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Absence & Attendace

Click below to access an Absence & Attendance policy template. This template can be adapted based on business needs.

Dealing with persistent short term-sickness absence

  • If an employee experiences frequent brief periods of sickness, it is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that the employee adheres to the company's protocols regarding notification and proof of illness.

  • The employer should look into the reasons behind the absences, which may require obtaining a medical report to determine if there are any underlying causes.

  • Based on the situation, the employer may need to initiate either the disciplinary or capability process.

Set an absence target for the organisation

  • A defined level of sickness absenteeism, known as an absence target, is established by employers with the objective of decreasing absenteeism rates throughout their organisation.

  • Employers must determine a practical absence target for their company, which may include a singular target for the entire organization, as well as separate targets for specific areas or locations of the business.

Set absence levels that will trigger a formal review

  • Absence triggers serve as a valuable aid in managing employee absenteeism. These triggers alert the employer when a predetermined level of sickness absence has been reached, enabling them to examine and address the absence pattern more effectively.

  • The organisation can set the threshold for absence triggers, considering industry standards and other relevant factors. For instance, an employee experiencing over three incidents of sickness in a 12-month period can serve as an example of an absence trigger.

  • The employer must establish a mechanism to notify them when a trigger has been triggered.

Measure the organisations absence rate.

  • To calculate an organization's absence rate, precise absenteeism statistics obtained from uniform tracking of sickness absence are crucial.

  • Employers have various methods of determining the amount of time lost due to sick leave. They must choose the most appropriate metric or blend of metrics based on their specific requirements.

Introduce return-to-work interviews as part of organisational procedure

  • Return-to-work interviews are widely regarded as one of the most effective methods of managing sickness absence. These interviews promote prompt action in potentially difficult situations while also fostering transparent communication between employees and managers.

  • As a crucial component of an organization's absence management policy, return-to-work interviews should be conducted based on a predetermined set of questions, and the employer should keep accurate records of the discussions that take place.

Conduct a return-to-work-interview

  • To conduct a successful return-to-work interview, employers must ensure that it is conducted in a private, comfortable setting with no time restrictions.

  • During the return-to-work interview, it is critical to identify the cause of the absence and confirm that the employee is physically and mentally capable of resuming work.

  • To maintain a record of the interview, the employer should create a written document and store it in the employee's file.

Arrange cover for long-term sickness absence

  • When an employee is on long-term sick leave, employers may opt to use agency workers or assign the workload to the employee's colleagues to arrange for cover.

  • The most suitable approach will depend on several factors, such as the ability to predict the probable duration of the absence and the type of work required.

  • Employers should keep in mind that additional flexible cover may be required, particularly if the employee requires a phased return to work.

Implement a phased return to work from sickness absence.

  • Physicians frequently advise employers to implement a gradual return-to-work program for employees who are absent but capable of performing some work and expected to recover enough to resume their roles.

  • During a phased return to work, the employee's regular working hours will be altered, such as working two days a week, gradually increasing to five over an agreed-upon period. Employers must consider the impact of the reduced hours on the employee's compensation.

  • Employers should establish and document goals for the phased return, including when workloads will be increased, and track the employee's progress throughout the return-to-work period.

When an employee goes off sick at the beginning of a disciplinary investigation or during the disciplinary process

  • If an employee becomes ill at the start of a disciplinary inquiry or during the disciplinary process, the employer should carry out as much of the procedure as feasible in the employee's absence. This may involve conducting investigative interviews with witnesses and gathering necessary documents.

  • If the absence is expected to be brief, the employer can delay completing the process until the employee returns.

  • However, if the employee's absence is likely to be lengthy, the employer must take appropriate actions to allow the employee to participate in the procedure.

When an employee is absent without authorisation

  • If an employee is absent without permission, such as not showing up for work and not informing the employer of the cause, the employer should make an effort to contact the employee to determine the circumstances.

  • The appropriate course of action for the employer will be determined by various factors, including whether or not the employer can communicate with the employee and whether or not the employee returns to work.

When an employee goes on annual leave without authorisation

  • If an employee is absent on days when their holiday request was denied by the employer, the employer should make every effort to contact the employee and determine the cause of the absence before making any assumptions.

  • Once the employee returns to work, the employer should arrange a meeting to discuss the issue before deciding whether to initiate disciplinary action.

  • Typically, the employer is not required to compensate the employee for any time they were absent without permission.

When an employee fails to return from annual leave

  • If an employee does not report back to work following a period of approved annual leave and does not provide any explanation in advance, the employer should attempt to contact the employee through appropriate channels to understand the reason for the absence.

  • Upon the employee's return to work, the employer should investigate the matter and, if deemed necessary, commence the disciplinary process.

  • Typically, the employer is not obligated to provide the employee with regular pay for the period of unauthorised absence.

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