8 tips for managing sickness absence

Have a clear policy

Your organisation must have a policy which covers sickness absence. This policy has to be included in your employee handbook and/or contract of employment. All employees must be made aware and understand this policy which must also contain your incapacity procedure, details on sick pay and the required standards of attendance.

Record the absence correctly

The people that receive calls from individuals reporting their absence must be senior within the organisation.  They must be sufficiently briefed on the information they have to obtain during the call. For example, the reason for the absence and estimated return date. This information should be stored securely and made available to relevant parties. Such as other managers who may proactively call the absent employee.

Obtain proof where possible

The people receiving calls from absent employees must explain what evidence of incapacity is required and when. For example, if the employee will self-certify for the first seven days of absence, state at what point is

a medical certificate (fit note) required. This is important information for the person responsible for payroll.

Maintain contact

Maintain regular contact with the employee. The frequency is according to what is appropriate to your business and the position the employee holds within the company. The employee should be reminded of their obligations, contained within your incapacity procedure. It may be necessarily to hold a meeting at your place of work, or at the employees’ home to discuss long term absence.

Know employees’ rights

Ensure the individuals handling calls from absent employees are familiar with the employee’s statutory rights and any additional rights contained within the contract of employment. For example, how do employees qualify for SSP and what is the entitlement? This can be articulated to the employee, to ensure they are aware of any action they are required to take, information they may need to obtain and how their absence will affect their pay.

Keep a detailed record

Keep a record, use a human resources software system such as Evalu-8 to record the conversations and store documents such as fit notes securely. Ensure the information held is comprehensive, accurate and can only be accessed by those that need to see it, in accordance with GDPR regulations. Record whether the absence is connected to a known condition.  Esure the information recorded is factual and objective. State what, if any, adjustments have been made or need to be made to accommodate a return to work.

Conduct a return to work interview

Return to work interviews should be conducted when the employee returns from their period of absence. This is an opportunity to establish whether any further action or adjustments are required and to record the facts around the absence. Such as whether medical professionals were consulted? Whether a certificate been issued? Is the employee taking any medication that may impact their ability to perform their role safely.

Monitor continuously

Monitor absence regularly against what is an acceptable level for your business. Use a system such as the Bradford Factor.  This will objectively identify whether formal proceedings must commence if the employee reaches an unacceptable level of absence within a 12-month period.


Let Evalu-8 take the strain out of managing your employee’s absence, request a demonstration today and see how the software can do the hard work for you.

Evalu-8 Team

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