What Is Absence Tracking?

Absence tracking is a method of planning, approving, and tracking employee absences. Keeping accurate records of absence and attendance is one of the building blocks of team and project management. Absence tracking assists invoicing and client billing, gives management teams insight into employee productivity, and helps manage staff shortages.

Why Is Absence Tracking Important

A firm policy on tracking employee absence that includes vacation, sick leave, or any other type of absence that affects employee engagement and taskforce distribution is essential for:

  • Accurate and clear records of time spent at work for invoicing
    Accurate billing might require a final billing report containing all the work hours spent on a project. When companies know the exact number of work hours after calculating employee absence, they can easily bill their clients.
  • Streamlined and easily manageable payroll process
    Absence tracking paired up with the timesheet hours of each employee results in clear and accurate records. If an employee is missing from work, their absence will be tracked, and they will be paid only for the time they’ve been to work unless they’re using their sick leave or any other type of management-approved absence.
  • Accurate project estimation
    With a full team of workers in mind, companies usually create project ETAs, but when team members are absent, this can derail the project, and it will take more time than needed. When managers track absences, they can create new estimates depending on the size of the workforce or divide the absent employee’s workload among other team members, if possible, to stay within the timeframe.
  • Gain insights into team productivity and manage staff shortages
    When companies track absences, they can see how absences affect their teams and whether the workload is manageable without the missing team members. If the team has a hard time completing the daily workload due to a team member’s absence, management can look into hiring additional employees or pushing back project ETAs.
  • Prevent time fraud
    Cases of time fraud and other illicit behavior revolving around employee absences are not uncommon. These occurrences might cost a company money and can lead to unsatisfied clients due to inaccuracies in billing. That’s why it’s important to implement an accurate and reliable management system to track employee absences. The system should identify anomalies and violations before the work hour inaccuracies get out of hand.

How Is Absence Tracked?

The management team tracks employee absence by monitoring employee time cards or time tracking timesheets and monitoring whether there are employees who haven’t clocked in for work without filing a leave request and getting approval.

Paper timesheets and time cards used to be the most basic way of tracking absences, but now these methods have mostly been replaced by digital timesheets, such as spreadsheet software like Excel, time tracking templates, or digital time clocks. 

What Are the Benefits of Using an Absence Tracker?

A sophisticated time tracking software with absence tracking features allows managers to track:

  • The employees at work for each shift
  • The number of hours an employee has worked per day
  • The tasks an employee has worked on
  • Time-off requests records, including duration and reason of absence
  • Reports for employee attendance and absence data.

These features give them a bird’s eye view of what employees are doing. They make it easier for them to approve time-off requests, schedule upcoming absences, and easily spot non-approved absences and take adequate measures.