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.
From the desk of Honeydew Director of Product, Inka Howorth:
I began my work in the absence management sector in 2008. That’s a lot of years of HR discourse and I’ve met a lot of practitioners of all kinds in that time. I’ve also encountered many approaches to writing an absence policy. This puts me in a privileged position to evaluate these approaches and provide a best practice guidance on what actually works, in the form of a new eBook. Continue reading
Most companies that have an absence policy define what is considered Long Term Absence. There are management tasks linked to the categorisation of long term absences. Commonly, managers refer long term absentees to Occupational Health and organise a welfare meeting with the employee. Organisations should start these activities as soon as the manager identifies if the absence is likely to become long term.
Managers may often feel that they ‘know’ when employees are faking an absence. The gut feeling may be based on their personal relationship with the employee or the fact that they have noticed patterns of absence e.g. repeatedly taking sick days on a Friday. Relying on instict is not an approach we recommend. This article explains the best practice for addressing absences that you think may not be genuine.
Does your organisation have fiendishly complex absence triggers and policies? Do you need to juggle a combination of different terms and conditions for different staff members? Does the policy change based on length of service? Do you want to track pro-rata allowances for part-time employees? If you answered ‘yes’ to any of these questions, Engage can help you manage the data.
The Bradford Factor is a neat mathematical formula for calculating absence levels and triggering management action. It is focused on targeting frequent short-term absence, based on the principle that this type of absence is more disruptive to the workplace. The Bradford Factor formula is: Continue reading
After salary, absence is the second largest cost to employers. Every company should set absence management goals and monitor them regularly to make sure that this significant cost does not get out of hand. Absence management works on three levels, from the individual to the organisation, so goals should be set for each area: Continue reading
Whilst absence triggers can be highly effective in cutting your absence levels, the way you set them is critical to their success. Understand how your absence policy works in real life when employees start to take advantage of loopholes. Continue reading
The theory is that setting absence targets improves attendance at work but is there evidence to back this? XpertHR has published figures stating that only 44% of employers in the UK set attendance targets, yet of those, 79% believe that the targets have drastically improved their experience of absence management. So why haven’t more companies joined in? Continue reading