Coping with seasonal sickness
A combination of post-Christmas blues, shorter daylight hours and cold, gloomy weather mean that for many people January can be a tricky month.
The HR Dept is warning businesses to be vigilant in an attempt to survive the backlash. People are much more susceptible to illness in January and employees can be struck down without notice, leaving you to cope without them. This year a survey revealed that 7/10 bosses don’t keep track of sickness absence, and that illness is costing private sector businesses £388 per year per employee. There’s no way you can avoid employees calling in sick, but you can handle the situation to minimise the impact it has on your business. By keeping track of the time off your employees take, you can manage absenteeism and reduce the effect it has on you, your company and the rest of your employees.
The HR Dept says: “Keeping your records in order, monitoring absenteeism and doing something about it is a good line to draw in the sand for the new year going forward. We always get calls about sickness and how to manage persistent short term absenteeism. Dealing with it quickly and consistently is the key.”
Here are The HR Dept’s top tips for handling sickness absence:
- Record all absence
- Be consistent in your approach to dealing with all sickness absence issues
- Hold return-to-work interviews with all employees
- Record all absence using a personnel system like The HR Dept Toolkit
- If you think someone isn’t telling the truth about their time off, take advice from The HR Dept
- Stay in contact with your employee during any period of absence and ensure you have fit notes where necessary
- Dealing with an employee on long term sickness absence is likely to be considered a disability. We advise caution and suggest seeking The HR Dept’s advice on managing these situations, as disability discrimination claims have unlimited payouts at tribunal and an employee does not need to have any qualifying length of service to bring a claim.