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Clear expectations, when is a text OK?

Photo of person using a phone

As a manager, do you and your employees have an agreement about how you communicate absence?

Is a text ok? Does it need to be before 9.30 am? Should I call my manager and highlight the day’s work issues? Do I need a doctor’s certificate? These are just some of the questions that employees often consider before reaching out to their manager about an unscheduled day of absence.

To avoid misunderstandings, a simple and easy way of dealing with absence is critical. Each manager and their team should develop some practical ways to manage absence. Clear expectations are a great place to start to develop good communication and build relationships with your team.

Managers can drive positive attendance by setting early, clear and realistic expectations in line with the team’s culture and individual requirements.

Attendance expectations can be clarified:

  • with potential recruits
  • at induction
  • within the probation period to observe attendance patterns and to identify and address concerns early
  • through positive messages that convey the importance of attendance, productivity and employee welfare.
  • by framing discussions on leave policies as employee benefits rather than as entitlements
  • when discussing flexible work arrangements

An employer’s expectations about attendance need to be clearly communicated to all employees. Similarly, a manager needs to be equipped to respond to unscheduled absence. To support managers with this issue, check out the absence management toolkit.

Last reviewed: 
29 March 2018