No matter how big or small your organisation, absenteeism can be an issue. It is impossible to eliminate staff absences entirely but every business needs sufficient controls in place in order to minimise disruption and loss of productivity.
As an employer or business manager, the best place to start must be your sickness and absence records. Absences should be logged in a user friendly format. Managers need to be able to identify absence patterns easily so the days and dates and the reason for the absence need to be visually apparent. These records will help management to detect when an individual’s absence has reached a point that now needs to be examined.
Ensure Contracts Have Clear Absence Policies
Employee contracts should contain clear terms and conditions relating to absence. Should an issue be raised regarding an employee’s attendance, an appropriate course of action must be taken. Managers should first consider the facts surrounding the absence and then set up a meeting with the team member in question to discuss their reasons for absence.
Have ‘Back to Work’ Meetings
This meeting should not be treated as a disciplinary meeting. This should be made clear from the outset (and the agenda for the meeting should reflect this). At the meeting explain that the frequency and amount of absence has triggered the company’s procedures regarding absence and you wish to explore the causes. This will give the employee an opportunity to raise any issues or identify any problems at work, which may have caused the frequent absences.
If, however, the explanation for the frequent absence is deemed to be unacceptable, the individual should be informed that the company’s disciplinary procedures regarding absence will be followed. If the business has a HR manager, they should be consulted at this point. If not, the disciplinary procedures outlined in the employee’s contract should be followed and if necessary, an external HR consultant should be engaged in order to bring the matter to a satisfactory conclusion.