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7 Quick Statistics on Employee Absences & Substitute Teacher Activity

Teacher Absences & Subs

Quick Statistics Employee Absences

Standing on the cusp of a new school year, it might be hard to focus on anything but the buzz of back-to-school activities. But to set yourself up for success, you need context — a solid understanding of how everything went last year, and what you want to happen this year.

Good thing you have access to the newly-released annual absence report from the Frontline Research & Learning Institute! The new report is stuffed full of fascinating findings, giving you insight into national trends in school district employee attendance and substitute activity.

Don’t have time to look through the full report right away? We’ve pulled seven bite-sized stats you can read through now, with questions to reflect on for the coming year.

During the 2016-17 school year….

one Employees requiring a substitute averaged 11.16 absences.

This is down from an average of 11.73 absences during the 2015-16 school year. However, this downward trend is limited to employees requiring a substitute. Those employees who do not require a substitute took more time off this past year, with an average of 26.88 absences — up from 24.95 the year before.

average number of absences per employee
Have you noticed similar changes in your district?

two 17% of absences were professionally related.

Of the absences taken in 2016-17, 17% were for reasons such as professional development, school business or field trips. This is down just slightly from 2015-16, which saw professionally related absences account for a full 18% of all absences.

percentage of absences by reason

How can you mitigate the impact of school- and district-sponsored absences on instructional time?

three 22% of employees had perfect attendance.

The percentage of employees with perfect attendance fell by 9%, from 31% to 22%. Meanwhile, the percentage of those with more than ten absences during the course of the school year rose by 7%.

percentage of employees requiring a sub by number of days absentHave you noticed similar trends in your schools? How can school leaders encourage better attendance this year?

four 46% of enrolled substitutes did not work.

Of the substitutes enrolled in 2016-17, nearly half did not work at all during the school year. In comparison, non-working substitutes accounted for 39% of the substitute pool in 2015-16.

percentage of non-working substitutes
What can you do over the coming school year to encourage substitutes to work in your schools?

five Over 30% of professionally related absences were reported within 4 days.

Short lead times make finding substitute coverage difficult — yet professionally related absences (which tend to be planned weeks in advance) continued to be reported on short notice.
fill rate for professional related absences by absence reporting lead time What processes can you put in place to facilitate longer lead times and ensure that a qualified, prepared substitute is ready to fill in?

six The lowest fill rates happened around the weekend.

Mondays & Fridays had lowest fill rates in 2016-17, even though Mondays had the same percentage of absences Thursdays — indicating that substitutes prefer to work during the middle of the week.
percentage of absences and corresponding fill rates by day of week
What can be done to counteract this trend?

seven Employees were absent more toward the end of the week.

As seen in the graphic above, Fridays continue to be a high-absence day, with 23% of employee absences falling on the last day of the week. With a corresponding drop in fill rates (with Fridays averaging a fill rate of only 81%), this could have a significant impact on instructional time.

How would these numbers change if professional development was never scheduled on Fridays when school is in session?

About the data: These statistics are based on data from over 5,000 K-12 organizations using Frontline’s absence and substitute management tool. This represents data from 3,345,182 employees and 46,285,736 absences. This data is so comprehensive that the Center for Research and Reform in Education at Johns Hopkins University has declared it to be representative of national trends.

Want to see absence benchmarks from the Institute side-by-side with your own data? Learn more about the Institute Report in Frontline’s Absence Management system.

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Annie GrunwellAnnie Buttner

Annie is a writer and part of the award-winning content team at Frontline Education. She's passionate about learning, exploring data and sharing knowledge. Her specialties include substitute management, the K-12 staffing shortage, and best practices in human capital management.