the right to return to work in the same job when the leave is over. Many other governments have similar laws.

Statutory maternity pay insists that employees must continue to be paid for the first 39 weeks of maternity leave, although the amount will probably be lower than their usual wage.

More detail about the maternity leave and maternity pay rules in the UK can be found on Gov.uk.



The offboarding process encompasses all actions related to an employee ending their employment with an organisation, whether as a result of resignation or termination.


The entire process from the first contact with a new employee through to the point at which they are an established member of the team can be considered as the onboarding stage. Onboarding includes activities prior to the employee’s official start date, their induction, and beyond.

Parental Leave

A category of absence that tries to recognise that life does not always go your way when you are a parent. This type of leave allows for parents to take time off work to cover the needs of their dependent children. It is quite often unpaid.?

In the UK, per child, the parent is entitled to 18 weeks. This can be used before that child has their 18th birthday. Its defined purpose is to look after the child’s welfare. You are limited to 4 weeks in any one year and they need to be taken in week blocks. This does not have to be paid leave.

This should not be confused with Shared Parental Leave.

For more details visit Gov.uk


In many jobs, there is a need to protect yourself. Personal Protective Equipment is an overall name for the items you use to do this. A lot of companies will provide certain PPE when required for the job. These can vary from simple things such as gloves or high visibility tops, to less common items such as respirators and chemical resistant clothing and footwear.?

More details around PPE can be found on hse.gov.uk


Redundancy is the act of dismissing an employee when they have become surplus to the requirements of the organisation.

Shared Parental Leave

In the UK new parents effectively can share out maternity leave and pay. The person giving birth has 2 weeks of leave paid. The remaining 50 weeks leave and 37 weeks pay can be shared with the other partner. The person giving birth give the authorisation for this. This must be done in week periods. Both parents can take the leave in up to three blocks, but your employer will need to agree to this. To be eligible for the leave and pay both people will have to satisfy certain criteria. This is, for the most part, the same as the criteria for Maternity pay. After the first 6 weeks, the pay uses the same calculation as maternity pay and is called Statutory Shared Parental Pay (ShPP)

For more details visit Gov.uk

Sick Leave

When employees are ill, they are entitled to take time away from work to recover – this is known as sick leave. If they require fewer than 7 days off work, this is considered “self-certificated” and does not need a doctor’s note. For illnesses of 7 days or more (whether working those days or not), the employee must obtain a note from a doctor, or sometimes another healthcare professional – this is commonly referred to as a “sick note”.

Employees may want to use annual leave days instead of sick leave when they’re ill, perhaps if they would be unpaid on those sick days. If an employee is ill for 4 or more days then they may be eligible for statutory sick pay.

Employees can also take sick leave instead of annual leave if they fall ill during a holiday.

After periods of sick leave, the employer should ensure a Return to Work meeting is carried out and a Return to Work plan put in place.

More advice on sick leave is available on Gov.uk

Statutory Sick Pay

If an employee is ill and takes sick leave for four days or more, in the UK, they may be entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP). This is a minimum level of pay (although the employer can choose to pay more) and is set at ?94.25 per week for up to 28 weeks consecutively. You need to have a period back at work of over 56 days (8 weeks) to qualify for another 28 weeks otherwise, the sick periods are classed as together.

The first three days of sick leave are unpaid (known as “waiting days”), and after 7 days of illness, a doctor’s note is required.

There are various rules surrounding eligibility, for instance, the employee must earn at least ?118 per week on average and not be receiving statutory maternity pay. Full details on SSP are available on Gov.uk.

Please note: Agriculture has a different type of sick pay, Agricultural Sick Pay.

Time Off In Lieu

Time Off In Lieu, TOIL, is a type of authorised absence. It is granted to an employee who has worked additional extra time beyond their usual requirements.? TOIL is often used instead of paying overtime.

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