Skip to main content
Case Study

Understanding unplanned absenteeism: Statistically analysing employee absenteeism data

Identifying and supporting employees experiencing mental ill health is an important contributor to creating a thriving workplace.

The Future of Work Institute (FOWI) partnered with a Western Australian Government Department’s internal workplace planning team to investigate unplanned absenteeism within the department. This collaboration marked the first time that the department’s absenteeism data had been analysed for scientific purposes.

Through rigorous statistical analyses, FOWI researchers generated several interesting findings and patterns. Highlights of the findings include:

  • Yearly leave statistics by different categories such as job groups, leave types, and regions
  • Statistical associations between staff demographics and duration and patterns of their unplanned leave
  • Pattern differences among different types of staff
  • Statistical associations between yearly leave patterns at the sub-department level and Index of Community Socio-Educational Advantage (ICSEA)
  • Patterns of monthly leave durations at both the department level and the person level


  • Identified features of leave patterns across different organisational levels, categories, and time periods.
  • Proposed and designed planning strategies or initiatives to effectively reduce department staff’s unplanned absenteeism.