How to manage absences in the lead-up to Christmas

13 Sep

Employers generally see peaks in absence during certain times of the year. It is important to continuously think ahead and predict when absence may occur to attempt to prevent it from negatively impacting business. With summer drawing to a close, our attention is drawn to the next big event – Christmas. During the run-up to Christmas, there are many reasons why absence may increase.

From 27th August until 25th December, there are no UK bank holidays. Recent research has reported that a lack of bank holidays between September and December had a negative impact on productivity. Although, 39% of employees surveyed claimed that a bank holiday had no positive impact on their job performance.

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.

Need some advice?

If you would like further information, or advice on an employment law issue, please contact employment@thomas-carroll.co.uk.