Canada: 10 Tips To Having An Attendance Management Plan That Works


Even the best attendance management plans, drafted with great care and attention to the most up-to-date principles, often fail. They fail because there is essentially no commitment to them by senior and middle management. Before the development of an Attendance Management Plan ("AMP"), the work begins with the internal management meeting where the managers are briefed on the costs to the organization of the excessive absenteeism rates. Quantification of the cost to productivity, to morale and to quality of service is a cornerstone of having management understand the cost of poor attendance management. It may also create a desire to invest in an AMP and make it a part of the organization's goals. Proper attendance management will create not merely savings from greater productivity but, properly administered, such efforts are rewarded by employees becoming more inclined to see the support as evidence they are not merely numbers and are valued contributors.


Any AMP will have development, rollout and administrative costs associated with it and there must be a commitment, ideally in the form of a specific budget to provide the required resources to bring AMP's objectives to fruition and ensure that it is effective. Costs of physicians' statements, independent medical exams (in justifiable cases), testing and functional assessments are some of the hard costs. It must also be considered whether an attendance management position needs to be created or whether existing HR staff will functionally be able to administer the AMP as designed and intended to operate.


Do not fall into the approach of so many who have secured the support of management, obtain the requisite financial support and then simply copied someone else's plan. Your plan needs to reflect your company and its environment, being especially careful to adhere to the principle of fair and consistent application among many classes of employees – some union some not. AMP development requires a determination of the objectives of the company which ought to be realistic. 100 per cent attendance 100 per cent of the time may not be a realistic goal but 97 per cent attendance 100 per cent of the time may be, depending on the nature of the business. The elements of the AMP may also depend upon the resources available for administration such as health care professionals, addiction resources, occupation therapists, etc.


Before creating the AMP, identify the nature or the source of absenteeism in your organization and adapt or create an AMP to address those issues. The more elaborate and the more areas the AMP seeks to address, the more dedicated time it will take to administer. Managers required to assist in the administration of an AMP often place such matters lower on their priority of things they need to do. Motivation and engagement of managers, if they are to be involved, must be evaluated because each manager must be as committed to the AMP as the next. If requirements on managers become a burden or appear to them to be "overkill" they will find ways to avoid administering the AMP, creating inconsistent application at best, which can be very problematic in a unionized environment.


To succeed, the AMP should be applicable to everyone, not merely a class or group. Equal treatment across all groups creates not only an understanding of how serious senior management are in ensuring the well-being of employees without regard for status in the company but demonstrates that all are treated evenly.


The AMPs that succeed focus upon the well-being of the employee. Generally, an employee's well-being physically and emotionally results in regular attendance. The AMP must recognize this and be promoted on rollout as having a focus on the employee's well-being and promotion of consistent regular attendance at work through that well¬being. An AMP needs to be part of the investigative tools to facilitate an understanding of the root causes of the absenteeism and set a course to correct or remove those causes and promote regular, consistent attendance.


It is important that the AMP be published and internal meetings held to review the AMP and how it will be applied in the workplace. The presenter has to have intimate knowledge of the AMP and the ability to speak to, and answer questions about it, provide some examples or an outline as to how an employee would fall under the AMP and possible ways of proceedings with the employee. The key messages should be fair and consistent treatment and compliance with the AMP, any applicable collective agreement(s) and SOPs of the organization.


Depending upon how detailed your AMP is, it is frequently necessary to supplement the AMP text with standard policies of application, adherence to which will greatly assist in consistent application regardless of whoever is responsible for administering the AMP. This is particularly necessary where frontline managers have initial responsibility to deal with absenteeism. Such policies should establish a requirement of reporting the absence by the employee to his/her supervisor or to a centralized contact before commencement of the employee's shift. In addition, the employer could require an online medical leave request form together with a job description to be taken to the health care provider to be completed and returned to excuse the absence or justify his return to work. The form, whether required at point of first visit or later, to address accommodation issues needs to be functionally based and permit space for identification of restrictions for medication, physical and/or mental impairments.


Although it is very important to ensure the AMP is applied uniformly and consistently, particularly in a unionized environment, it is equally important to treat each individual as an individual. Employers seen to be focusing on the individual are less likely to have resistance from the employee group. For example, if the employer becomes aware that an employee suffers from a chronic disease that flares up from time to time, the employee may not necessarily be required to produce a physician's statement each time the condition prevents the employee from attending work. Instead, such an employee may be requested to provide a medical update on, for example, a six-month basis on the functional limitations then necessary to be considered in accommodation.


The culture of a workplace can be a significant ally in the adoption and understanding of any AMP. Many employers in offshore oil and gas and generally in the petroleum industry have created a culture in their workplaces where it is taken for granted that drugs and alcohol have no place in the workplace. That is not to say that they have been completely eliminated from those workplaces; unlike many other industries the sustained effort of employers in offshore oil and gas (and consistent application of consequences) to address alcohol and drugs in the workplace makes those who engage in such substances viewed by other employees as a danger to those who do not. Equally, a goal of an AMP should be to demonstrate how excessive absenteeism impairs the productivity, placing additional burdens on those who attend and jeopardizes the reputation of the employer to deliver the services – thereby jeopardizing the livelihood of all.

More importantly, it is necessary to demonstrate that, in dealing with the problem of absenteeism, the AMP provides individualized fair treatment to assess whether the relationship can be viable on a go-forward basis.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

In association with
Related Video
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Check to state you have read and
agree to our Terms and Conditions

Terms & Conditions and Privacy Statement (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd and as a user you are granted a non-exclusive, revocable license to access the Website under its terms and conditions of use. Your use of the Website constitutes your agreement to the following terms and conditions of use. Mondaq Ltd may terminate your use of the Website if you are in breach of these terms and conditions or if Mondaq Ltd decides to terminate your license of use for whatever reason.

Use of

You may use the Website but are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the content and articles available (the Content). You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these terms & conditions or with the prior written consent of Mondaq Ltd. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information about’s content, users or contributors in order to offer them any services or products which compete directly or indirectly with Mondaq Ltd’s services and products.


Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the documents and related graphics published on this server for any purpose. All such documents and related graphics are provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers hereby disclaim all warranties and conditions with regard to this information, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. In no event shall Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use or performance of information available from this server.

The documents and related graphics published on this server could include technical inaccuracies or typographical errors. Changes are periodically added to the information herein. Mondaq Ltd and/or its respective suppliers may make improvements and/or changes in the product(s) and/or the program(s) described herein at any time.


Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including what sort of information you are interested in, for three primary purposes:

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, newsletter alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our information providers who provide information free for your use.

Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) do not sell or provide your details to third parties other than information providers. The reason we provide our information providers with this information is so that they can measure the response their articles are receiving and provide you with information about their products and services.

If you do not want us to provide your name and email address you may opt out by clicking here .

If you do not wish to receive any future announcements of products and services offered by Mondaq by clicking here .

Information Collection and Use

We require site users to register with Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to view the free information on the site. We also collect information from our users at several different points on the websites: this is so that we can customise the sites according to individual usage, provide 'session-aware' functionality, and ensure that content is acquired and developed appropriately. This gives us an overall picture of our user profiles, which in turn shows to our Editorial Contributors the type of person they are reaching by posting articles on Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) – meaning more free content for registered users.

We are only able to provide the material on the Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) site free to site visitors because we can pass on information about the pages that users are viewing and the personal information users provide to us (e.g. email addresses) to reputable contributing firms such as law firms who author those pages. We do not sell or rent information to anyone else other than the authors of those pages, who may change from time to time. Should you wish us not to disclose your details to any of these parties, please tick the box above or tick the box marked "Opt out of Registration Information Disclosure" on the Your Profile page. We and our author organisations may only contact you via email or other means if you allow us to do so. Users can opt out of contact when they register on the site, or send an email to with “no disclosure” in the subject heading

Mondaq News Alerts

In order to receive Mondaq News Alerts, users have to complete a separate registration form. This is a personalised service where users choose regions and topics of interest and we send it only to those users who have requested it. Users can stop receiving these Alerts by going to the Mondaq News Alerts page and deselecting all interest areas. In the same way users can amend their personal preferences to add or remove subject areas.


A cookie is a small text file written to a user’s hard drive that contains an identifying user number. The cookies do not contain any personal information about users. We use the cookie so users do not have to log in every time they use the service and the cookie will automatically expire if you do not visit the Mondaq website (or its affiliate sites) for 12 months. We also use the cookie to personalise a user's experience of the site (for example to show information specific to a user's region). As the Mondaq sites are fully personalised and cookies are essential to its core technology the site will function unpredictably with browsers that do not support cookies - or where cookies are disabled (in these circumstances we advise you to attempt to locate the information you require elsewhere on the web). However if you are concerned about the presence of a Mondaq cookie on your machine you can also choose to expire the cookie immediately (remove it) by selecting the 'Log Off' menu option as the last thing you do when you use the site.

Some of our business partners may use cookies on our site (for example, advertisers). However, we have no access to or control over these cookies and we are not aware of any at present that do so.

Log Files

We use IP addresses to analyse trends, administer the site, track movement, and gather broad demographic information for aggregate use. IP addresses are not linked to personally identifiable information.


This web site contains links to other sites. Please be aware that Mondaq (or its affiliate sites) are not responsible for the privacy practices of such other sites. We encourage our users to be aware when they leave our site and to read the privacy statements of these third party sites. This privacy statement applies solely to information collected by this Web site.

Surveys & Contests

From time-to-time our site requests information from users via surveys or contests. Participation in these surveys or contests is completely voluntary and the user therefore has a choice whether or not to disclose any information requested. Information requested may include contact information (such as name and delivery address), and demographic information (such as postcode, age level). Contact information will be used to notify the winners and award prizes. Survey information will be used for purposes of monitoring or improving the functionality of the site.


If a user elects to use our referral service for informing a friend about our site, we ask them for the friend’s name and email address. Mondaq stores this information and may contact the friend to invite them to register with Mondaq, but they will not be contacted more than once. The friend may contact Mondaq to request the removal of this information from our database.


This website takes every reasonable precaution to protect our users’ information. When users submit sensitive information via the website, your information is protected using firewalls and other security technology. If you have any questions about the security at our website, you can send an email to

Correcting/Updating Personal Information

If a user’s personally identifiable information changes (such as postcode), or if a user no longer desires our service, we will endeavour to provide a way to correct, update or remove that user’s personal data provided to us. This can usually be done at the “Your Profile” page or by sending an email to

Notification of Changes

If we decide to change our Terms & Conditions or Privacy Policy, we will post those changes on our site so our users are always aware of what information we collect, how we use it, and under what circumstances, if any, we disclose it. If at any point we decide to use personally identifiable information in a manner different from that stated at the time it was collected, we will notify users by way of an email. Users will have a choice as to whether or not we use their information in this different manner. We will use information in accordance with the privacy policy under which the information was collected.

How to contact Mondaq

You can contact us with comments or queries at

If for some reason you believe Mondaq Ltd. has not adhered to these principles, please notify us by e-mail at and we will use commercially reasonable efforts to determine and correct the problem promptly.