19 December 2023

A 'cure' for sickness absence

Katie Davies Partner & Head of Education
Woman sneezing into tissue

The scenario

Mrs Absent, a teaching assistant:

  • Has been absent for 20 days in the last six months

  • Has been absent for a variety of unconnected reasons

  • Does not follow notification procedures

  • Tends to be 'ill' before a holiday

  • Does not obtain medical certificates

How do you deal with Mrs Absent quickly and efficiently?

  • Communicate notification requirements
  • Ask for medical certificates - put in contract
  • Return to work meetings - acts as a deterrent
  • Identify patterns - is this absence genuine?
  • Hold formal meetings - keeps the pressure on
  • Sets targets for absence levels
  • Follow up
  • Dismiss > fairly

What to watch

  • Lengthy capability procedures - they are unnecessary

  • Lots of formal stages - don't lose sight of the goal

  • Delaying taking action - be prompt

  • Always obtaining medical evidence - does it serve a useful purpose? If no, NO

  • Adding other issues - don't muddy the waters

  • Postponing action as a result of a grievance - you can still proceed!

You are entitled to:

  • Expect regular and reliable service

  • Balance needs of pupils and colleagues against needs of one employee

  • Investigate underlying causes

  • Dismiss someone who has high sickness absence after a short process

Katie Davies, Wilkin Chapman LLP
Need help?

Contact Katie to discuss this further.

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