Why it is important to keep good absence records?
You may keep a note of your employees’ sickness centrally, in an absence book maybe, or in a diary, and this helps you with your sick pay
administration, and calculating whether your staff are entitled to their attendance bonus or not. You know that one particular employee has had 6 days off sick in the last 6 months but because each one is only a single day of absence, you don’t feel that it needs addressing so you let it go under the radar.
What that method won’t make immediately apparent is that the 6 days’ absence are all Fridays. You know that the employee plays rugby on a Thursday night and that the team goes out for a drink after the match. You know this because a couple of your other staff members also play for the same team and you hear them talking about their antics after the match. From memory, you think the employee told you he was off because of headaches, or a sore throat, but you aren’t sure because you don’t write it down.
This pattern of absence, when pointed out, will raise suspicions in any employer’s mind because absence is consistently occurring on the same day of the week. But if you don’t record absence using a method that allows you to see patterns, you may be allowing staff to play the system and get away with unacceptable behaviour. High levels of absence cause extra administration for management and extra pressure on other members of staff having to pick up the slack.
It isn’t just when absence consistently falls on the same day that you need to look out for. Suspicions may also be raised when staff always call in sick on the Friday before or the Tuesday after a Bank Holiday; or on days when you have already refused a holiday request. Keep an eye out for those who are always off sick at the start of the school holidays, or the day after large sporting events.
Non-genuine absence should be treated as a disciplinary matter, and will also have an impact on whether you withhold statutory sick pay
Seeing absence marked on a calendar format and utilising different colours to represent different types of absence will show you immediately when certain absences are falling and whether a pattern is forming. Hronline provides exactly this type of absence recording system, making patterns far easier to identify and providing good evidence for management intervention.
By Nicola Mullineux
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