Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Absences from work can take a variety of forms. A worker may exercise their legitimate contractual or statutory right to not attend work in the following circumstances: for annual holidays, public holidays, to attend a training course, to take maternity, paternity or adoption leave, to care for dependants,  as a result of a bereavement, to take time off for jury service, to engage in Trade Union activities, or because they are ill. Generally, unless an employee has a contractual right, they do not have a statutory right to time off to attend routine medical or dental appointments.

Employers should always keep information about the number of unplanned absences that their employees take, including the number of days absent for, how many spells of absence there have been, the reasons for any absence, whether the employee can prove the reason for the absence, and the details of the individual employee absent. Employers should be careful to ensure their employees that such information is being collected on the behalf of their employer, otherwise they may fall foul of the Data Protection Act 1998.

If an employee is sick the employer should ways investigate the absence. This allows the employer to confirm that the sickness-related absence is genuine, what the cause of the ill-health is, and to determine whether or not it will be possible for the employee to return to work. Further, it may alert the employer to any claims it is exposed to and allow the managerial team to plan business in the employee’s absence, arranging cover if necessary.

As well as conducting an investigation, the employer should maintain appropriate levels of contact with the employee. Clear written guidelines should be produced so that employees are aware of their responsibilities if they are absent from work because of illness. For example, on the first day the employee must telephone their line manager and speak to them personally to inform them of their illness, unless there are severely mitigating circumstances. The employee should then provide a “fit note” after four days and keep their manager updated as to when they believe they will return at four-day intervals after that. An employer should also consider what steps could be taken to support the employee and to arrange cover for the employee and/or consider what steps should be taken to reintroduce the worker into the workplace. It should be clear to employees what the consequences will be if the rules relating to reporting absences is not followed. If the absence is long-term then employer should consider whether it should take steps to terminate the contract of employment. However, employers should be careful to carry out such an action with care and attention, as if not then a claim for unfair dismissal and/or disability discrimination may not be far in the offing.

It is clearly important that managers and supervisors are trained in handling absences and that they are able to take responsibility for managing absences.

The right to statutory and (if applicable) contractual sick pay should be made clear in any written policy. This should make it clear when the employee’s entitlement commences, how long the entitlement to SSP or contractual sick pay will continue for, and what will happen when the employee’s SSP entitlement ceases. The employer should constantly review the entitlement of all employees to sick pay.

They say that prevention is better than cure and this would certainly seem to apply to sickness absences. Recruitment policies should therefore attempt to ‘weed out’ potential employees that may be susceptible to long-term sickness absences (however, this is again tempered by the requirement not to discriminate against candidates i.e. by asking prohibited s.60 questions on disability). For current employees, policies should be devised so as to encourage attendance. Encouraging team working is a good start, as this may pressure employees into good working practices. In addition to this, a certain degree of flexibility is encouraged, as well as encouraging a focus on outputs and performance targets instead of simply working hours. Further, agreeing with your employees what reasonable absences are (i.e. emergencies and medical appointments) will avoid misunderstandings or abuses of the system later.

As can be seen from the above, employers must have a comprehensive and consistent absence policy to encourage good working practices, allow managers to deal with long-term absences, and avoid potential claims for unfair dismissal or discrimination.

Tagged with →  

Want to talk to an expert employment law solicitor?

You'll receive a callback from a specialist within an hour

Share →

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

 

Our awards

Request a callback

    Your first name (required)

    Your last name (required)

    Your email (required)

    Your telephone number (required)

    Brief details of your enquiry

    Contact us

    Please feel free to discuss your own position and concerns. Contact your nearest office on:

    T: 020 3397 3603
    E: enquiries@redmans.co.uk
    W: www.redmans.co.uk

    Testimonials

    4.76 Average

    235 Reviews

    Paul O

    Chris & Rana guided me through a redundancy discussion. Prompt & patient assistance with the documents & meetings. Clear advice & fast responses regarding negotiations. Would definitely recommend & would use again without hesitation.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Outstanding, efficient service. Thank you so much!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Jaswant S

    Very very happy with the good service I got Thank you so much for your help

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Mel and Chris were fantastic and supportive throughout! 1000% recommend.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Emma D

    Good responsive service

    Posted 1 month ago

    Mike T

    Good efficient service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Brenda G

    Very professional and helpful

    Posted 1 month ago

    Charles A

    Chris Hadrill was recommended to me when I found myself in need of a solicitor at very short notice. He contacted me almost immediately to arrange a call. Chris handled my case in a professional and timely manner and kept me notified throughout. Chris inspired confidence and made me feel I was being cared for. If ever I'm in need of legal representation, I would not hesitate to contact Chris. And will gladly recommend him to family and friends.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rosalind R

    I was very happy with the service that I received from Redmans Solicitors. They were able to advise me accordingly with regards to my employment matter and stay within the agreed costing.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Karl B

    Caroline and Chris were so helpful and friendly. Couldn't of asked for a better service.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Dimitrios P

    Excellent, professional service, in time and within the expected value.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Barbara K

    Everything quickly and fairly. Very professional. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Sabrina J

    I received a efficient professional service during the whole process of liasing between myself and my former employer to getting all forms signed and receiving my redundancy payment in full in the summer of this year.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I received legal advice on a redundancy settlement agreement from Redmans Solicitors and was very impressed by the quality of their service. Chris Hadrill is highly experienced in settlement matters and was especially understanding of the particulars of my case, going out of his way to ensure that it was resolved quickly and with the utmost professionalism. I have no hesitation in recommending Redmans to anyone in need of employment advice and settlement resolution.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    Excellent service, with full explanations of everything needed. Both Chris and Mel answered all emails very promptly and were personable and efficient.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Anonymous

    I would like to thank Chris Hadrill, in particular who handled my case, for all his hard work, expertise and dedication. He listened with empathy and offered suitable advice, which made me feel valued and confident through a difficult time. I would highly recommend Chris and the team at Redmans Solicitors. Thank you.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Yann G

    Yann Guezennec / Chris Hadrill - Thanks for the detailed, informed and professional advice for my settlement. When comprise is the rule I felt we could have been maybe a bit more aggressive from the start. However an acceptable outcome considering the situation. Thank you

    Posted 1 month ago

    Valentina D

    Great service from Mel, she was very good at explaining every part of the settlement agreement and very efficient dealing with the HR team. Very professional team, I would definitely use them again in future if the opportunity came up.

    Posted 1 month ago

    Olaf S

    I was very happy with the service that I have received. Thank You Regards

    Posted 1 month ago

    Rebecca A

    I had a wonderful solicitor called Caroline who was so helpful and gave me all the information I need and explained everything in detail so I was crystal clear. Would highly recommend if you are in need of a solicitor!

    Posted 1 month ago

    Gareth J

    Very efficient, helpful and pragmatic support from Caroline. Happy to work with my requirements / suggestions but also made some very good points which helped to achieve a higher settlement amount. Would highly recommend Caroline and Chris.

    Posted 1 month ago