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March 2020
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National Sickie Day - Is your sickness policy fit for purpose?


By: Claire Moore Date: 3 February 2020
Category: HR
Department: Business Development and Marketing

According to statistics the first Monday in February is the day when employees are most likely to be absent from work, therefore being given the title of national sickie day. There are a number of theories as to why staff are likely to not attend work on this day, from recovering after pay day weekend celebrations, through to attending interviews after a new year career evaluation. Last year a staggering 350,000 (approx.) absences were reported on this day.

A robust sickness absence policy is a critical factor in the successful management of absences in the workplace. Does your current policy/process include the following elements?


Notification

Consider how employees report their absence. Is it ok for employees to simply text or leave a message with reception? Ensuring the notification process involves the employee directly speaking with their line manager not only helps deter employees from pulling a sickie, but also allows the line manager to gain an understanding of the situation, allowing any required support to be provided to the employee. Your policy should provide detail surrounding the required notification process and managers should follow up with employees who fail to follow the correct process.

Return to work interviews

Does your sickness absence policy include return to work interviews? Conducting interviews can help to reduce unacceptable short-term absence and by asking employees to explain their absence face-to-face, they also deter dishonesty. These interviews send a clear message that absence is actively managed at your workplace. The manager should take a supportive stance and allow the employee to ask for any support they may require which could reduce future absences.

Trigger points

By implementing trigger points, you set a clear standard of what is deemed to be an unacceptable level of absence. Having trigger points written into your policy, along with the steps that will be taken when they are exceeded, allows transparency and enables you deal with high absences in a fair and consistent manner. You must remember to ensure you discount any pregnancy or disability related absences from these trigger points, and detail this within the policy, to avoid discriminating against any of your employees for these reasons.

If you require support in creating or updating a sickness absence policy, please contact our HR consultancy team.
 
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