Q: I have an employee who is frequently absent for a couple of days each month and I am not sure what to do? 
All absences can have a detrimental impact on businesses and colleagues. Therefore, active absence management is crucial. Employers should ensure that they have a clear Sickness Absence Policy which details how absence would be managed.  

Here are ten top tips on managing absences 

1. Communication 

All employees must be asked to report sickness absence by telephoning to their direct line manager. Do not allow absences to be reported via text messages. Good practice is to ensure return to work interviews are carried out for absences of half day or more. 

2. Keep records 

Collate all absence data for the previous 12 months ensuring that anything that could be construed as discrimination is disregarded. 

3. Be factual 

Ascertain if there is a pattern in the absence, example Mondays and Fridays, towards the end of the month, after payday 

4. Check reasons 

Look at the reason for absences. Each recorded absence should have a reason, check for patterns or recurring issues. 

5. Open dialogue 

Invite the employee to a meeting to discuss the absences. Use the information you have gathered as points of discussion. Do not use your own personal view for the situation. 

6. Allow for explanation 

Ask the employee if there are any other reasons for the absences. It is possible reasons given at time of sickness were hiding a different underlying problem, allow the employee opportunity to ask for help.  

7. Offer support 

If your Sickness Absence Policy mentions referral to Occupational Health then take this action. The role of Occupational Health is to provide the employee with advice on their absences and help the employer manage the absence. Employees have a right to see the Occupational Health report before it is sent to the employer. 

8. Follow up 

When you have received an Occupational Health report, invite the employee to discuss the report. 

9. Agree a way forward 

Agree any reasonable adjustments that might be required. 

10. Set expectations 

Let the employee know that you expect to see an improvement in their absence and set a reasonable period to monitor this. 
If your business needs help with putting correct processes in place to manage your employees or if you have a specific HR problem that you need assistance with then contact HR Results today. Taking HR from 'TO DO' to 'DONE'. 
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