To make a business successful, employees need to be at work, doing a proper job. That’s why you pay them…to be at work! Abuse of sick leave is a big problem in many businesses and some employees take advantage of this. They seem to be sick on a regular basis, just too often.
A business needs to have a full complement of staff at work almost all of the time for it to operate properly. For deadlines to be met. For customers’ needs to be satisfied and to set the business apart from its competitors.
On the other hand, nearly every mediocre or struggling business doesn’t always have an effective workforce. Its businesses like these that seem to have problems with excessive sick leave. Staff taking off days here and there, once or twice a month, with this or the other so-called “illness”. The result is that other employees have to fill in and do the work of the person who’s ‘sick’, putting everyone under pressure, and the business.
Resolving the Abuse of Sick Leave Problem
To resolve this problem, ADDRESS IT EARLY. In other words, tackle it as soon as you notice that an employee is away from work on sick leave too often. Don’t wait until the employee has exhausted all their sick leave before you take action.
And when you do take action, you’ll see that the rest of your staff will have a better attitude because they know that you are doing something about the problem, not ignoring it. It’ll create a far healthier and productive workforce, morale will lift and they’ll get more things done on time. Quality will improve and the business will have a much better chance of prospering.
Process to Follow when Addressing the Problem
An employee who is ‘sick’ all the time, is basically unable to fulfill his or her contractual work obligations to the business because of poor work attendance.
It needs to be handled as follows:
Start the process by talking to the employee. Get a clear understanding of what the problem is…why they are sick?…why so often? Try and determine whether their ‘sickness’ is genuine or not.
If you feel that they may be abusing the situation (despite the fact that they produce medical certificates for sick leave longer than 2 days) get them to understand that their absence is having a negative impact on the business. And that you cannot carry on like this. That even though the law entitles them to take sick leave, the fact that they’re away from work so often means that they’re unable to fulfill their contractual obligations to the business. They are therefore in breach of contract and because of this, if it continues, you’ll have to take the appropriate action to terminate their contract.
If it’s a genuine illness and their absence is regular or it seems as though the illness is an on-going or permanent problem then you are quite entitled to follow procedures to terminate this employee’s contract. But always follow the ‘Incapacity due to Ill Health’ procedures when you go this route.
When an employee, over a period of time, has a pattern of misusing sick leave by taking excessive amounts without a valid medical certificate, you should then follow disciplinary procedures. The employee needs to understand that if this abuse continues, it might end up in termination of employment.
If you deal with the problem correctly, instead of ignoring it, you’ll find that your workforce will stop taking chances with sick leave. They’ll only take sick leave when it’s absolutely necessary and when they’re genuinely ill. Excessive sick leave will decrease.
Begin improving your business by taking action against those employees who are away from work too often due to illness. Start managing these employees effectively and watch how they change.
Do you need help with employees who abuse sick leave? CLICK HERE to get my personal assistance and advice on how you can overcome this problem quickly and effectively.
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