In Employment

What to do when an employee has frequent absence from work?

Here are some key points to consider when deciding how to manage frequent absence from work:

  • Is there a pattern to the absence – a particular day, time of the year/month, or cluster around weekends?
  • Is there an underlying health issue leading to the frequent absence. If so, does the health issue constitute a disability under the Equality Act?
  • Have you met with the employee to explore the level of absence and any reasons for the high absence level, and whether home- or work-related issues are involved?
  • If there are no underlying medical issues and you remain concerned about absence levels then discuss with the employee and set your attendance expectations to be met over a specified period.
  • If medical issues are involved consult with the employee’s GP or their medical practitioner and/or an occupational health service to obtain medical advice on which to determine your next steps.
  • Consider reasonable adjustments for the employee, if appropriate and advised, e.g. adaptations to the workplace, job modifications or light duties.
  • You should consider developing a formal procedure to manage absence, to include the process to follow before dismissal – the very last resort.

Please contact me if you would like further information on how to manage frequent employee absence.


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