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Leave entitlementsSeptember 2, 2016
Sick leave, whether taken for legitimate or non-legitimate reasons can cause major headaches for employers. Sick leave days can have a knock on effect on other employees, as tasks fall behind schedule, workloads may increase and stress levels can rise.
A Department of Human Services (DHS) study has shown that over 88 million days are lost due to absenteeism, with sick leave costing employers $33 billion in expenses and lost productivity per year. This means Australian workers take an average of eight to nine sick days each year, the Australian Bureau of Statistics figures show.
This is a staggering amount, and some employers may be wondering how to crack down on employees ‘chucking sickies’ and reduce the amount of sick leave which is taken in their business. Employsure provides guidance below on procedures that can help you manage sick leave in your workplace.
1. Return to work interviews.
Research has shown that return to work interviews are one of the most effective ways of reducing and managing absenteeism. Employees may be deterred from taking a sick day if they are not genuinely sick, if they know they have to face their manager or supervisor upon return to work. Staff may also be required to show a doctor’s certificate and explain the reason for their absence. Return to work interviews after sickness are a great way to assess any patterns or reoccurrence of sickness, and to assess the employee well-being following a genuine illness.
2. Implement sick leave policies and procedures.
All staff are entitled to sick leave, however, employers can implement policies and procedures on how much notice is required to be given if the employee is sick and cannot work their allocated shift. This can also include how notice must be provided, such as via a phone call to the manager or supervisor rather than an email or text message. Specify in your policy that non-genuine absence will not be tolerated and will result in disciplinary action.
3. Monitor sick leave absences.
Each day of sick leave should be recorded in order to document any trends or patterns occurring. A daily register of all employees will allow you to see who is regularly missing from the workplace.
If an employee fails to comply with any of your sick leave policy requirements such as providing a doctors certificate, calling their manager directly or attending the return to work meeting you are within your rights to discipline that employee via oral or written warning.
If you would like to discuss sick leave or would like to implement any of the suggested procedures into your employee handbook, contact Employsure today on 1300 651 415. As Australia’s leading workplace relations specialist, we can support your business by implementing employment policies and procedures to make sure you are getting the most from your staff.