How Do You Manage Absence in Your Business?

How Do You Manage Absence in Your Business?

The cost of absence to your business could be huge. While it’s not always avoidable, you can reduce the cost and impact by managing it effectively. Here are some of the things you need to do:

Monitor it: You won’t have an idea of the problem if you don’t keep a record of the days and dates of absence. You need to know the frequency or length of absence to decide on the next steps.

Reporting absence: You must have rules about reporting absence and you must make sure these are followed.  If you don’t do this everyone will ignore them because they can.

Discuss the problem with your employee: There’s a legal requirement to consult with employees. They need your support and you need to know how to plan their work while they are away and make arrangements for their return.

Getting the payments right: Check the contract of employment to make sure you make the correct payments. As a minimum, employees are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay and they may also be entitled to be paid for holidays.

Return to work interview: These are key tool in deterring absence and making sure that you know what’s going on with your staff. They’re a great opportunity to nip problems in the bud.

Keeping in touch: Contact is vital if an employee is away for a long period. It helps you to provide support to them and at the same time understand how the situation may develop so that you can plan your business.

Phased return to work: This may be required after a long illness and may be suggested by the GP in a fit note.  You should consider these suggestions and discuss them with the employee before you make a decision.

What if you need to dismiss a member of staff due to long term absence? What are the benefits of managing absence? You can find out more from our free fact sheet – download it here.

(HR) Human Resources for Small Businesses

When you run a small business, taking on and managing staff can be one of the hardest things to get your head around. Here are a few of the basics that you need to get right.

Employment contracts – This is the most important HR document you’ll have in your business. You’re legally obliged to provide every employee with a written statement of the terms and conditions of their employment within two months of them starting with you.

National Minimum Wage – Almost all workers in the UK aged 16 or over are legally entitled to be paid a minimum hourly amount. The rate is reviewed every year and usually increases in October. Click here for the current rates.

Holidays – All employees are entitled to a minimum amount of time off per year. For full time employees the maximum is 28 days. You can work out your employee’s holiday entitlement by clicking here. Some companies like to give their staff an extra day off on their birthday, if it falls on a working day.

Pensions – Since July 2012 changes have been brought in. Every business will have to provide eligible employees with a qualifying pension scheme and make minimum levels of contributions into it. Talk to pension providers to find out when you need to set up your scheme.

Statutory Sick Pay – When an employee is absent from work due to sickness for more than three continuous working days, they become entitled by law to receive Statutory Sick Pay.

Discipline and Grievance Process – When dealing with disciplinary and grievance situations in the workplace, you should follow the Acas Code of Practice.

Dismissal Procedure and Tribunals – Dismissing an employee is fraught with risk for employers, so you should make sure that you follow the correct procedure and take advice.

These are just a few of the things you need to know. It’s best to deal with issues before they become big problems, so if you need any more advice, please do get in touch.

How to Handle Disciplinary Issues and Help Employees Improve Their Performance

It is important to handle any disciplinary situation quickly, fairly and appropriately.  Small businesses often find it easier to deal with an incidence of misconduct informally particularly when the issue is minor in nature.  Hold an informal meeting to ensure that the employee understands why their behaviour has been deemed unsatisfactory and seek agreement/agree steps to ensure that the behaviour does not continue or recur. 

If informal warnings have not produced the desired result and the unsatisfactory behaviour continues, the next step is to arrange an investigation by an impartial Manager.  An investigation should include review of HR records and any previous warnings/issues that may have occurred, talking to other Managers with knowledge of the misconduct and interviewing any witnesses.

Should the investigation indicate that there is a disciplinary case to answer then you will need to invoke a formal disciplinary procedure.  Most companies operate a 3-stage process: (1) written warning, (2) final written warning, (3) Dismissal.  There is no legal obligation to start at the beginning of the procedure.  The type of warning issued will depend on the seriousness of the offence.

In the event of an act of gross misconduct, i.e. an act of such a serious nature that it fundamentally breaches the contractual relationship between employer and employee then you have the right to dismiss the employee immediately without notice or pay in lieu of notice.