Your absence policy needs to cover all eventualities surrounding sickness absence. First and foremost, make sure your policy reassures your employees that if they are ill, it is OK to take time off. You can also cover the operational and motivational difficulties absence causes in a business to help employees understand why you need a policy and why you monitor sickness absence.

  1. Notification – who do employees need to notify and by what time? What do they do if that person isn’t available? Do you allow notification via text or email, or is it by telephone only? What’s the rule about personal notification, rather than having someone call on your behalf?
  2. Certification – if absence is up to 7 days a self-certification form needs to be completed. Where do employees get the form from and who do they return it to? How long do they have to complete it? If beyond 7 days, who do they submit their GP’s note to? How long do they have to do this? What do they do about subsequent GP’s notes?
  3. Return to Work Interviews – when will they be carried out? Under what circumstances? Can these be done over the phone?
  4. Fit Notes & Alternative Work – what will the company do if a GP recommends work adjustment? What happens if the company can’t make those adjustments?
  5. Medical Reports – Will you apply for GP’s reports? In what circumstances? What happens if this report shows the employee will be unlikely to perform their duties or return to work?
  6. Holidays & Sickness – What happens when an employee is sick whilst on holiday? How do they notify you? Do they need a GP’s note? Who pays for this? What happens if they can’t take their annual leave in the current leave year?
  7. Conduct – what will you do if you think an employee’s illness is not genuine, or is down to misconduct? What about if an employee is not assist themselves to get well and return to work?
  8. Sick pay – if you pay company sick pay, are there rules or limits to this? What about during an employee’s notice period? What happens if they fail to notify you correctly or provide the right certification?
  9. Vehicles – if the employee has a vehicle do you want to get it back if they are off sick for a period of time?
  10. Disciplinary and monitoring – do you have trigger points for absences? What are they (Bradford Factor, No of Absences in a rolling 12 months)? What will happen when an employee reaches your triggers?
  11. Long term sick management – how will you handle long term sickness absence? Will you obtain occupational health reports? What if an employee doesn’t co-operate with your requests? What happens if an employee is deemed unfit to return to work?