Sickness and Absence Management

Do you know how much absenteeism costs you ?
Do you have a process to measure it?
Do you have policies to address it?
We all get sick and employers should always be sympathetic to anyone who is sick and deal with it in a professional and calm manner.
There are a few things however you may want to consider
To measure absence try using total number of days lost/total number of staff = average days per employee and see who falls where in the league table
To measure your percentage lost time rate use (total absence days in the period/possible total days in period) x100 
Remember Cost of absence every 1% of excessive sickness costs 1% total wage bill, in addition to effects on service continuity, quality and morale and of course reputational damage
Simple things you can do to understand manage and where possible reduce absenteeism

  • Do not accept absence even for a day without question
  • ALWAYS conduct a return to work interview ALWAYS check certificates presented
  • ALWAYS insist employees personally contact their supervisor not by text or voicemail
  • KEEP accurate records of absence
  • Do not ignore people on long term sick maintain contact
  • Involve occupational health where practicable
  • Make managers responsible for managing sickness rather than leave it to HR
  • Manage in accordance with absence policy
  • Allow flexible return to work

Decide on trigger points when to invoke formal action on absence levels
Conduct formal interviews as soon as trigger points are hit ,  typical trigger point could be 10 days in 12 months or 3 incidents of absenteeism in a rolling 3 month period do not make exceptions but handle special cases e.g. pregnancy or disability sympathetically
Prepare a plan, agree outcome with employee set a review period and set date for a review meeting record in writing expectations.
Be supportive at all times
Whatever the cause of the absence treat it in the same manner
Don’t succumb to emotional blackmail
Consider OHA recommendations you may not be able to implement all of them
Deal with people who have repeated multiple reasons for unexpected absences