When short-term sickness is a problem

By March 18, 2015Sickness

Everybody gets sick now and then, and usually taking a day off work is a good idea to help people recover faster and to stop any bugs spreading to colleagues. But what if an employee is constantly off sick for short periods of time? You need to know how to spot suspicious sickness leave and how to deal with it!

When should you be worried about sick leave?

Persistent sick leave not only reduces productivity, but can also become a burden on other employees, risking increased levels of stress and possibly even more sick days!

If you monitor absence levels in your business (which you should!) then you should be able to spot patterns in absences, for example, lots of Mondays off, or days off coinciding with football matches.

It’s really up to you what you consider suspicious, what we advise is that you monitor absences carefully and if you become suspicious, speak to the employee, there may be an underlying condition you aren’t aware of which is affecting the employee’s health. You may also find, once you’ve spoken to the employee, that there are steps you, the employer, can take to help reduce the amount of time they are off sick, for example you could change their work hours or move them to a less labour-intensive project.

How to deal with persistent absence

If your employee is taking excessive sickness leave, there are a few steps you can take. To prevent absences becoming a problem, our HR team always recommend to our clients that they hold ‘return-to-work’ interviews for every sick day taken (even if it’s only one day). This can act as a great deterrent for non-genuine sick days as the employee will know they will have to justify their need for a sick day on their return.

If persistent absence has reached the point where it has become a problem, we recommend holding a formal review process with the employee to discuss their absence. You should tell the employee why you’re concerned and the affect their absences are having on the business and their colleagues.

This might be enough to make the employee rethink their frequent sick days but, if there isn’t any improvement, you might consider starting disciplinary and dismissal procedures.

Need to speak to someone about sick leave?

Call us on 020 7870 1090 to discuss how opening a Deminos account can help you.

Author chris swindells

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