HR Nugget – Dealing with Sickness Absence

Every month we will send you a useful nugget of information that takes only two – three minutes to read. We hope you enjoy our HR Nuggets and find them useful.

 Dealing with Sickness Absence

Sick leave costs Irish employees hundreds of thousands of euro each year.  The cost is not only financial costs, but also the disruption to the business and the amount of management time consumed on managing sick leave is significant.

In this month’s Nugget Right Hand HR give you a number of top tips for dealing with sickness absence.  These include:

  • Have a written sickness policy – Documentation is very important and is the first thing an employer should refer to as this ensures all employees are dealt with in a fair and systematic manner.  If you do not have a policy right Hand HR can support you with this.
  • Keep in touch with employee during sick leave – The employer still has obligations to employee while on sick leave.
  •  Obtain regular updates on the employee’s medical condition.
  • Keep records – this is crucial.  Make a note of when you contacted the employee and what the employee told you.
  • Conduct return to work interviews – these can be informal but ensure in all cases that the policy is applied consistently to all employees.  This does not mean that common sense cannot be applied.
  • Don’t terminate unless you have engaged.

Make sure you have the facts
Make sure the employee is aware that you are considering termination
Give the employee a chance to respond to any decision the company may be taking.

There is lots of evidence of case law where employees have successful won cases they have taken against their employer.  The key for the employer is that the Sick Leave Policy is applied consistently and that the employees are aware of the policy.   Employees can take a case under many of the Acts such as the Disability Act.

If you want more information please contact Mary.