Every business will have to deal with employees who are ill. Making the right decisions at the right time is critical.
Good attendance at work, and associated good performance, makes the business world go around. An employee’s absence, on the other hand, generates direct costs like having to engage other people to take over their workload. There can also be indirect costs resulting from a decline in efficiency, for example.
So, aside from genuine concerns about the welfare of staff, it makes good commercial sense for employers to take ill-health absence seriously. From days off here and there, to absence because of an injury at work, to long-term sick leave. There’s a broad spectrum of non-attendance which employers should get to grips with in the context of their business, their policies and procedures and the law.
The starting point must always be the individual circumstances of any absence:
- Is the employee prone to taking short-term leave and is this a disciplinary issue?
- Does the employee have a disability which triggers the organisation’s duties under discrimination legislation?
- Is it reasonable to continue to employ someone on long-term sick leave?
These are all questions employers need to ask when managing ill-health absence. Our employment lawyers have the answers. They help businesses draw up comprehensive policies and procedures and advise them on communicating these properly to the workforce. Our lawyers identify the issues in every problematic absence case and help businesses
- apply the law
- fulfill their duties to the employee
- take the right decisions.
Making mistakes in the process doesn’t just open an employer up to liability, getting things wrong can have a profound effect on the employee. Perhaps they’re unfairly dismissed or they’re forced to remain absent because their employer hasn’t put reasonable adjustments in place. Ultimately, they might find their health deteriorating.
When the stakes are this high, it pays to get it right.