Absence from work is a serious matter – especially in a small business where it can have serious operational consequences.

So how do you effectively manage absence and stay within the law? In this blog we are going to touch on short term absences and how these can be managed.

  1. Keep records

The number one thing to do is to keep accurate records when people are off sick.  It is essential to be able to prove when an employee was off sick, what was wrong with them and then be able to spot any patterns.  This doesn’t have to be anything fancy – a spreadsheet will do, but even better would be some affordable cloud based software that allows you to easily record absences.

  1. Be fair and consistent

Quite often a business won’t realise it has an absence problem, until one person highlights it.  So however you chose to manage absence, it is essential that you treat everyone fairly and don’t favour some and be extra tough on others.  Having a sickness policy in place and making sure it is followed is a great place to start.

  1. Be human

People shouldn’t feel afraid of taking time off work to get better.  I once worked for a company where my manager ‘battled on’ when she was sick, and therefore expected all of her staff to do the same.  Firstly it’s not healthy, a whole room full of coughing and spluttering is not good for anyone concerned.  Secondly, it creates a culture of fear, and can be dangerous (I took a night nurse instead of a day nurse and ended up passed out on the office sofa all day!).  If people are unwell they should be given time to get better, but equally, your team should know that any ‘micky takers’ will be dealt with.

  1. Highlight problems, don’t hide them under the carpet

If someone is taking a lot of time off, or if Monday and Friday patterns are setting in it is important to let the employee know, and firstly ask if there is anything wrong.  Don’t automatically jump to conclusions that someone is taking the proverbial, certain conditions do cause frequent short term absences and this shouldn’t be overlooked.

  1. Take advice

Problems with absence can quickly spiral out of control, or land you in hot water if you try and manage it without taking advice.  This could involve discussing your situation with a professional advisor like us, or/as well as obtaining medical opinion to make sure you deal with the situation fairly and within the parameters of legislation.

If you need help with creating a sickness policy, need advice on a live issue or would like to find out about our cloud-based HR software – get in touch today for a free chat.