Late for work? Don't blame it on the buses

Stabroek News
November 20, 2002

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Business owners should not accept their employees blaming transportation for making them late to work, a seminar heard on Friday.

The Consultative Association of Guyanese Industry Inc. (CAGI) hosted a half-day seminar titled 'Absenteeism in the Workplace' which examined the causes and effects of absent and chronically late employees.

Francis Carryl, Industrial Relations Officer at the Guyana Sugar Corporation (GUYSUCO) outlined why people either don't show up for work or show up late. Carryl said it was largely a question of attitude and preparedness on the part of the employee. He noted that some persons are in the habit of blaming transportation as the cause for their being late, but this excuse is pretty lame given that some persons living far away always make it to work on time while those close by can be the last in the door.

He went on to say that in the long run, it is unexpected absenteeism that puts a strain on any workplace and places a burden on the rest of staff who have to put in longer hours to make up.

This also leads to increased overtime, costing the employer money. Carryl pointed out that because of the cost associated with absenteeism, it is important that employers record and report on the employee's absence.

Participants were also encouraged to compute the cost of absenteeism in their workplaces.

Carryl said of late, places of employment were moving towards being more 'family oriented', by accommodating their workers who may have personal commitments before or during work. Some of them are introducing flexible working arrangements, which would allow workers to put in their required number of hours per day or per week as they choose.

On the other hand many workplaces institute both punitive and incentive measures.

Some may choose to make deductions for time off the job, while others offer 'no-sick' bonuses to an employee if he/she does not have any sick or absent days.

During the seminar, participants had a chance to raise issues which were pertinent and relevant to their situation, like how to deal with the pregnant worker who decides that she should not do any work, and the employee who is unwilling to do occasional extra work, yet wants time off.

Participants got an insight on how other organisations function in terms of the issues raised.

The seminar brought out ideas on how workplaces should deal with resumption of work after absenteeism, but it was agreed that each workplace must devise its own system to deal with the problem, as each case may be different and cannot be approached in a blanket manner.

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