DEFINITION of 'Absenteeism'

The habitual non-presence of an employee at his or her job. Possible causes of absenteeism include job dissatisfaction, ongoing personal issues and chronic medical problems. Regardless of cause, a worker with a pattern of being absent may put his reputation and his employed status at risk. However, some forms of absence from work are legally protected and cannot be grounds for termination.

BREAKING DOWN 'Absenteeism'

Companies expect their employees to miss some work each year due to vacation, illness and personal issues/responsibilities, but missing work becomes a problem for the company when the employee is absent repeatedly and/or unexpectedly, especially if that employee must be paid while absent. While disability leave, performance of jury duty and the observance of religious holidays are all legally protected reasons for an employee to miss work, some employees abuse these laws to take time off that they shouldn't, which incurs unfair costs to the employer.

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