Managing sickness and absence

It is getting to that time of year where absence levels start to increase. Are you 100% confident that your sickness and absence policy is effective?

 Managing absence effectively is important and to help with this, it is important to have procedures which establish a fair and consistent process to help identify repeat offenders. A good absence policy should define the process as follows:

  • Set out the time period employees have to inform their manager of their incapacity to work. Some employers request this one day before, others say within one hour of the employee’s normal start time – it’s up to you.
  • Ask employees who call in sick for their predicted return date.
  • Conduct a back to work interview – regardless of how long they’ve been off. Back to work interviews can act as a deterrent, in that employees will be less likely to take time off if they have to formally sit and chat about the reason of absence.

Employers need to be able to respond flexibly to a particular individual’s circumstances and take into account any potential ‘discrimination’ issues connected with the absences.

Managing short-term sickness 

In cases of short term absence, monitor the absences, record the details, hold return to work interviews, and when the absence level becomes unsatisfactory, take disciplinary action. 

Managing long-term sickness 

Long-term sickness absence can also affect the business and knowing when to take action is a fine balancing act. Even if an employee has run out of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), they continue to accrue employment rights such as the right to paid holidays, so it’s important to take action to identify if and when they are likely to return to work. In such circumstances, before any ultimatum can be set on a return-to-work date or date for dismissal, you will need to have followed a fair procedure. This will include having regular welfare meetings with the employee and being in contact with the employee throughout their absence. 

Should you wish to discuss this subject, contact 121 HR Solutions to discuss further on 0800 9995 121.

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