Sickness, Absence and the Workplace

17th March 2017

Entering Spring, we are now at the time of year when we are less likely to catch the more common winter illnesses. With brighter skies and everyone hopefully feeling collectively healthier, are you aware that on average workers will take 4.3 sick days this year? Whilst all business should expect this reasonable amount of sick time, what should you do when faced with longer, prolonged employee absences?

Employee Sickness Entitlement

Getting back to basics, every employee is potentially eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) which kicks in on day four of an absence. You are legally required to pay SSP, which is capped at £88.45 per week for up to 28 weeks. Right now, businesses need to be aware that this cap is increasing to £89.35 a week from the 6th April 2017

Any additional payments will come from your Company Sick Pay (CSP) policy. This is included in the contract of employment you have with an employee. A non-legal requirement, if you do not have CSP policy, you should be aware that it provides several benefits, including:

  • Making employees feel more secure in case of unexpected events such as a serious injury.
  • For employers, a generous and well-communicated, company sick pay will give you the pick of employees at recruitment, this can also help you to retain happy, committed workers.

Returning to Work?

When an employee returns to work, we advise an immediate Return to Work interview. This has many proven benefits.  Firstly, it acts as an effective deterrent for future absences whilst also showing that you care about your employee’s welfare. By actively managing absences in this way, you will also have an opportunity to consult with our HR experts to discuss ways of moving forward.

Handling Absence

It is important for all employers to show a degree of empathy with absent employees. When long-term sickness occurs, do not dismiss an employee outright without consideration. Speak to us on our dedicated advice line. We will guide you through a process which may include seeking specialist medical advice or looking at reasonable adjustments and alternative roles for those with ongoing illnesses.

Mandy Fitzmaurice, Purple HR Managing Director comments:

“If one or more of your employees is off sick for longer than 4 days, we are available to discuss and manage SSP qualification. The last thing you will want is to end up on the wrong side of the law when faced with employee absences. We can also help you to develop a company sick pay policy and offer best practice advice on managing employees who are absent for a prolonged period.’’

We know that positively promoting employee attendance is fundamental to the future success of any organisation. Every employer will come across sickness absence and by managing it appropriately you will continue to succeed.

If you are unsure of what to do, please give Purple HR a call and we can guide you through what needs to be done for your workforce.

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