ab·​sen·​tee·​ism | \ˌab-sən-ˈtē-ˌi-zəm \

Definition of absenteeism 

1 : prolonged absence of an owner from his or her property

2 : chronic absence (as from work or school) also : the rate of such absence

Examples of absenteeism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Without warning, organizations are left to deal with the aftermath, from absenteeism and turnover to hiring costs, lost productivity, onboarding, and more. Fraser Marlow, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Listen up — before it’s too late," 19 Apr. 2018 Parents who receive this temporary support have less absenteeism and are more productive on the job. Susan B. Parks, latimes.com, "Food stamps can make the difference for struggling O.C. families, many of them working," 5 July 2018 Schools without a 12th grade will be graded only on achievement, test score improvement, and level of chronic absenteeism. Trisha Powell Crain, AL.com, "Grade for Alabama K-12 system to be released Thursday," 11 Jan. 2018 Burnout fleeces our economy for over $300 billion annually in absenteeism, job turnover, lost productivity and medical claims. Philip Chard, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Burnout reflects a conflict between our inner calling and what we have to do," 13 July 2018 Half-pay for sick days was an initiative to combat rampant absenteeism among state employees in the early 1980s. John O'connor, The Seattle Times, "APNewsBreak: Disgraced ex-Madigan aide to collect $130K," 26 June 2018 Half-pay for sick days was an initiative to combat rampant absenteeism among state employees in the early 1980s. John O'connor, chicagotribune.com, "Ex-Madigan aide who resigned amid sexual harassment allegations to collect $130K for unused vacation, sick time," 26 June 2018 The worst group for absenteeism appears to be families. Dara Lind, Vox, "A new study blows up Trump’s “catch-and-release” myth," 11 July 2018 Buses are frequently delayed by traffic or canceled outright because of driver absenteeism. Adam Vaccaro, BostonGlobe.com, "Next bus in 3, 2, 1 . . . 20 minutes?!," 20 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'absenteeism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of absenteeism

1829, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for absenteeism

absentee + -ism

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Last Updated

1 Oct 2018

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The first known use of absenteeism was in 1829

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Financial Definition of absenteeism

What It Is

In the business world, absenteeism refers to the rate at which employees do not arrive for work as scheduled.

How It Works

Company XYZ is a health care provider. It has 25 nurses who are each responsible for seeing 10 patients a day. Every day, one or two nurses are not at work due to vacation or sickness. However, in the past month absenteeism has risen. Now, four or five nurses are often missing for the day, putting a severe strain on the nurses who do come to work, increasing the wait times for patients, and increasing the number of medical errors the nurses are making.

Why It Matters

Absenteeism increases costs and lowers profits because it reduces productivity and often work quality. A similar problem, presenteeism, occurs when employees choose to stay at work but handle personal and family issues at their desks rather than working. Many forms of absenteeism are protected by law (such as family leave under FMLA). Often, however, absenteeism can increase when workers feel stressed. U.S. companies lose billions due to chronic employee absenteeism.

Source: Investing Answers



English Language Learners Definition of absenteeism

: a tendency to be away from work or school without a good reason : the practice or habit of being absent from work or school

Comments on absenteeism

What made you want to look up absenteeism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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