Everybody has one, or a few, maybe – the employee who comes up with seemingly ridiculous excuses for having a day off sick. Larger employers could probably write a best seller with the most extravagant of excuses they have heard. Recent weather has only added to employee’s reasons for self-certification.

• I’ve got a cold / flu
• I’ve fallen on the ice and hurt my leg
• The cold weather is aggravating my arthritis
• I was shovelling snow from my garden path and hurt my back
• I got sunstroke and feel too nauseous to make it in (from an employee who had just returned from a foreign holiday, clearly…)
Because an employee is generally able to self-certify for periods of sickness absence of up to 7 days, an employer does not have official evidence of the illness in the form of a fit note, for example. Many employers may think that they can’t do anything about sickness that falls within the self-certification period. However, it can be open to challenge where the employer feels appropriate and he can take action.

Accidents do happen when the weather makes conditions dangerous but it is even more important for an employer to do a return to work interview for anyone off sick and to keep records so that the employer has a better impression of the genuineness of the reason for absence.

For any further clarification, please call our 24 Hour Advice Service on 0844 892 2772.