5 Tips To Deal With A Regularly Absent Employee

by Caity Wynn, 3 minutes read
HOME blog 5 tips to deal with a regularly absent employee

While no one wants to have to take sick or carers leave, it’s always good to know it’s there in the unfortunate instance of personal illness or injury, caring responsibilities and family emergencies.

But excessive employee absenteeism not only costs your business money, but valuable productivity and can sometimes negatively impact staff morale. It can be especially problematic if it’s one staff employee who makes it a regular habit.

Here are our top 5 tips for dealing with a regularly absent employee.

Have a clear sick leave policy and communicate it

Making sure you have a clear sick leave policy is vitally important, and you should consider including it as part of your staff on-boarding processes.

Consider including strict guidelines for how staff are to notify management of sick leave. For example, are you ok with employees texting in their absence or would you prefer a phone call? Also ensure you have a policy on taking sick days either side of public holidays too, as these are often popular times for absenteeism. You should also communicate the importance of a doctor’s certificate in explaining sick leave and define a policy which outlines when a doctor’s certificate is needed, for example, after three days of consecutive sick leave.

Speak with your employee in a one on one setting

If you have an employee who has been taking what you perceive as an excessive number of sick days you should schedule a return to work interview.

A return to work interview should be held as soon as possible on your employee’s return and as well as communicating the policy you should also document the meeting. Another purpose of a return to work interview, which you should also take advantage of, is the opportunity to gain insight into why your employee is taking so much time off. Often employees might be suffering with a chronic physical or mental issue, which could shed light on their behaviour, so it’s worth taking the time to check in with them.

Offer perfect attendance bonuses

Instead of a stick approach to staff leave management; why not consider the carrot approach. Popular in many large organisations, employees are often given perfect attendance bonuses as an incentive to reduce sick leave days.

A perfect attendance bonus can be a real motivator to someone who only averages one or two sick days a year. And this approach can make a real impact on changing the company culture around sick leave, which might serve as a positive influence on any staff members who might be abusing the system.

Understand the laws around unfair dismissal

Unfortunately even a frank discussion might not turn things around with your absent employee. But it’s important to know that you can’t terminate an employee because they are sick. Before you terminate someone’s employment you’ll have to refer to your performance management processes and obtain some professional advice so as to ensure you don’t breach unfair dismissal laws.

Monitor staff leave

Time and attendance systems are invaluable for tracking and reporting staff attendance, and staff absenteeism. Using a system like Deputy to monitor and keep track of staff attendance means you can more easily reward staff doing the right thing, or to more quickly manage workplace performance of any team member who is having excessive unscheduled and unauthorised sick leave.

Have you got problems managing staff leave entitlements? Find out how Deputy can make your life easier so you can get you back to loving your business again. Get in touch with our friendly team today on 1300 DEPUTY.