Not only is unscheduled absenteeism up 25% from 1997, it is at its highest level in seven years. Those are the findings of a survey by CCH Inc., a human resources information firm in Riverwoods, Ill. What's more, for the first time since the survey began in 1991, family issues topped personal illness as the No. 1 reason for unscheduled absences from work; together the two accounted for nearly half of all unscheduled absences from work. Even worse, the human resource (HR) managers who were surveyed expect absenteeism to increase over the next two years as employees take more "sick days" to accommodate work/life issues. The largest increases in unscheduled absences -- about 30% -- were among employers with between 100 and 999 employees. Over half of HR managers suggested that flexible scheduling would help the most to reduce unscheduled absences. Another 24% recommended the use of compressed work weeks, and 22% said companies need to develop time-off policies so employees can attend their children's school functions.