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Serial sickies. How to manage employees that enjoy a three-day weekend.

Serial sickies. How to manage employees that enjoy a three-day weekend.

Ill health among employees is never pleasant, however there are options available to employers if they feel an employee may be chucking too many sickies. Not only is it important to manage sick leave of employees to manage the amount of staff in the workplace to meet demand, but an employee taking multiple sick days per month can indicate a bigger issue for this particular employee.

Too many sick days among employees is hard to manage, but the hardest part is recognising that there is in fact a problem to address. For example, an employee may have had six days off sick in one month but spread over the month this may not seem out of the ordinary, which is where an employer would rely on keeping a record of sick leave taken.

Recording leave taken, regardless of the type of leave, is a simple way employers can be sure employees are productive, through relaxation on annual leave, and healthy, by recording and utilising sick leave. Furthermore, employers can ensure they are keeping track of all remaining employee leave entitlements by keeping a record of all leave taken, by all employees.

While it can appear to be an added burden the concern around employees taking sick leave is valid. In 2016, the absenteeism average across Australia increased to 9.5 days per employee per year costing an average of $3,608 to the employer. Managing sick leave can be difficult for employers, but the figures around the cost proves it is important to ensure any sick leave is used appropriately.

What can employers do?

There are some steps employers can take to minimise sick leave, and the more formal the process the less likely employees are to misuse it. For example, requiring a doctor’s certificate after two days and only asking employees to send a text or email to their manager is not going to be as effective as requiring a certificate after one day and needing the employee to verbally confirm with their manager that they will not be in the office.

Employsure clients are provided with documents which, if used correctly, can limit the damaging cost of sick leave to employers. The Sickness certification form, provided by Employsure, should be completed by employees upon their return from sick leave. This form asks employees whether they consulted a doctor, details of their illness, and why they chose to not visit a doctor if this is the case.

The Sickness certification form is an example of the type of formal steps needed to ensure employees use leave entitlements appropriately. One of the most effective steps is requiring employees to verbally contact their employer, or manager, which is why all employers are advised to utilise at least this method.

The cost of leave is more than the daily bill of paid leave. The cost also includes the loss in productivity as well as the cost of an employer finding a replacement staff member for the day, or the period of leave. With the potential for such significant costs, it is plain to see how important it is for employers to review which types of leave employees are using, and how often.

For help with managing sick leave, or any other type of leave, contact Employsure on 1300 651 415.

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