How to Manage Recurring Sickness Absence
When your company is experiencing a high number of employee absences, there are certain ways to deal with employee absences; particularly when they are caused by any sensitive issues that your employees may not have disclosed at work.
Managing sickness absences may seem like a chore, but without proper management techniques, you may find that it’s difficult to keep all of your employees together and on the same team.
Why it’s important to begin managing sickness absences as soon as possible
Employee absences can easily disrupt the flow of work, and this can have a serious effect on the moral of your team(s) when they realise that a workmate is often missing during the day.
However, there are many reasons that your employees may be absent quite regularly – including serious illness and even family issues.
A study published by the CIPD showed that the annual cost of sickness absence has climbed to almost £29 billion for UK organisations.
It’s important for employers to crack down on the issues that cause absenteeism to try and lower the loss they would otherwise experience from absent employees.
Managing sickness absences with an absences policy
The first thing you should do is give all of your employees a copy of your company’s absences policy.
This policy should inform them exactly what they need to do when they need to take an absence from work, as well as what the company’s procedure is for when an employee returns to work after an absence of any length.
Return to work meetings
After an employee absence, you should a meeting with your employee to ensure that they are well and that the absence wasn’t anything serious or work-related.
Always follow any consequences that you outlined in your absences policy.
But ensure that you take into account any sensitive issues such as serious illness or family issues, if the absence wasn’t a simple case of a serious of sick days.
Document each absence, and any of the actions taken following the absence, as evidence.
These “return to work” meetings can help you figure out if there’s any way that you can assist your employee.
If the issue is work-related, then you should try to correct the situation.
Offer support for your employees
If absence issues are family-related or health-related, you should try to offer some support while your employee is under contract at your company.
For example, offering leave for the employee, or lowering their hours.
Always ask the employee if any changes in their contract would be welcome before you make them – you may accidentally be putting your employee at financial risk by lowering their hours.
Consider what kind of workplace support that your employees may benefit from.
Try offering a phased return to work plan that is based on the individual’s own needs and limitations, or even identify an alternative but suitable role for your employee that may be better suited to them.
Often, sick days are the cause of an employee being overworked, seriously ill, or not wanting to come to work and face the stress of the day.
This last reason is the one that you need to look out for.
Managing sickness absences that are frequent
If an employee’s absences build up, it may be time for them to consider whether working with your company is the best thing for them at this particular moment in time.
If the absences are less serious and it seems that your employee is just taking several sick days, then it may be time to rethink their contract and whether they should be with the company.