How to Manage Absences Over the Christmas Period

10 Oct

December is the second most popular month for taking holidays in the UK, following August during the school summer holidays. This is most likely because of the Christmas break and potentially due to some employees wanting to use up their annual leave before the new year.

Contrary to popular belief, December isn’t when employees take the most amount of sick leave. Sick leave is at its highest in January and February, following the Christmas period. Whether your employees are on annual leave or taking sick leave, it is important to continuously think ahead and predict when absence may occur to attempt to prevent it from negatively impacting your business.

What Can You Do as An Employer?

For suspected non-genuine absences, it is important for employers to remain impartial during any investigation process. They should make sure to fully investigate the absence before deciding on an outcome of an investigation and follow the ACAS Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures.

From a motivational perspective, employers should consider how best to balance the business’ needs with employees’ needs and be flexible with working times where possible. After all, research has shown that happy staff are more productive and have higher performance levels. If employers can achieve a good balance between business needs and staff morale, it can only lead to a better organisation for everyone.

Whatever the reason, whether absence is genuine or not, it is worth employers refreshing their knowledge on effective absence management. One way to ensure effective absence management is to ensure that Sickness Absence Policies are in place, reviewed regularly and are well communicated between staff.

Return to work interviews can be beneficial to track absence levels and the reasons for absence so that employers can identify if patterns are emerging. These interviews can also highlight areas of concern and can help identify if there is need to consider flexible working methods or reasonable adjustments.

Can We Help?

If you need advice or further information about managing your employees’ holidays or sick leave, please contact our Employment Law team today by calling 02920 853794 or emailing