Employee attendance is a fundamental part of workplace productivity. It comprises two elements—an employee's ability to attend work and their motivation to attend work. Agencies have little control over an employee's ability to attend work. The APS provides a range of leave entitlements to accommodate those times when an employee is unable to attend work through personal illness or injury or caring commitments. APS data, however, suggests there is also a motivational component to the use of sick leave and, as such, agencies have some scope to reduce the incidence of this type of absence. Agencies have been active in developing workplace strategies to manage employee attendance.
Despite this, the level of unscheduled absence in the APS continues to increase and the reasons for this are unclear. What is clear is that employee attendance is complex and context dependent and, as a result, any attempt to improve management of attendance needs to be tailored to the specific agency. To help deal with this apparently intractable problem, APS agencies, individually and collectively, are developing and sharing good practice in absence management. Work includes better monitoring and reporting, a high-level focus on improved management of return-to-work following injury, and outlining to managers and employees their respective responsibilities for attendance.