As part of the adoption of the 2016 budget, Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the Chicago City Council established the City of Chicago Absenteeism Task Force to study City employee absenteeism and make initial recommendations for reducing and managing absenteeism. The 20-member Task Force included aldermen, labor representatives and senior leaders from multiple city departments.
On April 15, 2016, the Task Force released their report which outlined City absenteeism and absenteeism issues, and provided a comprehensive set of recommendations to reduce absenteeism across City departments.
Based on the Task Force’s recommendations, the City established a Workforce Management Group to develop and implement absenteeism policies and track progress, clarified absenteeism protocols for all City timekeeping managers, issued guidelines to managers to ensure departments understand timekeeping expectations, and publically posted citywide absenteeism data. The most recent absenteeism dashboard is available below.
Additionally, the City launched internal dashboards for each department in Q4 2016 to allow departments to spot trends amongst specific employees and/or titles and specific absent types. The Workforce Management Group also holds regular meetings with these departments to discuss any new and existing personnel performance trends and help to develop strategies for managing absenteeism issues.
As part of the Administration’s overall strategy to improve service efficiency and help ensure the City is delivering high quality services across its operations, absenteeism issues are being addressed head on, and the City is seeing results. Specifically, in 2015, the City tracked over 180,000 lost service hours due to employee overt absenteeism, meaning hours an employee was scheduled to work, but did not for unscheduled reasons. This type of absenteeism requires the City to shift personnel resources the day of to fill in gaps, which often includes fewer resources on the street performing key neighborhood services or increased overtime and other personnel costs.
Through the multiple reforms and guidelines established since spring 2016, the City reduced the number of service hours lost by over 15 percent with the City tracking approximately 150,000 hours lost due to overt employee absenteeism in 2016. The City expects further reductions in service hours lost to overt absenteeism in 2017.
As the City continues to manage absenteeism, the Task Force is making available City employee absentee data for the public to review.