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National Sickie Day

4th February, 2014

Over recent years, the first Monday in February has been known to have the highest number of employees calling in sick for work and as such has been labelled ‘national sickie day’. Have you been affected this year and what can you do about it?

As an employer, you will understand the importance of having a strong, reliable workforce, to boost productivity and seize business opportunities. However, in the cold winter months when the excitement of the Christmas period has passed, employees may be more enticed than ever to ‘pull a sickie’.

It is always important to manage absenteeism in the workplace and research has shown that managers are in fact addressing such problems more effectively, reducing the average number of days each employee is absent. The number of employees taking that odd day off for a ‘duvet day’ is on the rise but this can also be addressed.

The most important point is to have robust policies in place to manage absenteeism, including both sickness and unauthorised absence. You should provide training to your employees to ensure they are aware of the policies and the implications for breaching the policies.

Policies should also detail the organisation’s sickness absence notification procedure. If it is the case that you do not accept notification by text, email and/or third parties, your policy should confirm this.

If you suspect that one of your employees is pulling a sickie today, it may be tempting to check the employee’s social media sites to find out whether their absence is genuine. By monitoring employees’ social media profiles for status updates and activities, you may find quick evidence if they are in fact having a duvet day. However, if you intend to do this, you must ensure that you have reserved the right to monitor your employees’ social media usage outside of work and have demonstrated good grounds to justify such a level of monitoring. Failure to do so could lead to a breach of the implied term of trust and confidence and for employers performing public functions, potential breaches of the Human Rights Act 1998. You may wish to consider less obtrusive methods to gain the required information and you should balance the monitoring needs of the business against the employee’s right to privacy.

Training should also be provided to your managers and supervisors to ensure they are applying your organisation’s policies and procedures correctly and to highlight the best practice they should follow. Aaron & Partners expert employment team can provide in-house training for your managers, tailored to your specific business needs.

For a free review of your existing absence management policies, or advice on implementing a new one, please contact [email protected].

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