Absence management more essential work than ever

Do you struggle to record who on your payroll is isolating, shielding, furloughed or recently reported possible Covid-19 symptoms? Are you tired of keeping your teams updated with ever-changing public health advice? Is your company balancing the tightrope between safeguarding staff whilst staying in business? If so, you are definitely not alone. The good news is that a robust absence management system can help make these tasks easier. Below are a few points to illustrate why absence management is essential work in the era of Coronavirus, especially for those employing essential workers.

Absence management might seem like one extra task you really could do without but managing your workforce during the Covid-19 epidemic is closely intertwined with managing absence in general. Companies with robust absence reporting processes are really seeing the benefits of good absence data at this challenging time. Doubly so if you employ key workers who can’t work from home.

Adorable child dressed as doctor playing with toy over white background

Infection control

All employers will, by now, be familiar with the various health and safety guidelines that must be put in practice to provide a safe workplace to all staff. It’s been a scramble to purchase PPE and measure and mark out 1 or 2-metre distances for physical distancing. As a part of easing the lockdown, UK government is adopting an approach to implement local restrictions wherever coronavirus re-emerges, hoping this way to avoid another full standstill of the economy.

A similar approach should be taken to infection control within an organisation. Whether you occupy one or several buildings, it’s important to know as quickly as possible if anyone develops symptoms of coronavirus so that the site, floor or area can be placed under temporary closure. A deep clean should take place and any employees who may have been exposed must isolate and consider getting tested. If caught early, the impact can be minimised, and healthy staff can return to work. A centralised absence recording system is very good at cascading this information to Health & Safety and HR teams without delay.

Keeping employees updated with latest public health advice

This week, on 30th July, as a result of new research, the recommended isolation period was extended from 7 days to 10. This is a good example of the ever-changing public health advice aimed to curb Covid-19 since March. Some weeks it seems that the advice changes from one day to the next and it has been a challenge for employers to keep up with the pace of change. Not to mention the challenge of responding to new guidance when it is put into place with immediate effect, like newly reintroduced quarantine requirement for holidaymakers returning from Spain this July and August.

It’s hard enough for individuals to keep on track with the current rules, but employers also need to interpret these in the context of their workplace. Rumours and misinformation can easily take hold and it’s vital that the employer keep in touch with staff about what their policy is. Providing clear and concise communication to clarify the confusing government guidance will surely be a great service welcomed by most employees. It’s also vital to let employees know how their wellbeing is cared for and what benefits they may or may not be entitled to.

A great time to reiterate this information is when an employee reports an absence as you will have them on the phone one-to-one. The guidance will be given at a time when it is relevant rather than as a general newscast. Of course, to achieve this, the person(s) taking the call must all be well-informed about the current guidance themselves.

Getting sick pay right

Key workers that continue to go to work are at higher risk of contracting the coronavirus and government has guaranteed them SSP from first day of absence if they need to isolate to manage the spread of the virus. It’s necessary for employers to keep good records of who is entitled to this enhanced benefit.

Instant visibility of absence trends without the added admin burden

Honeydew’s Day-1 Absence Reporting service provides the unique benefits of allowing real time absence reporting without adding to the managers workload. A 24-hour absence line handles employees absence reporting calls and cascades the information out to the necessary stakeholders immediately so that the necessary replacement staff can be arranged. This also allows the employer to keep a close eye on any infection hot spots as they appear and to safeguard the rest of the team to stop the spread of the virus quickly.

Implementing Day-1 absence reporting is easier than you might think. The service can easily be up and running in a matter of a few weeks. With Honeydew’s fully managed implementation, which is included in the subscription fees, all that is needed from the employer are a staff list and a copy of your absence policy. Contact us to find out more!