Managing Long Term Absence

Many small business owners feel they have no options when employees are on long term sick

This simply isn’t true but long term absence is certainly an area that business owners that we support feel nervous about tackling so here are our top tips

  • Have a clear policy

A comprehensive absence policy will set out the steps that the Company may take for a variety of absences including long term absence due to sickness. This will include provisions such as the trigger points where medical information may be requested by ways of GP reports or referral to Occupational Health.

  • Track absence effectively

Making sure that all absence is correctly recorded will help identify much earlier where there may be possible medical issued with ongoing or underlying medical problems. We often see that triggers are missed as absence records have been sketchy. Use of HR software such as HR Toolkit helps this function to be done with ease.

  • Refer for medical advice

If a period of absence has exceeded 4 weeks with no real indication of a return to work then it may be the time to consider whether referring for medical advice and guidance is appropriate. This may be through a GPs report where you may write to the employees GP for guidance or a referral to Occupational Health. Get guidance from a HR professional on the best option based on each individual case, the purpose of any referral is to ascertain how a return to work can be facilitated and how you can best support your employee.

  • Make the tough call

Smaller businesses do find it much harder to leave roles open indefinitely in long term cases and whilst I am not advocating prematurely exiting employees from the business due to prolonged absence this may be a decision that needs to be made. Always get guidance before making this decision to ensure you have exhausted all options and that any dismissal is handled fairly.

Much as absence can be a difficult situation to handle, these tips will help you make the process as positive as possible to help you achieve the outcome of supporting and getting valued employees back in the workplace.

We offer a complimentary consultation to any business that may be experiencing these issues and may want some guidance and so please call 0844 8797286 for help and advice.




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Northern Accountants

Sarah and the team at Quest have provided us HR support since January 2013.

Quest Consulting Services provided us with a comprehensive employment structure with contacts and a handbook and have been on hand to help me deal with the occasional issue I have faced with team members through their telephone support service.

As our personal Consultant, Sarah provides a quality, professional and complete service which is great value for money.

Northern Accountants

Off Limits Corporate Events

Sarah has transformed our HR and has introduced systems that have taken lots of hassle away from staffing issues within our company.

We have worked with Sarah and her team for 5 years and in this time our business has grown considerably. With telephone support available for all our Managers as they need it plus Sarah and her team proactively keeping us updated on changes in legislation we are reassured that we are in safe hands.

The HR software that Quest implemented also helps us keep on top of the routine aspects of HR such as holiday bookings, recording absence, holding personnel records which then allows Sarah and her team easy access to give us relevant advice.

Our Managers have also benefited from workshops run by Sarah to help develop their skills on handling issues such as disciplinary, appraisals, recruitment etc….

The support of Quest is invaluable and provides a much more cost effective solution than employing a HR Manager in house.

Off Limits Corporate Events

10 Associates

Why would anybody NOT have Sarah working 'alongside' their business?

I've known Sarah for many years and she's always been there for me and the business when her wealth of knowledge has been called upon.

We have used Sarah and her team to handle our contracts, handbook and Health & Safety and they are readily available on the telephone when needed or on site at our premises.

Highly recommended.

10 Associates

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