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How do we deal with a fairweather friend?

DURING the summer period one of my employees regularly rings in sick - usually on sunny days. What can I do? WHEN the sun shines (if we're lucky!) some employees may be conspicuous in their absence and will have decided to just stay at home.

For employers and other colleagues this is frustrating and unfair.

Most robust sickness policies require employees to personally report any ill-health to their manager as soon as they are able.

It is usual to self-certify for absence of seven days or less.

An absence may coincide with the weather report - but do not jump to conclusions.

Always ask why the absence has happened and after a number of absences it may be appropriate to question why the absences are still occurring.

If sickness is not genuine - absences can properly be dealt with as misconduct (and in serious cases can amount to gross misconduct).

If you are unsure that someone is genuinely unfit for work or not this must be investigated by way of a medical examination or permission to access medical records.

No action should be taken without medical evidence and then discussing this with the individual.

If they refuse access to medical records a decision may have to be made without them - this may provoke co-operation.

Sometimes if absences are not genuine mention of dealing with the process as a disciplinary issue may be sufficient to resolve matters.

It may also help to explain the effect of the pattern of absences on colleagues and the effectiveness of the business.

It's easy to jump to conclusions - investigate, act consistently and, however annoying and frustrating it may be, it's unwise to act without medical evidence.
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Publication:Birmingham Mail (England)
Date:May 2, 2014
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