“We will guarantee to reduce your absence rates”
The costs associated with high levels of employee absence are significant. Equally, managers are quite often unaware how to tackle employee sickness management or even if the law permits this to occur.
Employee Sickness Management for Your Business
If you consider that you have a sickness absence problem within your Company then we will guarantee to improve this.
Does your business collect data on individual absence?
If not, this is the first stage. Employee sickness management requires a process for gathering, collating and analysing data on individual absence levels. Clients of EBS Law can request our template that will assist with this part of the exercise.
We also suggest that employees self-certify all occasions of sickness absence. Knowledge of the reasons behind an employee’s sickness absence cannot be underestimated. Whilst employees are only required to submit a medical certificate on the 8th day of sickness absence there is no reason to prevent employers requesting that employees self-certify sickness of 7-days or less. Clients of EBS Law can again request a self-certification sick form from us (that complies with the requirements of the DPA, see below).
Employers must be careful not to breach the Data Protection Act 1998 (DPA) when they collect, use and store information about their employees’ absence. Details of an employee’s health, either physical or mental, are categorised as ‘sensitive personal data’ under the DPA. The DPA also requires openness. Staff should know what information about their health is being collected and why.
Analysing data on individual absence levels
There are various different measures available for employee sickness management. It is suggested that one person has responsibility for this. However, in larger companies it may be necessary to share the responsibility for this.
Is there a problem, if so what is it?
Are absence levels high due to long-term absence? In such cases legal advice should be obtained from EBS Law how to approach these individual cases, which will include trying to obtain a report on the employee’s current state of health and prognosis for the future.
Are absence levels high due to recurrent short-term absence? If so, is this a few individuals or a widespread problem across the business? If just a few individuals a programme should be introduced to combat this, including using data analysis, setting individual improvement targets, warnings and obtaining a medical report. If the problem is widespread a more formal approach should be considered, such as introducing an employee sickness management procedure. This would include setting trigger points across the business, once triggered action is taken by management.
Employers need to balance the effective management of a sickness absence policy with avoiding disability discrimination.
For further information please contact our legal team on 01625 87 5587