My Employee is sick what can I do?

Do you know how much absenteeism costs you?

Do you have a process to measure it?

Do you have policies to address it?

We all get sick and employers should always be sympathetic to anyone who is sick and deal with it in a professional and calm manner.

There are a few things however you may want to consider.

To measure absence try using the total number of days lost/total number of staff = average days per employee and see who falls where in the league table.

To measure your percentage lost time rate use (total absence days in the period/possible total days in period) x100 Remember Cost of absence every 1% of excessive sickness costs 1% total wage bill, in addition to effects on service continuity, quality and morale and of course reputational damage

Simple things you can do to understand manage and where possible reduce absenteeism

Do not accept absence even for a day without question

  • ALWAYS conduct a return to work interview
  • ALWAYS check certificates presented
  • ALWAYS insist employees personally contact their supervisor, not by text or voicemail
  • KEEP accurate records of absence
  • Do not ignore people on long term sick maintain contact
  • Involve occupational health where practicable
  • Make managers responsible for managing sickness rather than leave it to HR
  • Manage in accordance with absence policy
  • Allow flexible return to work

Decide on trigger points when to invoke formal action on absence levels.  Conduct formal interviews as soon as trigger points are hit, typical trigger point could be 10 days in 12 months or 3 incidents of absenteeism in a rolling 3 month period do not make exceptions but handle special cases e.g. pregnancy or disability sympathetically. Prepare a plan, agree outcome with employee set a review period and set date for a review meeting record in writing expectations.


Be supportive at all times.

Whatever the cause of the absence treat it in the same manner

Don’t succumb to emotional blackmail Consider OHA recommendations you may not be able to implement all of them.

Deal with people who have repeated multiple reasons for unexpected absences