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5 Top tips to avoid long term absence

Employment Law & HR
BG Purple

Note: this article was first written by our colleagues at Solve HR, before Solve HR joined Law At Work in March 2020. We have imported this...

According to the CIPD's latest Absence Management Report absence is costing employers' around £550 per employee per year so it's vital to manage it effectively. Communication is key to avoiding employees going off on long term absence as is dealing with every absence effectively as soon as possible. Here are our top 5 tips to avoiding long term absence and how to deal with it if it does happen: 1. Have a clearly defined absence policy that sets out what the process is when taking time off for sickness and how it will be dealt with. Make sure that good communication from both sides is at the core of the policy. 2. Ensure that there is a thorough and robust return to work interview conducted after every absence even if they were off for just one day. A good return to work interview can help to identify any underlying issues or conditions allowing you to then work with the employee to improve the situation. 3. Consider making reasonable adjustments to the working environment in order to adapt to an employee's health condition. These don't need to be major changes, the slightest change can make a big difference and enable a faster return to work and avoid future absences. 4. If an absence does become long term put a communication plan in place so that you are in regular contact with the employee and establish a good relationship with them so that you can have open and honest discussions with them. As well as phone communication plan in face to face meetings sometimes known as welfare meetings, these meetings will help to build the relationship and generate even more open discussions. 5. It may be necessary to get a medical report from the employee's GP or consultant so that you have a clear idea of what you are dealing with and what you can do as an employer to facilitate a return to work. You may want to back this up with an independent occupational health report. An OH referral will allow you to ask specific questions about the employee's health condition and long term affects. Solve can support you with your absence management issues as well has provide occupational health referrals through our OH provider.

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