We all fall sick or injure ourselves occasionally, so a reasonable level of staff absence through ill health is only to be expected. However, what do you do when a particular employee starts taking too much time off sick? They could be genuinely ill but they might be swinging the lead – how do you tell the difference? What if an employee has serious health problems resulting in a lengthy period of sick leave? Do you have to keep them on your books indefinitely? Managing employee absence or staff attendance is rarely straight-forward.
Some employers feel that their hands are tied and that they have to just put up with high absence levels. That is not the case. It is not always easy and does require an investment of your time, but there are steps you can take to ensure your employee either improves their attendance or leaves your organisation. The most important first step is to ensure you record employee attendance and have absence reporting procedures in place.
What if you have an employee who has serious health problems resulting in a lengthy period of sick leave? Do you have to keep them on your books if this runs into several months? It may be that your employee has a disability in this case and you would need to ensure that you take steps to comply with the requirements of the Equality Act. However, ultimately if your employee’s health is unlikely to improve sufficiently, within a reasonable period of time, you will be able to lawfully dismiss them.
Absence management is a complex issue which provides plenty of opportunities to get it wrong. If you need help with a particular absence issue or would to find out more about how to manage absence more generally, contact us.