Navigating Post-Christmas Party Absenteeism: Insights for Employers

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Peddlar's Party at The Hub Bazaar

Thunder Bay – Business – December brings not only festive joy but also challenges for employers and HR professionals, as staff absences spike, particularly following company Christmas parties. The preferred time for these celebrations? Friday nights, allowing employees to unwind without the worry of work the next day. However, this trend is leading to an unexpected consequence: a significant rise in Monday absences.

The Monday Blues Post-Friday Celebrations

Data from HR software firm BrightHR indicates a noticeable increase in employees taking the Monday off following a Friday night Christmas party. While the exact reasons are varied, Alan Price, CEO of BrightHR, offers some insights into this trend.

“The jump in absenteeism post-party might be attributed to a mix of high spirits and indulgence, leading to what we could call a ‘three-day hangover’ or ‘hang-xiety,'” Price explains. “For instance, after the popular party date of Friday, December 9, last year, we observed sickness rates on the following Monday skyrocket by 61% compared to an average Monday in 2022.”

Planning Ahead for Recovery Days

Furthermore, BrightHR’s data shows a 55% increase in vacation day usage on the Monday after the December 16 party date, suggesting that some employees strategically plan time off to recover.

Employer Considerations and Actions

Price advises caution for employers in addressing post-party absenteeism. “While it might raise eyebrows if employees call in sick after a Christmas party, it’s essential not to jump to conclusions. Genuine illnesses do occur, especially during the winter season,” he says.

Employers are encouraged to maintain a degree of flexibility but also to have robust systems and policies in place to manage and track absences effectively. This approach can deter non-genuine absenteeism.

Setting Clear Expectations

The key to managing these challenges, according to Price, is reminding staff that the Christmas party is an extension of the workplace and that usual workplace rules apply. “Enjoying a few drinks is generally fine, but overindulgence can lead to HR headaches and even disciplinary actions. Engaging in illegal activities is particularly serious and can result in dismissal,” he warns.

About BrightHR Canada

BrightHR Canada stands as a leading HR and Health & Safety software service, revolutionizing people management for over 6,500 clients nationwide. The company offers a comprehensive suite of services, including award-winning software, a vast library of resources, expert advice, e-learning courses, and more, aimed at simplifying and enhancing the HR processes for Canadian businesses.

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