Understand what data is collected
APS employees are entitled to a range of leave types for a number of reasons. Unscheduled absence in the APS is an aggregation of the following types of absence.
- Personal Leave – a workplace absence, regardless of duration, whether paid or unpaid, due to personal illness or injury or to undergo a planned medical procedure.
- Personal Leave – Carer's – a workplace absence, regardless of duration, whether paid or unpaid, to provide care or support for a member of the employee's immediate family or household.
- Miscellaneous Leave – Bereavement and Compassionate – a workplace absence, regardless of duration, whether paid or unpaid, that is taken:
- upon the death of a member of the employee's immediate family or household (bereavement) or
- to spend time with a seriously ill, injured or dying member of the employee's immediate family or household (compassionate)
The APSC obtains absence data quarterly from agencies and reports annually.
Be open about absence data and provide regular feedback to your team
In 2016-17, the overall APS unscheduled absence rate was 11.4 days per employee. Small agencies tended to have lower unscheduled absence rates compared to medium or large agencies.
There has been a slight downward trend in the rate of unscheduled absence over the past few years, decreasing from 11.5 days per employee in 2015-16 to 11.4 days per employee in 2016-17. This equates to 45 minutes per employee over the year.
Despite the small decrease in unscheduled absence, the overall rate in the APS remains high.
Leave rates for individual APS agencies 2016-2017 can be viewed here.
All agencies are different in what data they collect and communicate, reach out to your HR area to know what data is available and how best to communicate it.
Understand current policies/strategies and how they may influence the data
Human resources are considered to be the strongest asset of any organisation. The APSC and agencies develop policies and often embark on campaigns or strategies to improve how the workforce is managed. These may have an effect on the rates of unscheduled absence in your agency.
One example high on agency agendas is increasing employee engagement. Evidence suggests that employee engagement is a key driver of unscheduled absence reduction.
Tracking of APS workforce information data over several years shows that when employee engagement is higher, employees take fewer days of unscheduled absence.
Results from the 2017 APS Employee Census on employee engagement shows that engaged employees are likely to:
- be more productive
- have a greater commitment to achieving organisational goals
- use less sick leave and
- remain with their current employer for a longer period.
See the full report here.