UK Payroll Services
An Employer's Guide to Workplace Conduct and Discipline
Workplace Guide Contents > Absenteeism
Persistent absenteeism and lateness is a common problem. The latter is more readily resolved -- tardiness is easily recorded and demonstrated, casual absenteeism, ' sickies ' and ‘duvet days ', less so.
Everyone in the workplace knows who the skivers are (“He’s got a back problem – he can’t get it off the bed”. Ho-ho.) A failure to address the problem can be an irritation to your other staff so be sure to do so.
There are some strategies that can be successfully adopted.
- Always enquire closely (and publicly) after their health and wellbeing following each absence.
- Apologise to their colleagues for the inconvenience caused by his or her absence.
- Send someone along to the home to check that they are well.
- Discuss their health issues at annual review.
Have a sensible sick pay policy. Paying no sick pay for the first three or five days of any period of absence works wonders in addition to having an affordable annual sick pay limit. (The absurdity sometimes found in the public and quasi-public sectors of being permitted a set number of sick days simply transmutes into a perceived entitlement to additional paid holiday.)
But note again that a well-managed workplace is far less likely to suffer such problems. In many workplaces absenteeism is all but unknown except for genuine illness. And that is because the employer has taken care to ensure that as far as possible his employees are made to feel welcome, that their efforts are appreciated, their problems solved and they are treated fairly.
There is much more to going to work than the work, and paying attention to the informal organisation, the cohesiveness of individuals is vital. Creating an environment in which people want to come to work and do their best is your best defence against disciplinary problems arising.
While we hope the above has been found to be useful it is intended only as a general guide, may not reflect the very latest developments in law, and cannot be a substitute for professional advice. We cannot accept any responsibility for loss occasioned to any person acting or refraining from acting as a result of material contained in this guide.
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