I am going to be bold enough to assume that no absence policy was ever written with a global pandemic in mind. Until now. At the time of writing this, we are still in the midst of the chaos caused by Covid-19. The disease has been with us for nearly two years and the situation keeps evolving. This makes it very hard to draw policy decisions on how to manage absence that is caused by Covid-19. Nevertheless, we have already learned a few good lessons and will share them in this article.
Your absence policy should be a blueprint for managers to follow but not so rigid that there is no space for discretion. Discretion doesn’t mean that managers should be able to pick
and choose when to implement the policy. Quite the opposite, meetings and discussions should be held on all occasions.
28 calendar days is a common definition of long-term absence. There’s nothing wrong with this definition in itself. However, waiting 4 weeks to offer support or consider referral to support services is a missed opportunity. This often means that medical appointments don’t take place until the 6th or 7th week of the absence. It also delays the welfare review meeting with management further to the 8th or 9th week of the absence.
A good absence policy sets out acceptable levels of absence and guides managers to review absence patterns early on. It should also provide a clear guide for follow-up actions. When more serious consequences should follow from a poor attendance record. Quite often the first meeting or referral is not the end of the story. The condition may cause another absence further down the line. There may also be follow-up actions like workplace adjustments and risk assessments to complete as a result of the initial review. Managers should review regularly if the measures are working and check in with how the employee is doing, especially if they have a further absence from work.
The most common mistake we see in absence policies is unnecessary complexity. Honeydew’s mission is to make good absence management easy. In this article, we’ll go through the do’s and don’ts of writing absence policies. We will explain how to write a policy that is an effective tool for line managers.
Engage SaaS (Service as a Software) lets companies accurately manage and track their absence data. Even SMEs with fewer than 250 employees benefit from using Engage and can reduce related costs and risk by recording full absence data. Did you know that reducing absence by even a fraction of a percent can save you hundreds of pounds per employee? Designed by industry experts, Engage helps you make effective change in your organisation. Continue reading