Absence Rate

Definition - What does Absence Rate mean?

Absence rate refers to a metric used to assess an individual or workforce's rate of absence from work. For an employer, the rate represents the number of employees who are not present at work as a portion of the employer's total workforce. The rate is calculated as a ratio of workers with absences to total full-time workers. An individual's absence rate usually represents the hours absent as a percentage of his or her usual hours worked.

By monitoring workplace absence rates, an employer may be able to identify workplace health and wellness risk factors or other job quality issues that affect workplace attendance. An evaluation of an individual's absence rate may alert an employer to a worker's health or performance problem.

WorkplaceTesting explains Absence Rate

While an individual employer may choose to define absences using customized criteria, many employers and researchers employ the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics' definition. When calculating an employer or industry absence rate, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) defined it as any instance in which a person who is otherwise employed for 35 or more hours per week worked less than 35 hours in a given week due to specified reasons.

The reasons applicable to the BLS absence rate calculation include an employee's illness, injury or medical problem, the occurrence of child care difficulties, a need to attend to family or personal obligations, attendance to civic or military duties, and the taking of maternity or paternity leave. Vacation or voluntary time off are not included in absence rate calculations nor are labor disputes or other involuntary work stoppages.

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