5 top tips for managing sickness absences

by | Feb 4, 2019 | Blog

Sickness absences are estimated to cost the UK economy a staggering £29 billion per year. Here we offer you some top tips on how you can manage sickness absences in your business.

1. Know your absence data

Give some thought to how you capture this information. Unplanned leave affects your whole organisation not just one individual or one team.

You should be alive to the scale of the problem and be able to identify if there are any trends. Have you noticed a pattern in timings, frequency of dates? Or perhaps certain types of workers are particularly prone to absence.

A cloud-based HR software is a brilliant, hassle-free tool for recording this kind of information.

2. Once you have the data, review your workplace culture

Stress, whether at work or at home, is a common cause of absences.  If you find this to be the case, you might want to consider flexible working. such as unpaid leave, different hours or consider putting together a remote working policy.

Simple, innovative, changes can really help your team.

Encourage your management team to review working practices and introduce training and support

3. Develop a clear absenteeism policy

This one is key!

It’s so important to be clear about exactly what is acceptable and what support is on offer.

Does your policy give guidance on how many absences are acceptable in a given period of time?    Is it clear what support is available to help address absence issues?

4. Talk to your employee

Discussing the situation and meeting with your employee is vital when managing an absence.  We’d strongly recommend this meeting is documented in writing – you may need to re-visit this again if the absence does not improve.

A meeting with the employee will usually determine how you should go about managing the situation. Having a good understanding of the reason behind the absence will be key for reintegrating the employee after a prolonged sick leave.

In the case of an unauthorised absence, a record of this meeting would come in handy if the employee faces disciplinary proceeding.

5. Have a return to work procedure

The format of this procedure would of course depend on the reason for and length of the absence.

For a shorter absence, a chat over a coffee would probably do the trick. But if you are managing a long-term absence, perhaps due to mental health issues, you should consider a more structured process.

You’ll want to take into account any changes to the business, team dynamic or their new working pattern.

If you’re having a headache over a sickness absence, please don’t hesitate to pick up the phone  or email us at info@ to arrange a free telephone consultation.

We can discuss any HR issues you may have under strict confidentiality and give you honest, effective advice on how to best approach the problem at hand.