Similar to informal payments, this corruption type is often related to low wages in publicly financed health systems and to poor working conditions. Healthcare workers claim a salary but take on other employment. For this reason absenteeism is strongly linked to the corruption type private use of public products, equipment and facilities in the healthcare service delivery category. Healthcare providers may not fulfil their paid work commitments because they provide parallel private consultations from which they can receive higher fees.

In a range of low-and middle-income countries absenteeism has been documented as a serious issue. As well as causing a backlog of care, remote health facilities with a small number of staff may have to completely shut due to staff absences. Poor record keeping can make it hard to measure, track and put in place measures to tackle absenteeism.