Frequently Asked Employment Questions

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Document updated/added on 19.10.2020

Topic: Sickness absence

What can we do to prevent staff throwing a sickie?

Start by reviewing your sickness absence policy and how it operates in terms of notification procedures. If you don’t already do so, make it a requirement that any employee who will be absent due to sickness must contact a designated person, usually a manager or other senior person, by a specific time, e.g. within 30 minutes of their start time. When contacting you they should also say when they are likely to return. If they’re made to do this, instead of talking to a colleague, texting or emailing in, they’re likely to be deterred from throwing a sickie. Also review your sickness absence data for the last year and pinpoint how many one-day sickness absences are taken and their pattern, e.g. around weekends, key sporting events and holidays, and who takes them. Tip. If you identify a significant problem, or any individuals who have an unusual level of sickies, consider introducing a policy of return-to-work interviews. Even without having this problem, return-to-work interviews can help to reduce sickness absence levels in all workplaces.