Why bother with absence management?

Effective absence management can greatly benefit your organisation.  Depending on the nature of your business, you will either pay for additional cover or expect colleagues to pick up the extra work when an employee is off sick.  Frequent or long-term absence can be costly in temporary workers or put a strain on colleagues who have to provide cover.  If other employees feel the matter is not being managed properly they may also feel demotivated. HR consultant Guildford Surrey

Typical absence issues

Suspicious absence.  In some situations employers suspect that the sickness absence is not genuine – perhaps it often occurs on a Friday or Monday to create a long weekend – but they don’t know how to tackle this.

Genuine but frequent absence.  Sometimes the sickness is clearly genuine, but it is still causing a problem for the business with the amount of time off the employee needs.  Some employers are not sure what they are legally able to do.

Long-term absence.  When someone is off sick for a long period, or it’s clear that they won’t be able to return for some time due to the nature of their illness, employers can be nervous about taking action.  You need to balance the needs of the business against the rights of the employee.

Maternity related absence.  Pregnant women can suffer with various problems such as morning sickness or high or low blood pressure.  There are special arrangements in employment law to trigger an early start of maternity leave in certain circumstances rather than have the employee on sick leave followed by maternity leave.

Disability related absence.  Reasonable adjustment should be made for employees with a disability related illness but many employers don’t fully understand this and just feel they can’t take any action to manage sickness absence if the employee has a disability.

High organisational sickness levels.  If general absence rates are high this will have an adverse impact on productivity and employers should consider measures such as return-to-work interviews, Bradford Factor, monitoring to identify patterns, investigating reasons behind the issue.