How To Deal With Employee Sickness

I have just spent some time reading a few great articles around employee sickness and how much it costs small businesses. During my time, I have heard a multitude of excuses as for why someone cannot come into work, some obviously legitimate however it is sometimes difficult to see the truth from the ‘sickies’.

High Street Recruitment Agency, Reed.co.uk recently did a study into the Top 10 excuses that people gave for pulling a sickie. Some of the excuses are old, some are new. Some are intended to play on your compassion, some are modern technology-based excuses. I’m sure you’ve heard them all at one time or another. Perhaps you even used one of these chestnuts yourself at school. I didn’t, because I was a good girl!

Employee Sickness: The Top 10 Most Frequently Heard Excuses: 

1.      Straight in at number one, the old classic – “I’m sick”

2.      A variation on number one A member of my family is sick”

3.      “I’m in A&E” – Begging the question how much did you drink?

4.      A modern-day version of the dog ate my homework, it’s “My phone battery died”

5.       Speaking of dogs, number five really is “My dog is sick

6.     “I was robbed last night” – yeah, by two bottles of Chardonnay and a kebab

7.      That old chestnut “I fainted on the way to work”

8.      “I don’t feel like going in” – bonus points for honesty!

9.      “I’ve broken my leg” followed, tomorrow, by it must’ve got better!

10.    Straight in to the hit parade at number ten: “I’m locked out of my house”

Working with small businesses who may only employ 1 or 2 people, the impact from the United Kingdom’s the average 7 days of employee sickness, or more colloquially ‘sickies’ per year could be huge.

If only I could wave a magic wand and give an answer on how to stop this from happening – I am afraid my fairy dust does not stretch that far – maybe that will make its way up to the top 10 list one day!

Six Top Tips On Avoiding Employee Sickness

  • Make sure you spend the time to ensure that you recruit the right person – it might sound like a bit of a bore but taking the time to conduct thorough interviews and complete a process of obtaining references could save you money and time in the long run.
  • Be flexible – as a small business you will have busy periods where it is all hands on deck but when you can let your team go a few minutes early or come in a little later – those small things do add up
  • Communicate with your team – get to know them, come to understand what makes them tick and what does not. You will soon see if they are not happy and generally that is when ‘sickies’ appear – you need to have a close-knit team around you that will be happy to roll up their sleeves and do things that ‘aren’t in their job description’.
  • Ensure you have a basic policy or process so that everyone knows what is expected of them.  When they need to supply fit notes for example.  It makes it a lot easier when you need to get someone like me to come and help.
  • Complete Return to Work Interviews for short term sickness and long term sick.
  • For a long period of absence seek advice from Occupational Health.

If you have something specific about employee sickness you’d like to ask me, please don’t hesitate to get in touch on 02382 025160.


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