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The Best Ways to Manage Absence

What is the best way to manage high levels of sickness absence?

There are several things employers can do to reduce absence levels in the workplace. These include having a clear absence management policy which includes robust absence notification procedures requiring a phone call rather than a text message or email; recording absences so you can spot any patterns that may emerge and warrant some attention; carrying out return to work interviews to check in with employees when they come back after their absence and exploring the reason for absence and what the employee is doing to try to avoid it in the future, offering flexible working opportunities that help employees balance their work life and their home life; supporting positive mental health in the workplace.

How can I measure absence levels?

There are lots of ways you can do this, including using the bradford factor. Or, you can set out a simple trigger point which will look to address absences if they hit a certain level within a defined period. An example of this could be 3 periods of absence within a 6 months period but can be set at a level that best protects ongoing support.

How do I reduce the amount of sickness absence at work?

There are several things employers can do to reduce absence levels in the workplace. These include: incentivising attendance by giving rewards to people with few sick days; offering flexible working or time off in lieu; supporting positive mental health in the workplace; having a clear absence management policy, so employees know how to report absences and the trigger points for too many days off; and arranging events or activities so employees feel motivated and engaged to come to work.

How long is a long-term sickness absence?

There’s no set time period for what is long-term. But, it is often seen as an absence which lasts for 4 weeks or more. If you have any absences that are likely to last, or have lasted this period of time it would be advisable to arrange a welfare meeting with the employee to discuss their absence, support they are getting from GP or other medical professionals and their opinion on likely return to work timescales.

Following this we may look at any adjustments that can be made to facilitate a return such as shorter days, more gaps between shifts, changes to roles etc for a short period or whether it may be advisable to seek further clarification from a GP or occupational health provider on supporting a return, or managing a safe and fair dismissal for all parties.

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