Sickness absence costs the UK millions each year. Managing sickness absence can be challenging and needs employer commitment to tackling the issue. Here we provide some effective sickness absence management tools which are essential in the battle against sickness absence.
If you don’t measure sickness how do you know you’ve got a problem. Of course if you are a small business with only a handful of employees the effect of one of your employees being sick will be obvious. Apart from the cost there will be lost productivity and possibly low morale on the employees holding the fort. However, if you are a larger business with a lot more employees the effect of sickness absence might not be so clear.
An HR information system can be a huge bonus in measuring sickness absence. Based on the inputted data from sick days reports can be produced for discussion at senior management team meetings. Here problematic members of staff can be highlighted and dealt with appropriately, whether it is regular intermittent absence or long term sickness. The main point to remember is that sickness absence management needs to be dealt with. There should also be a sickness absence procedure in place that gives clear guidelines as to how sickness absence will be dealt with.
Employees who are off sick should be required to phone into their line manager on the first day of sickness within one hour of their shift. They should personally phone in and should not be allowed to text or send an email. If the sickness absence continues the line manager should stay in touch with the employee to monitor progress. The employee should be phoning in on a regular basis or the line manager should phone the employee.
On the employee’s return to work, a return to work interview should be conducted by the line manager to check the employee is ok to return, to discuss what has happened whilst the employee has been off work and to ensure they take responsibility for their attendance at work.
If the employee fails to return to work you should consider getting an occupational health assessment to help you manage the situation. This may mean implementing some work place adjustments to allow the employee to return to work. When they are ready to return to work, you need to agree a return to work place then coordinate that process.