Absence management: are you prepared for flu season?

As the winter mornings set in, noses start to run and the allure of the duvet is just too much for some employees to resist, companies need to make sure that their absence management policy is ready to prepare with the flu season.

Although there’s far more reasons for staff absences than just the common cold, many employers are failing to communicate their company absence procedure in readiness for cold weather ailments or effectively prepare for long-term staff sickness.

To ensure that your business keeps the wheels turning this winter, take a moment to review the following policies and procedures.

It is up to the employer to regularly review their staff contracts and employee handbooks to give clear guidelines on how their staff should report absence and their responsibilities. This should include:

– Who, how and when to report their absence – telling a colleague via text message is unacceptable and all absences should be reported to their direct line manager by phone before the start of the working day.

– If the absence is for less than seven days, the employer can ask the employee to fill out a self-certification form detailing the reason for the absence.

– If the absence extends to more than seven days, then a fitness to work statement must be obtained from the employee’s medical practitioner.

– Should the absence be long term or concerns of the employee’s health arise and you wish them to undertake a medical examination, then this must be included in their contracts of employment, absence policy and employee handbook.

– Contracts and employee handbooks must clearly explain the remuneration policy for all sick days and that they must comply with the policy in order to receive payment.

– It is also advisable to make employees aware that should they fail to comply with your absence procedure then this may give rise to disciplinary action.

Other provisions
In the event of long-term sickness, absence management procedures should include details of provisions that could be made should key members of staff be unfit for work for extended periods of time.

This could include the sharing out of key tasks to other employees in the short term, or the engagement of temporary staff to help cover the absence.

For more advice and guidance on engaging temporary staff as part of an absence management procedure, call our team of experienced recruitment specialists today on 01782 338787