Manage absence effectively and make long-term gain
Employee absence can have a significant impact on businesses – on performance, productivity, workload and morale. Managing sickness absence requires sensitivity and flexibility and because of this, it is often swept under the carpet.
Keeping accurate absence records can assist an employer in identifying issues and relating the records to a clear absence policy will also help to ensure that employees are aware of expected standards of attendance and encourage managers todeal effectively with absences. Only move into a disciplinary procedure once welfare meetings have been held to establish cause and support mechanisms.
For persistent or long-term absence, employers must consider whether an employee’s absence is due to an underlying medical condition that could amount to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. If the employee is disabled, the employer has a duty to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ for the employee’s disability which might include a phased return to work, amending duties for a short time, or providing additional workplace support to facilitate a return to work. Making reasonable adjustments is good practice, as well as being key in avoiding disability discrimination claims. Compensation for disability discrimination is uncapped and successful claims can lead to high awards of compensation.