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.
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.
Instead of a disciplinary atmosphere, managers should use the time with the employee to show that they care. Managers’ attitude to the interviews will have a direct impact on the usefulness of the meeting. So how to make sure your return to work interviews feel meaningful to manager and employee alike?
Many HR teams spend a lot of time putting together a comprehensive absence policy. Sadly, their efforts are watered-down if managers don’t know or understand the policy, or if they forget to check what absences meet the trigger criteria. However, some absence triggers are so complex that you definitely need a computer to check who trips them. Working with spreadsheets is the worst enemy of a sophisticated absence management process. Never fear, Engage is here to help and automate your absence policy.
Absence is a management issue, not a medical one. That is why similar organisations with similar work profiles can have very different absence levels. The difference is not that the employees in one company are more ill. The difference is that one company is managing absence better than the other one.
Any absence is a cost to the employer, regardless what the line of work or sick pay policies. And if absence is not measured, it can’t be managed. Therefore, experts recommend absences should be recorded before they become a problem. However, if you’re looking for a solution to turn around a culture of poor attendance, it is never too late to start.
Early intervention has always been our mantra. The sooner an absence is reviewed and the appropriate action taken to put a plan in place for a return to work, the better the outcomes. Short of spotting any warning signs for problem before it escalates to an absence, there’s no better time for early intervention than the first day of absence. We’ve shared some scary stats in the past that should give us enough reason not to be idle while an absence gradually becomes long term, but if you were wondering how to achieve this in practice, Day-1 OH could be the solution you’ve been looking for. Continue reading
Wellbeing champions are employees, who choose or are chosen to focus on improving the wellbeing of their fellow colleagues as part of the company wellbeing initiatives. Continue reading
We’ve written about this before, but now it’s finally here. Employers in England and Wales are now able to refer employees to Fit for Work, the government service set up to help working people on long-term sickness absence.
Fit for Work provides occupational health services to people who have been, or are likely to be, off work for four weeks or more. It is particularly aimed at small and medium-sized businesses (SMEs) that have little or no occupational health support. 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