Putting Together a Short-Term Sickness Absenteeism Policy

May 29, 201711:33 am1302 views

Is your employee calling in sick again? From time to time, employees are going to take time off due to short-time health concerns. At some point, it is true that ailments are something that no employer can predict. Your employee might look just fine today, and suddenly moaning about being sick the next. Nevertheless, it is crucial to note that having no policies regards short-term sickness absenteeism in place can put your organisation in a thorny situation.

The enormous costs of persistent illness-related absenteeism continues to be one major concern for employers across the globe. Most managers are even aware of how much frequent absenteeism from work affects business’ productivity.

Kronos Global Absence Survey Report reveals that while direct cost of absence is recorded and reported in an annual survey, the indirect costs involved such as paying overtime and temporary staff is rarely counted into account. As a matter of fact, the cost of sickness absenteeism can cost organisations lost revenue and reduced profitability.

But if the employee is really sick, what can employers do?

The truth is, surprisingly, not all employees who are calling in sick are actually sick. Based on Kronos study, a significant number of employees around the world admit that, they take medical leave when they are not ill at all. As much as 71 percent employees in China state, they ‘fake’ sickness to get a day off, followed by employees in India with 62 percent. Meanwhile, France has the smallest number with only 16 percent, and Mexico with 38 percent.

While there are various reasons why employees lie about their sickness, the overwhelming response in every region is that employees feel stressed with heavy workload. Not having enough paid leaves, some people perceive calling as being sick, is an effective alternative to get a day off.

Most sickness absenteeism lasts only a day or two. In some cases, it can be extended to a week or two. While this might not seem like much days to lose, what should employers do to regulate short-term sickness absenteeism policy such that no employee can takes undue advantage of it to make empty excuses. Below are 5 steps you can take to manage short-term indefinite employee absenteeism:

See: Absenteeism Management: The Missing Links for HRs to Fix

  1.       Formulate a well-thought policy

Putting together a short-term sickness absenteeism policy could be a daunting task for many managers. The key to create an effective policy is to pay attention to minutest details and put everything into account.

To formulate a practical policy, you need to regulate every procedure, from sickness absence notification, short-time sickness definition, evidence requirements, to sick pay entitlements.

  1.       Socialise the policy

When the policy is all set, make sure to socialise it to all your employees. Clarify the purpose of why the policy is created and how it will help maintain workplace efficiency and productivity. Provide understanding to the workforce about the need to balance between absenteeism owing to ill health and time-off for a holiday.

Managers should allocate some time to explain the procedure. If misconduct such as falsifying sickness report or claims is found, then the employer can take disciplinary against such employees.

  1.       Identify the cause of absence

If you notice that an employee takes short, but persistent and continuous leaves within a particular period, you should be cautious. Take time to investigate and identify the nature and duration of illnesses. Make sure that their stated reasons are real and not made-up. When needed, you can ask for fitness certificate or a sick note from the doctor, they seek appointments with.

  1.       Observe the pattern

Are there any suspicious patterns of absence committed by a particular employee? For example, employee X has been taking frequent absences on Friday for the past few weeks. Managers should observe this pattern to see if there is something wrong with the employee, and take immediate action to address the issue accordingly.

  1.       Create medical reports

Employers should maintain confidential records related to employees’ health and wellbeing in their system, such as medical certificates and other documents related to sickness absence. Make sure those files and documents are accurate and legible records. This strategy will help employers to formulate future health initiatives and employee benefit plans, in order to help promote employee wellbeing and reduce overall absenteeism levels.

Read also: Most Line Managers are Underprepared to Manage Absenteeism at Work

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