Absence Management
Specialist assessments for
long term sickness and absence
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Absence management is a big issue for organisations, now more than ever since the coronavirus pandemic. According to the latest Health and Well-Being at Work report, the average rate of employee absence is 5.8 days per employee or 2.6% of working time lost. Some absences will always be inevitable. However, there are ways that you can best manage short-term absences, motivation, good health, and job satisfaction are essential.

Effective absence management is about supporting employees with their issues to stay in or return to work. Developing suitable return-to-work programmes and offering flexible working where possible can form parts of a good attendance management strategy.

Even though most absences are genuine, employer’s should also be able to take consistent and firm action in the small number of cases where employees could try and take advantage of their organisation, such as an occupational sick pay scheme.

Types of absence

There are a variety of reasons why people might take time off work:

  • Short- or long-term sickness
  • Other approved absences such as annual leave, maternity, paternity, adoption, or parental leave; time off for public or trade union duties, or to care for dependents; compassionate leave; educational leave
  • Unauthorised absence or consistent lateness

In a recent Health and wellbeing at work survey, the main reasons for short-term sickness absence were discovered to be:

  • Minor illness (including colds/flu, upset stomach, headaches, and migraines)
  • Musculoskeletal injuries, including back pain
  • COVID-19 (includes confirmed cases, self-isolation, quarantine, and shielding)
  • Stress
  • Mental health illnesses such as depression and anxiety

The UK legal position on absence

When used correctly, the Acas Code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, combined with the employer’s own procedures, provide the main tools for dealing with unacceptable absence.

Disability discrimination

Employers might need to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to support workers who have a disability or health condition, as detailed in the disability discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010. Employers should be aware that physical and mental health conditions could be covered under this legislation.

The impact on your business

Effects on businesses of employees being absent include:

  • Reduced overall productivity
  • Increased work and stress for colleagues
  • Possible loss of reputation among key stakeholders
  • Unnecessary and costly recruitment
  • Greater risk of claims and the cost of litigation

Preventing high absenteeism within your organisation brings high morale, a happy and healthy workforce and positive commercial benefit.

We support you to proactively assess and effectively manage absences caused through sickness or injury – as well as working with you to prevent them in the future.

How Can My Occ Health Help?

Managing absences in your business can become difficult and stressful if there aren’t the right procedures in place. We can help you implement an effective programme to manage absences as best as possible to ultimately help reduce absence and ensure that any absences that do occur are suitably handled, so that there is minimal disruption to the company and the employee can return to work comfortably.

Dependent on the needs of your company, the programme may include:

  • measuring and monitoring the reason for the absence – types, frequency and trends
  • working with line managers to help them manage staff on long term sickness leave
  • arranging specialist absence management medical assessments 
  • setting up health promotion and wellbeing activities to improve the health and motivation of employees – and to help prevent sickness in the first place

We offer medical assessments for long term sickness, ill-health retirement, rehabilitation or redeployment.

These medicals are carried out by our highly qualified and experienced team of occupational health advisors/nurses, screening technicians and physicians.

To find out how we can help your business to manage absence, enquire below.