Effective absentee management in your workplace

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[cs_content][cs_section parallax=”false” separator_top_type=”none” separator_top_height=”50px” separator_top_angle_point=”50″ separator_bottom_type=”none” separator_bottom_height=”50px” separator_bottom_angle_point=”50″ style=”margin: 0px;padding: 0px;”][cs_row inner_container=”false” marginless_columns=”false” style=”margin: 0px auto;padding: 0px;”][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”4/5″ style=”padding: 0px;”][cs_text]Absent employees can have a huge financial impact on businesses, costing UK PLC’s over £12 billion a year and employers £495 a year in direct costs for every worker employed as well as much more in indirect costs.

But, with the right policies in place, absenteeism can be effectively managed and your business can continue to operate productively and profitably.

Communicating with your employees

Latest figures from the UK’s largest annual survey of sickness absence rates and costs shows that sickness absence was an average of 2.8% of working time per annum, or 6.5 days per employee.

This shows just how important it is that absence management forms part of your HR policy. It is also essential that all managers and employees know that this policy exists and exactly what it entails.

Employees should know how to inform their manager if they are taking a day off sick and also what they will be expected to meet with their first day back at work to discuss their absence.

When discussing your absence procedure with employees, you should:

1. Make it clear that they have to ring in and speak to their line manager or HR team themselves. Texts or emails are not appropriate ways of informing of an absence and someone else should only make the call for them if they are genuinely too ill to do so.

2. Inform them that a return to work interview will take place after every absence, even if it was only for one day. This gives you the opportunity to check their absence was for genuine reasons and to discuss their previous absence history to see if any patterns are emerging.

It is essential that everything is documented in these meetings and you get your employees to sign their approval in case you need to progress to a more formal absence meeting or tribunal in the future.

Supporting your employees

It is easy to become annoyed with an employee taking time off at a crucial time for your business for what seems like a minor complaint such as a cold or sore throat, but it is important that you look at the bigger picture.

A cold one week could develop into something more serious a few weeks down the line which is why it is important you document absences correctly. These records will help you to identify if your employee needs any additional support to keep them in good health. This is something which is particularly important if your employee suffers from any kind of disability.

For example, if a health issue means an employee is persistently late, not only will this have a negative effect on their colleagues who arrive on time each day, it could be putting that person under extra stress. Making adjustments to their working hours, and communicating this to colleagues, e.g. allowing them to work 9.30am – 5.30pm instead on 9am – 5pm, could make a big difference to their overall health and happiness.

It is important, however, that you differentiate between lateness for a genuine health and wellbeing reason from lateness because of laziness or bad timekeeping. The latter is something which needs identifying and dealing with by the individual’s line manager as a conduct issue.

Absence isn’t always a negative

Policies whereby employees have to ring in to report their absence can lead to those who are genuinely ill ignoring the situation and coming into work and spreading their germs.

CIPD research has found that 31% of UK organisations reported a rise in staff presenteeism over the past year. Employers who report an increase in presenteeism are 41% more likely to also report an increase in stress-related absence.

If an employee is genuinely ill, being in work could have a detrimental effect on your business. You should ask yourself, and them, if they are well enough to be in work, would they benefit from a complete break from work or could they work from home to prevent the spreading of germs?

Think healthy to prevent absence

Just 8% of organisations have a stand-alone well-being strategy while a fifth have a wellbeing plan/programme as part of their wider people strategy. Both of these are more common in the public sector and larger organisations with smaller companies often neglecting these important policies.

If employers take a genuine interest in the health and wellbeing of their staff, whether it is by offering fruit in office, ride to work schemes or gym memberships, they can proactively try prevent illness and absence as much as possible.

According to CIPD research, companies which invest in a wellness culture see the number of days lost to absence cut to a fifth of the national average, something which could make your business more productive and profitable.[/cs_text][/cs_column][cs_column fade=”false” fade_animation=”in” fade_animation_offset=”45px” fade_duration=”750″ type=”1/5″ style=”padding: 0px;”][x_image type=”none” src=”https://www.rebusrecruitment.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/Screen-Shot-2017-01-16-at-11.51.43.png” alt=”” link=”false” href=”#” title=”” target=”” info=”none” info_place=”top” info_trigger=”hover” info_content=””][cs_text]By Emma Swan, partner, Knights Professional Services[/cs_text][/cs_column][/cs_row][/cs_section][/cs_content]

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