Sickness leave is a benefit of an employee, which is granted for the recovery of an injury or sickness and is in the form of paid leave. Since the nature of sickness is unpredictable, it is not possible to clearly define the level of sickness leave. An employee who is absent for three weeks following an operation would not be considered in the same way as someone who has had three days off for a fever.

It is essential to consider each case separately taking into account the particular circumstances. Maintaining good levels of attendance is essential in terms of efficiency in an organization. Good attendance contributes to the organisations ability to deliver a high quality service. Effective management of sickness leave can reduce absence levels to the mutual benefit of both individuals and the organization.

The cost associated with sickness leave, paid to an employee using sick leave benefits is termed as "sickness leave cost". Sickness leave affects an organization in many ways ie:-

- Direct impact on the profit of an organization due to his/her absence.

- The potential anarchy caused in the team due to the unavailability of the resource in the team.

- Efficiency, time management and quality of work, thus the absence of an employee will affect the team and this in turn will affect the profit of the company.

The cost and benefits of sickness leave

Providing sickness leave to employees can cost the company a substantial amount of money. This includes paying employees who are at home and are unwell to attend work or employees who cannot attend work due to caring for a family member. Another major problem is the replacement of workers since their replacement will also cause some additional labor charge to an organization.

Against these costs, there are substantial benefits to society and business such as:-

- Employees will come back to work fit and well, and will be more productive since they will recover more quickly when staying at home.

- Improved health, job satisfaction and loyalty will help to improve the employee's retention.

- Employees who stay at home due to illness will not infect other employees which will reduce absenteeism and increase the productivity.

Even though many of the employers generally allow "sickness leave" taken by the employee for non-health related reasons, this sickness leave abuse will adversely affect the profit of an organization.

How to reduce sickness leave cost

There is no quick solution to manage and reduce sickness leave. Keeping additional resources in the team is one method to reduce the cost since this will help to replace the affected employee easily. Another method of reducing cost is the proper management of sick leaves. Proper management will reduce the unauthorized sickness leave and simultaneously will reduce the cost.

To avoid the majority of the company's sickness leave problem, it would be useful to have a system in place to track all employee's sickness which will help the company to find out how the employees use their leaves. This will help them to eradicate the problem of abusing the sickness leave and hence control the cost.


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