How do I use Absence Types and Absence Reasons?

Our guide will break this topic down into smaller, more simplified sections. Explaining how to create new Absence Types and Absence Reasons makes it much easier to demonstrate how they are applied day-to-day. We will also be following a specific Use Case to assist us along the way.

This guide will walk you through:

  • An introduction to Absence Types and Absence Reasons
  • Creating Absence Types
  • Creating Absence Reasons
  • Calendars and Absence Reasons
  • Availability and Absence Reasons
  • Timesheets and Absence Reasons

An introduction to Absence Types and Absence Reasons

The relationship between Absence Types and Absence Reasons is hierarchical. Using a ‘parent and children’ analogy, Absence Types are the parents and Absence Reasons are the children. An Absence Reason can only have one Absence Type whereas Absence Types can have multiple Absence Reasons. For example, a ‘Sick Paid’ Absence Type (parent) might have ‘Long Term Sickness’ and ‘Short Term Sickness’ as Absence Reasons (children). 

There are 10 default Absence Types in Focus. These cannot be edited. You can, however, create new ones.

There are 7 default Absence Reasons. These can be edited and new ones can be created.

It is Absence Reasons that you will encounter on a daily basis. Their typical use is when you record or book an absence for an employee, giving a reason for the absence. You use them to show Focus and Focus Users that an employee is not expected to be at work at a time where otherwise they would be. Without them, you would have an inaccurate Availability screen and ‘no shows’. You can also use them retrospectively, to apply labels to, and to explain unexplained absences.

So, let’s look at our Use Case, create the necessary Absence Types and Reasons and book some absence.

Use Case

You require an Absence Type called ‘Staff Development’ to account for different types of absence to account for staff training and development. You want the Absence Type to default to a whole day of absence and it won’t count towards Personal Holiday.

You also need three associated Absence Reasons - ‘Internal Training’, ‘External Training’ and ‘Offsite Team Building’.

Creating Absence Types

  1. Select ‘System’ from the Menu Bar.
  2. Select ‘Absence Types’ from the System Tree.
  3. Select ‘Create New’.
  4. Name the Absence Type ‘Staff Development’.
  5. Insert ‘1’ into ‘Days’ - this treats the absence as a full day. A half day would be ‘0.5’.
  6. Leave ‘Personal Holiday’ unticked - you don’t want Focus to treat the absence as holiday.
  7. Save.

Creating Absence Reasons

  1. Select ‘Rules’ from the Menu Bar.
  2. Select ‘Absence Reasons’ from the System Tree.
  3. Select ‘Create New’.
  4. In the Basic section, name the Absence Reason ‘Internal Training’.
  5. Give the Absence Reason a colour. You may find it useful to group similar absences by colour (i.e. holidays in blue, training in orange), as this will help when it comes to viewing the Calendar and Availability screens.
  1. In the General section, set the ‘Default Hours’. In our example, we have set it to 08:00. When booking an absence, this is the standard amount of hours that will be allocated, unless manually adjusted at the time of booking.
  2. Select ‘Staff Development’ as the ‘Type’. This now associates this Reason (child) with the Type (parent).
  3. Change the ‘Calculation Type’ to ‘Set To’. This means that the default hours will overwrite any hours worked during that day.
  4. Set the ‘Default Rate’ to Rate 1. This is the Rate that will be applied when using this Absence Type.
  1. Tick ‘Allow on Clocking’. This means this Absence Reason can be selected when editing or adding an IN or OUT clocking on the Timesheet.
  2. Tick ‘Allow on Hours’. This means this Absence Reason can be selected when editing hours on a Timesheet.
  3. Tick ‘Contributes to Holiday Entitlement’. This means this Absence Reason is actually considered part of an employee’s work.

Employees will not be able to use this Absence Reason when booking an absence through Self Service as ‘Allow Requests’ has not been ticked.

  1. In the Rates section, select the Rates that this Absence Reason is allowed to be booked against. It’s important to note that the default Rate should be one of these. In our example, any time allocated to ‘Internal Training’ will be paid at Rate 1.

Repeat the process to create ‘External Training’ and ‘Offsite Team Building’ Absence Reasons.

The newly-created Absence Type and Absence Reasons now show in their respective menu lists.

Calendars and Absence Reasons

When selecting ‘Options’ in the Calendar, ‘Staff Development’ now appears in the list of Absence Types. By ticking it, any of the three associated Absence Reasons (‘Internal Training’, ‘External Training’ and ‘Offsite Team Building’) that have been used to book an absence will appear in the Calendar.

When creating a new absence booking, notice how the defaults of your chosen Absence Reason are applied.

Once your Absence Reason has been selected, the parent Absence Type works behind the scenes and applies the settings you created earlier - a full day absence and not considered as Personal Holiday.

Availability and Absence Reasons

Similar to the Calendar, selecting ‘Staff Development’ shows the associated Absence Reasons. Absence bookings can also be made in the same way.

Now that we’ve looked at the typical use for Absence Reasons, we’ll look at other areas of Focus where you will find them.

An Absence Reason must also be provided* in the following instances:

  • if you edit or add a clocking on a Timesheet,
  • if you edit or add times on a Timesheet,
  • if an employee makes an Absence Request via Self Service.

* The need to provide an Absence Reason can be turned off by navigating to System>System Setup>General>Edits and ticking ‘Allow No Reason on Clocking Edits’.

Timesheets and Absence Reasons

Here is an example of using an Absence Reason, retrospectively, in a Timesheet:

On Friday 7th October, Jenny Jones was on the Rota to work but she didn’t clock IN or OUT as she attended a last-minute off-site training session. Therefore, her Timesheet shows as Absent (System), an auto-generated comment from Focus, meaning she was scheduled to work but didn’t show up. As a result, she is currently not getting paid for that day. You, as her line manager, need to edit her Timesheet to account for the training she attended.

Notice how your newly-created Absence Reasons are now included in the list of Absence Reasons when you select the ‘Reason’ box. By selecting ‘External Training’, all the defaults that you set earlier when creating your Absence Reason are applied to the edit (the ‘New Total’ has automatically changed to ‘08:00’ and the ‘Operation’ has changed to ‘Set To’).

On saving, Jenny’s Timesheet now shows ‘External Training’ and 08:00 hours at Rate 1.

Absence Reasons can also be used in Timesheets to explain other things, not just absences. Therefore, it might be useful to ignore the word Absence and simply think of them as Reasons. For example, if someone forgot to clock in one morning and their supervisor manually entered the clocking, they might select an Absence Reason called ‘Forgot to Clock’ which has been created for such occasions. This informs other Users of the reason for the edit.

Additional information

Selecting an Absence Type from the System Tree will produce an overview, in the form of pie charts, of associated absences that have occurred and been booked in the last 30 days. Choosing one of the Absence Reasons on this page and selecting ‘Open Absence Reason’ will open it in a new tab.

You can report on the various Absence Types and Absence Reasons by selecting ‘Absences’ from the Reports Tree.

Related Articles

How do I create an Absence Reason?

An Absence Reason is the reason a Focus User gives to something happening.

How do I assign the same Absences to multiple employees?

Use Absence Profiles to assign the same set of Absences (Bank Holidays, Company Shutdown etc) to groups of employees.

How do I record an absence due to sickness?

There are several ways in which you can record a sickness absence. This guide will look at each of these in turn.

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