June 9, 2016

Employees Taking the Sick

Employees Taking The Sick

We all know that some employees will want to use up their sick pay entitlement, even if they are not ill and for some larger businesses this may not affect the day to day workings of the business too much yet is not an ideal situation by any means.  If we are talking about smaller businesses who absolutely depend on people being in, then those businesses are more likely to suffer financially when employees choose to take more and more sick days off work.

If you are having problems at the moment with staff taking time off for sickness, then you are not alone.  Here are some stats to set the record straight:

  • 131 million days were lost due to sickness in 2013
  • Minor illnesses have been the most common with neck, back and muscle pain but also include colds and flu
  • Even though sickness days have fallen since 1993, with women using more of their entitlement
  • Bigger businesses are known to have a higher rate of sickness absence

What Can You Do About Employees On Sick Leave?


If the sick leave is sporadic and not indicative of the employee’s overall performance when in work, then you might choose to give them a verbal warning as a reminder of the fact that you are in charge of the business and that their presence is needed in order for it to run smoothly and effectively.  The ideal is having employees who are happy at work but also know when not to cross that line.  If the employee has continued to take much more time off than is deemed necessary, then the HR support needs to look at why this is the case and start their evaluations.  If the employee is breaching their contract of employment in any way then this needs to be address immediately and could probably start with some sort of brief mediation between line manager and employee, just to get to the bottom of the problem.

Health & Safety At Work


As a lot of sick days are taken for minor issues such as back or neck pain but these could get more severe in time if not assessed correctly by and occupational health manager or other professional.  It’s important to ensure that your business has a compliant employee handbook in place to cover for any health and safety requirements etc. and so that your employees know what is expected of them in their chosen environment.  Health and safety fixtures, fittings and clothing are essential if the job demands them and will also protect you against any claim, or damages brought forward by the employee.

When taking on someone new, it is wise to be informed if the employee has a history of sickness prior to taking them on so that you can make better, more informed choices. When thinking about keeping an employee with your company who has suddenly started to suffer ill health, you could provide them with the best working situation to suit their needs or constructively dismiss them from your employ, depending on how their ill health with affect the business in general.  This is where an assessment will prove most helpful.


HR Heroes