It is your duty as an employer to keep a close eye on your employee’s absences from function. This is for two main reasons firstly, to ensure that your company does not suffer due to staff absence and secondly, to guarantee that your staff are well, wholesome and pleased.
Every employer really should sustain a record of absence for every single employee. Keeping this record will support you identify any emerging patterns of absence or alert you to a member of staff suffering from a lengthy-term illness. Every single separate sector of your organization need to also maintain this record, this will then enable you to compare employee nicely being across departments. Employee absences records should usually be managed in light of the Date Protection Act (1998). Any records should be destroyed following 3 years (of the financial year designed) and employees should be kept informed if any monitoring is taking place.
If a pattern of absence appears which is inter-departmental, i.e. 1 department has a considerably higher level of absence, then you need to take the appropriate steps into looking at that departments working environment. Not only this but you need to look to your senior members of staff to report on issues inside the department, which could be causing the greater levels of absence.
An additional excellent process to implement is the ‘return to work interview’. This face-to-face interview should be conducted in private with the employee’s line manager. The interview has numerous purposes it establishes precisely why the employee was absent, if they are suffering from a long-term issue and if they are well enough to return to function. It can also present the employee with a private outlet to complain about their working environment and/or fellow staff members, which incidentally could be causing their absence.
If you do not deal with employee absence at an early stage you run the danger of the following occurring:
- Low staff esteem due to increased workloads in covering the absent colleague
- Agency staff bills being extraordinarily high
- The firm failing to reach targets or provide a very good service due to a lack of consistent staffing
In order to deal with an emerging absence pattern there are some actions you can take to make sure that you investigate the difficulty scrupulously. Firstly, you need to compare the employee’s absence over your last three years of records to establish any recurring pattern. Secondly, compare the employee’s absence record to that of the other employee’s within the very same department, this may identify a function related issue. Lastly, check that the employee does not have an illness which fits the criteria of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995. The location of disability discrimination is particular complex — don’t risk becoming grounds for a potentially highly costly disability discrimination claim — take guidance from professional employment solicitors very first.
In the initial instance employee absence ought to be dealt with amicably. Speak to the employee and attempt to discover the reason for a continued or patterned absence record. Solutions such as flexible working arrangements, changing work location or job description can supply lower price outcomes for you and the employee.
If no answer can be discovered or the issue is merely unauthorised absence, then you have the alternative of disciplining the employee under capability and/or conduct. An approved disciplinary handling process need to be utilized at this time.
If you are in any doubt as to the reason for the employee’s absence or the grounds upon which you are beginning the disciplinary procedures, then you need to seek legal suggestions immediately from specialist employment solicitors. A dismissal based upon an employee’s absence has to be legal and if it is not you could face claims of an unfair dismissal via the Employment Tribunal.
The most simple step is to develop clear and comprehenstive policies which deal with employee absence. If you don’t and you are not certain where to begin, contact specialist Employment Solicitors who ought to be in a position to present you with proper policies dealing with employee absence at a comparatively modest cost.