Katharine-KellyKatharine Kelly discusses the issues to watch out for when dealing with sickness absences and provides some guidance about how to manage persistent absentees.

Every employee is likely to be absent at some point during their working life. Often this is only for a few days but long term absence or frequent bouts of absence can have devastating effects on the well being of your employees and importantly on the performance of your business. As a result of frequent absences efficiency and profitability are likely to suffer.

Sickness absence requires effective management to assist in maintaining control of absences. This can be done by providing clear, written guidelines for employees; keeping absence records; conducting return to work interviews and making reasonable adaptations to assist absent employees to return to work. Effective management will ensure that your employees understand what is expected but importantly that you stay within the parameters of the law by maintaining consistent and fair standards.

An effective absence policy can bring benefits to your business such as lower insurance premiums; higher rates of staff retention; improved productivity and preventing small problems escalating. It is also vital to ensure that in managing sickness absences there is not an inadvertent breach of other rights, such as protection from disability discrimination.

Failure to maintain a clear absence policy may result in action taken against an employee being considered to be unfair and could result in a claim for unfair dismissal and/or discrimination which will be extremely costly for your business.

We can assist by drafting a considered sickness absence policy tailored to your business. We will support you through processes dealing with long term or frequently absent employees to reduce the prospect of claims being made against you. Call us on 08000 832 832 for assistance in developing a long term solution.

Read more about the law concerning sickness absences here.