If you notice one of your employees is absent from work too often, it is best to act immediately. Sometimes the reason is sickness but there may be other underlying causes, such as bullying or discrimination. This is a time for clear communication before absenteeism costs you money.
When you keep good personal leave records, it is easier to spot patterns of absence. For example, absences may be always on the same day, or random throughout the month. If a regular pattern is developing, you need to follow clear procedures for absence, pay while absent, and taking informal and formal action.
Set up an informal welfare meeting to discuss your employee’s health and their recent absences. This is not a disciplinary meeting, but they can have a support person with them. You need to explore the frequency and number of absences with them, looking for any possible causes and what can be done to prevent further absences.
Make sure the employee has a chance to tell their story. If their explanation is insufficient, you have to tell them there will be a disciplinary meeting at a later time and date.
A disciplinary meeting is not so straightforward as an informal meeting. It must be conducted as per their contract and employee handbook. If you are still dissatisfied with their explanation, you need to give a warning about ending their employment.
If you are satisfied, and the employee is experiencing illness, you can discuss possible adjustments to help them do their job. This may be to the job itself, the location, or the method of working. Making adjustments will help protect you from discrimination claims.
There are strategies you can use to reduce absenteeism in your business. For example, you can promote flexible work arrangements, to recognise an employee’s personal life and obligations outside of work.
Sometimes a person is in the wrong job. They may need a less repetitive job or have wider job responsibilities. There could be opportunities for promotion to recognise and reward their contribution.
It is important to notice absenteeism early, so give training to managers or supervisors and other employees to recognise when it’s happening.
Employsure can help you with other strategies to minimise absenteeism in your business. For peace of mind, please call our 24 hour Advice Line now on 1300 651 415.