We’ve made it through January and commenced the first week
of February with National Sickie Day!
Whilst, we make light hearted comments about this day, in
reality managing sickness absence is a big concern for employers. It is expected that around 375 000 employees
will take the day off today costing employers over £32 million in reduced
productivity and lost opportunities.
The first step in managing sickness absence is having a good
absence policy in place, which clearly sets out what you require your employees
to do when reporting their absence from work.
We would suggest that you instruct your employees to personally report
their absence (unless they are unable) and speak to their manager or the HR
department, detailing the reasons for their absence. Hopefully, having to speak to someone will
encourage a greater degree of honesty. It is surprising how many employees will
use text messages as a means of reporting their absence. If this is unacceptable to you, make that
clear in your policy. Back to work
interviews can also serve as a good way to deter short term absence and to keep
a record of the reasons for the absence.
Many employers use scoring systems, which measure and control employees’
absences, such as the Bradford Factor.
It is worthwhile training managers on managing sickness
appropriately. Whilst it is tempting to
assume that recurrent short term absences suggest that an employee is taking
duvet days and should be disciplined, this may not be the case. A number of short-term absences may be caused
by a longer term health issue. If so,
the employee may be protected by the disability discrimination legislation. Care
should be taken and, if necessary, advice sought, when deciding how to deal
with disability related absences. This is not going to be a one size fits all