Every employee will invariably be sick and unable to work from time to time. It is important to keep in contact to establish any support they need and when you can expect them to return to work. In extreme circumstances, or where you suspect the sickness my not be genuine, it may be necessary to terminate a contract of employment but you must follow a fair procedure first – do you have the correct processes in place?
Short Term Absence:
• Discuss the problem with your employee as soon as possible and keep lines of communication open at all times
• Monitor the absence and document the ‘calling in sick’ process. Can your employee complete a self-certification notification or do you require a letter from their doctor?
• Once your employee is fit to return to work, make sure you have all your ducks in a row and that you conduct a return to work interview
• If necessary instigate a formal action process including warnings and dismissal, only as a last resort
• Learn from employee absence, conduct reviews and look for patterns that can help you to avoid absence in the future.
Long Term Absence:
This is when a period of absence exceeds four weeks in duration. In these instances your employee is required to provide medical support.
• Keep in regular contact with your employee and help to obtain medical advice that will assist in their return to work
• Avoid the risk of disability discrimination by taking your duty of care seriously and making all necessary adjustments
• Manage their return to work effectively, consider a phased return where necessary
• If your employee is unable to return to work, take the right steps to instigate dismissal on the grounds of ill health.
Dismissal is always a last resort. Factors that must be taken in to consideration before heading down this path include:
• The nature and length of the illness
• Length of service and previous record
• Any improvement in attendance
• The effect of absence on colleagues and the business as a whole
• Whether there are other employment options available.
The key to managing staff sickness is to keep in communication with your employees at all times. Don’t be afraid to contact a member of staff who is on sick leave. Don’t leave the situation to get out of hand.
If you have a member of staff who keeps taking sick leave, or who is on long term sick leave and you’re not sure what to do next, contact me on 0118 940 3032 or click here to email me.