Legal Advice for Employee Absence Management

We understand that it can be a challenge to effectively manage staff absence. Whether you are dealing with staff who are repeatedly absent from work for short periods of time, or employees on long-term sick leave,  absence can cause disruption to productivity within the workplace, a loss of revenue for your business, as well as having an impact upon staff morale.

When it comes to managing employee absence, it is important  to ensure that any absence policy or procedure you follow is clear, fair and in line with current employment and/or discrimination legislation, as well as any contractual obligations you may be required to adhere to.

Our specialist team of employment solicitors are here to help you to navigate the legalities of staff absence, whilst ensuring that your staff are supported and your day-to-day business operations remain as minimally affected as possible.

How can I deal with repeated Short Term Absence?

Having employees who regularly take short amounts of time off work can have a huge effect on the consistency, continuity, and productivity of the workplace. When a member of staff is off sick it may mean that their work must be completed by their colleagues, or that the work is delayed, putting the absent employee under pressure to catch up upon their return to work.

When dealing with repeated short-term absence it is important to:

  • Maintain appropriate levels of contact with the member of staff in question;
  • Seek medical advice, where required;
  • Ensure that any reviews carried out with regards to employee attendance are fair and consistent;
  • Ensure that the employee is afforded the opportunity to state the reasons for their repeated absences, providing evidence where necessary;
  • Ensure that the employee is afforded the opportunity to improve their attendance record;
  • Where appropriate, seek to work with the employee to make reasonable adjustments to their working arrangement in order to improve attendance;
  • Ensure that the employee is forewarned that a failure to improve their attendance carries the risk of dismissal as a final resort.

As much as it is important to have policies and procedures in place for handling repeated absences, it is also important to understand that every situation is different, and you may need to adapt your approach in order to achieve the best outcome. For example, your employee may have an underlying health condition that they haven’t felt confident discussing with you previously, and there may be changes you can put into place once you are aware of the situation.

If there are no underlying health concerns affecting your employee, it may be that you need to discuss the working arrangements with them to try and find a solution. For example, it may be necessary to consider a flexible working pattern  or a change in the role that they are carrying out.

Our experienced team of specialist employment lawyers can provide you with the support you need to achieve the best possible outcome for your business.


How can I deal with Long Term Absence?

More often than not, long term absence from work can be attributed to underlying health issues. In addition to providing welfare support to the member of staff, it may be necessary to conduct an investigation with them  in order to establish the reasons for their absence and what the business can do to support them and facilitate their recovery and, where possible, their safe return to work.

Some of the areas of investigation may include:

  • Enquiring about the nature of the illness and whether this amounts to a disability, seeking medical evidence, as appropriate;
  • Seeking advice regarding the timeframe in which the employee may be able to return to work;
  • What support the employee feels they need from the business;
  • Exploring the options within the role and working environment that may allow the employee to return to work sooner;
  • Providing ongoing communication and support to the employee to prevent further leave where possible.

As an employer it is vital that you observe the sick pay provisions as laid out in the employee’s contract, and that you treat them fairly, in line with current employment and/or discrimination legislation. Terminating the employee’s contract may be a possibility, but it should only be done in extreme cases, where all other avenues have been exhausted.  We would always recommend that you seek tailored legal advice before considering this option.

Analysis Legal can help you to minimise the risk of costly future compensation claims by helping you to manage any such absence situations.  We are alert to common employment law pitfalls and are here to help you to avoid them.

Once again Analysis Legal LLP is a leading firm in the Legal 500 directory, which states the firm ‘is praised by a plethora of businesses for its client focused and pragmatic advice, boasting a roster of blue-chip national and international clients for which it conducts a broad range of contentious and non-contentious employment work’.

Absence Management Frequently Asked Questions

Can absence be treated as a form of misconduct?

Can staff with poor attendance be dismissed if they have less than two years' service?

Can I dismiss an employee who is off sick but has been seen socialising?

How much sick leave can an employee take?

Extended periods of absence can be disruptive and costly to your business.  It is advisable, therefore, to consider your options carefully when deciding on the best route to follow  and the team here at Analysis Legal are on hand to guide you through the process.

Contact our Employment Data Protection Solicitors in Manchester

As a specialist employment law firm, we offer comprehensive legal services across all areas of employment law. We support clients throughout Stockport, Manchester, and the wider North West region, including major cities like Sheffield, Liverpool and Leeds. Analysis Legal also provided support with employment law matters for employers across England and Wales.

Our priority is always to understand how your business runs, and providing tailored advice that works for your situation, especially regarding the management of your staff. We can make the legal process related to absence management more streamlined, ensuring that you can focus on nurturing a positive relationship with your staff, without being liable for any claims in the future. By choosing us, you’ll have the support of our skilled Employment Law Solicitors in Manchester. We guarantee access to top-tier advice on employment absence management.

Our commitment is to deliver unparalleled client service, focusing on the needs of managers, HR professionals, and business owners alike. Contact Analysis Legal to discuss your situation and find out how we can help your business to avoid the risk of future claims arising out of employee absence.

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