Bribery or absence management?

Apr 25 2005 by Brian Amble Print This Article

Here's a radical idea. Turn up for work for a set number of days a months and get paid for it!

In most businesses, this arrangement has been in place since the day the idea of paid work first saw the light of day.

But not, it seems, in Britain's postal service, where levels of sickness absence were so high that somewhere in the region of 10,000 workers were off sick every working day.

The answer? Launch a scheme whereby workers who didn't miss a single day off sick between last August and this January stood a chance of winning holidays or even new cars.

The Royal Mail says that since it introduced the scheme, attendance levels have risen by 11 per cent - meaning that 1,000 more workers turned up for work every day.

But that implies that a very large proportion of those 1,000 workers were simply pulling a sickie. What about some disincentives for poor attendance?

The scheme is also wrong because it penalises those who are genuinely sick Ė and worse, encourages people to go to work when they should be staying at home.

As Guy Dresser, Editor of writes today: "rewarding people for not taking 'sickies' is not right. Bribery sends the message that signing off sick when you're not ill is normal and that anyone who doesn't do it should be rewarded for outperformance."

This is money | Bribing staff not to take sickies is wrong