Now the party’s over
The party season is over and hopefully hangovers banished – and perhaps you and/or some of your employees are joining in Cancer Research UK’s Dryathlon this month. However for some returning to work, the invariable anti-climax of hitting the new year, worry about overspending and general overindulgence together with cold, dark days all conspire to make snuggling back under the duvet all the more alluring.
Absence from work usually costs employers money – whether in enhanced sick pay or in overtime paid to employees who have to cover the work of their absent colleagues. If not properly managed, absence either by less hardworking colleagues or by those struggling to cope with personal responsibilities, can undermine the goodwill of loyal employees. It’s therefore important that all employers have an effective absence management strategy.
Clear rules need to be set regarding the notification of all periods of absence, which should include that disciplinary action will be taken against employees who take time off work without an acceptable reason or without providing proper notification. You also need to ensure that you consistently and accurately record all absence.
As part of your absence management policy, it’s good practice to conduct return-to-work interviews -and carry these out promptly. Doing this is one of the most effective ways of ensuring employee attendance. As well as being highly effective in discouraging malingerers and banishing supposed one-day ‘flu, the interviews can also reveal genuine underlying health conditions or family or work-related problems behind absences. The opportunity to discuss these underlying issues may allow you to explore solutions to prevent further absence – for example, by changing the employee’s shift patterns or working hours.
No matter how big or small a business is, an ongoing relationship of trust between employers and their employees encourages good attendance levels better than any absence policy. That’s why it’s so important to follow a robust, yet fair and consistent, approach in tackling absence.
Su Allen HR helps employers by providing a range of HR support that includes advice on how to handle ‘live’ absence issues or writing an attendance management policy, which ensure fairness and consistency in all aspects of managing employees. Contact us on 01582 883299 if you’d like to hear more.
Helen Skepper – Research and Communications Advisor
Su Allen HR