“New Year New Start” is a common mantra for individuals at this time of year and for businesses it appears no different as business owners want to start the year with the “right staff” and remove “problems” which cause operational difficulties and additional unnecessary costs to the business.

Staff absenteeism, whether persistent or intermittent short-term absenteeism, or long-term sickness continue to be described as a headache for business owners.

When hoping to implement the exit of staff in such circumstances, consideration needs to be given to a number of factors prior to adopting specific tactics and strategy to achieve your objective.

Important aspects for consideration include:

  • Absence policies and procedures –have clear policies in place to avoid ambiguity and so that staff are clear on the rules which is crucial when disciplining or terminating employment.
  • Contract of employment – include bespoke clauses in staff contracts of employment (regarding sickness absence notification, sick pay and consent for medical examinations) that will work in your business’s favour.
  • Preventative action –ensure its clear to staff that all absences will be assessed and monitored. Return to work meetings can be a useful tool for ensuring this is actually implemented in practice.
  • Investigations regarding staff absence – important for health and safety and for differentiating between staff whom are not legitimately absent and require disciplining for their conduct, and those for which careful consideration of prognosis and reasonable adjustments are required.
  • Medical reports – applications to a staff member’s GP seeking a medical report must be carefully drafted or these can lead to allegations of unfairness and/or discrimination.
  • Contact and consultation with staff– ensure your business is contractually entitled to contact absent staff and that they are obliged to keep your business updated and attend meetings when required.
  • Protection from disability discrimination –take advice to understand where your business may face additional risk for staff who may have protection by way of the Equality Act 2010.

Farleys’ Commercial HR & Employment law support can help you by advising your business on your legal position, options, process, tactics and strategy together with managing sickness absence and implementing all forms of employee exits.  To find out more, contact us on 0845 287 0939 or submit your enquiry online.