This approach not only results in increased costs but also puts the remaining employees under increased pressure.Alternatively, acting positively to help the employee return to work not only has an economic benefit but also helps morale and overall productivity. The foundation The foundation for positively managing absence is having the right policies etc in place. For example, your absence policy should state how employees should report absence, how often they should do this, what evidence is required (e.g. self-certification forms, Fit Notes etc) and your contract should include the right for you to send an employee for an independent medical examination. Employees should be informed about the policy, especially during induction, and you should keep accurate absence records for all employees in order to prove consistency in your actions. Consistency Your policies are valueless if you do not follow them consistently. One critical element is the return to work interview which is a useful tool in several ways. Firstly, it sends a clear message to all employees that they will need to account for their absence. Secondly, it can help identify how you can help employees overcome problems that are resulting in absence Thirdly, it can provide early warning of potentially serious health issues which may involve disability. Long-term illness Regular contact, handled sensitively, is vital for managing these situations and to ensure the employee feels part of the team and that you want to help him/her return to work. You should consider using occupational health professionals. The government is currently rolling out its “Fit for Work” programme which will provide limited free advice to employees and employers on how to overcome barriers for getting the employee back to work. Having such advice can be vital not only for minimising the absence but also reducing your risk of a legal claim.
Read more on sick leave:
- Why are UK workers planning to take the day off on 25 April?
- Bosses must ensure wellbeing of staff if they are to protect bottom line
- What triggers rising trend of presenteeism – and how to improve staff health and productivity
Fancy some time off? You’ll want to steer clear of these 20 terrible excuses British workers have used for absences.
Terry Edney, CEO of BusinessHR for Hiscox.Image: Shutterstock
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