Handling Sickness Absence
Here is some guidance as to how to employee sickness absence:
- Check (and comply with) any relevant sickness or absence procedures and employment contract provisions.
- Keep confidential records or medical certificates, correspondence, telephone calls and meetings.
- Investigate nature, extent and likely duration of illness. Ask the employee for information and obtain medical report if appropriate. (If absence is stress-related, refer the employee to any stress policy or counselling services on offer).
- Keep in contact with the employee, especially in relation to medical evidence received, prior to making adjustments, identifying an alternative position or taking decision to dismiss.
- Is the employee disabled for the purposes of the Equality Act 2010? NB medical evidence required.
- Can adjustments be made, eg to duties/hours, that would facilitate a return to work?
- Are such adjustments reasonable in the circumstances?
Reviewing the alternatives to dismissal
- Consider surrounding circumstances, length of service and other similar situations.
- Consider the importance of the employee and/or the post s/he holds; what is the impact of her/his continued absence on the firm? What is the difficulty and cost of dealing with her/his continued absence?
- Is there alternative employment for the employee?
- Can the firm make a claim under its PHI policy?
- Review medical evidence; ensure it is up-to-date.
- Identify the potentially fair reason for dismissal: capability/conduct/some other substantial reason?
- Invite the employee to a meeting. Set out reasons.
- Hold a meeting at which the employee has right to be accompanied.
- Give a decision in writing with the right of appeal.