Winter weather impacts employee absence, overtime, hiring and payroll costs

Employee absence is a constant workforce management issue for any employer. The impact of unplanned absence on labor costs and productivity can reduce revenues and adversely impact customer and patient service levels. While sickness, family issues and transportation challenges often top the list of reasons behind unplanned employee absence, recently bad weather across the US has wreaked havoc on employers.

With the US jobs report published this morning by the Bureau of Labor statistics, Bloomberg and Business insider reported that “Bad Weather Kept 273,000 Out Of Work”.  Many opinions are that hiring and payrolls for December and now January have been impacted by winter weather.

Holiday delivery miscues by UPS and FedEx both pointed to bad weather as one of the reasons for delays. The effort to “catch up” after weather impacts business typically leads to unplanned overtime and higher than anticipated labor costs.

The business impact of the “Polar Vortex” that came across the US this past week has yet to be quantified, but news stories throughout the week provided a preview of what may be reported for January:

Accurate labor tracking with impact analysis, employee availability, real time schedule adjustments, and mobile device notifications/alerts are critical to effectively control labor costs, especially when volatile weather can increase unplanned employee absence. To learn more about managing unplanned absence be sure to visit

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