Do you have an employee who seems to be taking more days off than average? Or are some out of the workplace more frequently during holiday time? If you can relate to this, your workers may be taking advantage of ’sick leave’ in your company, something that has been increasing more in companies. Employees are entitled to take time off when they are too sick to work, but action needs to be taken sooner rather than later when a pattern begins to emerge. Here are some tips on how to deal with employees who like to play the sick card a little too often.
Create a Policy for Sick Leave
Hold a meeting with all employees and inform any new recruits that the policy for sick leave is taken seriously in the workplace. If employees are off on a Friday and Monday then they must produce a medical letter and this is the same for taking “sick days” straight before or after annual leave. Let them know that the consequence for breaching this policy is that potential sick days will be treated as unpaid leave. Employees will be less likely to take time off when there is the chance that they won’t get paid because of it.
Ask for their Workplace Abilities
Employers have the right to details on each employee’s abilities and limitations before granting them any time off due to an illness or disability. Employers can ask for this information during the hiring process so they can modify work or office set-up for potential workers with an illness or a disability. Employees are less likely to take time off if you have tailored the workplace to their needs and will feel more valued within the company, increasing their work motivation. When hiring new recruits, make sure to find out their medical requirements as well as their work experience.
Double check for Clarification
Some employees may exaggerate their condition to get more days off. If you feel an employee might be doing this, obtain a list of the restrictions they claim to have and write to their doctor for clarification. If the doctor confirms the employee to be medically sound and able to perform the tasks in question, inform the staff member that they must complete these from now on. Hold a meeting to give the worker a warning and enforce that any days off they have will be closely monitored.
Make any Necessary Changes
If an employee continually takes the same day off every week, say a Friday, call a private meeting to establish if there is any reason in particular for the absences. If the employee is honest and explains that it’s because of a personal problem, for example a hospital appointment, try and work around this. Make arrangements to help your employee take the necessary time off while still getting work done. Options include altering the employee's working hours slightly or offering a day to work from home if company policy allows.
Dealing with the abuse of sick leave can be tricky to sort out but is important to tackle the issue, as it will disrupt your business in the long run. Assess employees absences on a regular basis to try and combat issues before they get out of hand.
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