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Absence and sickness

Find out how to handle absence and sickness issues at work with our selection of articles, books and online resources.

Legal Alert

Legal Alert is a monthly checklist from Atom Content Marketing highlighting new and pending laws, regulations, codes of practice and rulings that could have an impact on your business.

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The Library provides full text access to a selection of key business and reference eBooks from leading publishers. eBooks are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users. If you are unable to access an eBook, please see our Help and support advice or contact library@icaew.com.

Dealing with absence

This chapter of the handbook looks at absence from work, both planned and unplanned. Policies and procedures for reducing unplanned absences are dealt with as are the question of pay during absence and dealing with persistent absence.

Rights of employees

These sections of the chapter on employment looks at the following aspects: The national minimum wage; The Transfer of Undertakings (Protection of Employment) Regulations 2006 (TUPE); Working Time Regulations 1998; authorised deductions from wages; time off work.

Terms of use: You are permitted to access, download, copy, or print out content from eBooks for your own research or study only, subject to the terms of use set by our suppliers and any restrictions imposed by individual publishers. Please see individual supplier pages for full terms of use.

Acas guidance

Advice, guidance and practical resources on a wide variety of recruitment topics for both employers and employees, produced by the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service, Acas. Acas is the employment relations service for England, Scotland and Wales offering practical, independent and impartial advice to employers, employees and their representatives.


Absence from work

Acas advice for employers on how to manage and minimise employee attendance problems.

Time off work for training

Acas advice on employee rights regarding time off for training, aimed at both employees and employers.

Online articles

The Library provides access to leading business, finance and management journals. These journals are available to logged-in ICAEW members, ACA students and other entitled users subject to suppliers' terms of use.

Dont let stress become DISTRESS

Recognising the symptoms of stress in employees and understanding their impact is critical to effectively dealing with the contributing issues and improving employee well-being. Giving employees leeway to take mental health or sick days when they need to ensures your employees stay healthy and can come to work feeling their best.

Get well SOONER

This article looks at how human resource (HR) professionals can address the problem of long-term sickness absence of employees, examining topics including the emerging culture of presenteeism and its impact to HR professionals trying to manage their workforce's absence levels, cost of long-term sickness to employers in the private sector and mental health as a major cause of long-term sickness.

Britain's presenteeism crisis

The article reports that presenteeism or the number of employees going to work while sick has increased in Great Britain between 2010 and 2018. Topics discussed include the factors that drive employees to go to work despite not feeling well, the implication of the trend for the well-being of employees and the ways in which presenteeism can hurt business organizations in the long run. Also discussed are the steps that line managers should take to address the problem of presenteeism.

Why doesn't our absence policy work?

The article offers an answer to a question about the failures of managers to conduct investigations of employees for sickness absences.

Brown Smith Wallace: Investing in the whole employee

This article focuses on Brown Smith Wallace LLC, a accountancy top 100 firm that employs 292 people. It is noted that the company offers flexible working as employees know that their chances at advancement will not be hurt by taking time off or working nonstandard arrangements. It is stated that through a robust continuing education program called Brown Smith Wallace University, the firm invests in its employees' development.

Time for a rethink on sickness absence?

The article discusses some recommendations to address sickness absence in Great Britain including government's provision of tax incentives for employers that support employees through a period of prolonged absence and creation of support systems for employees.

Impact of the fit to work service

The article reports on the Fit for Work service that offers impartial advice for dealing with long-term absence on employees in Great Britain.

Court rules how to handle ill-health dismissals

The article focuses on an unfair dismissal lawsuit filed against his former employer by a person. Dundee City Council in Scotland dismissed an employee in September 2009 after he was sick for 272 days because of stress and depression. The Employment Tribunal ruled in favour of the employee as it felt that the council did not conduct a thorough investigation into his health

The hidden cost of sick leave

The article discusses the issue of employees who are out on long-term sick leave also being entitled by law to take their vacation days when they return, or take payment for them in lieu of the time, and how this is a burden to employers. It focuses on stress being one of the major causes of sick leave, and that under British employment law, the employer is obligated to try to reduce work pressures if an employee is diagnosed with depression.

Absence management and presenteeism: the pressures on employees to attend work and the impact of attendance on performance

This research studied two sector organisations (one private and one public) to examine absence management and a conceptual model of presenteeism, with further illustration provided using data from the other seven case studies. This enabled a pattern of presenteeism to emerge, along with the contextual and individual factors which impact on it. In addition to previous research, the authors found that presenteeism is a complex ‘problem’ and that performance and well-being are more closely related to the organisational reaction to presenteeism and absenteeism, rather than the act itself.

Absence management

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development

Guidance and information from CIPD on absence management, absence procedures and return to work after sickness. Registration is required to view most of the content.

Fit notes

Department for Work and Pensions Updated April 2018

Government guidance for GPs, employers, hospital doctors and occupational health practitioners on using fit notes (statements of fitness for work). Fit notes replaced sick notes in 2010.

Managing sickness absence and return to work

Health and Safety Executive

Guidance from the HSE including Guidance for employers, case studies and research reports including 'Managing health at work - recording and monitoring information on sickness absence including work relatedness'

Statutory Payments Manual


HMRC internal manual giving guidance on Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay.

Statutory leave and time off

HM Government

Collection of Government guidance on statutory leave and time off, including holiday entitlement, statutory sick pay, maternity, paternity and adoption leave and pay, time off for jury service and other public duties.

Statutory pay


Collection of guidance for employees and additional detailed guidance for employers covering Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay, Statutory Adoption Pay, and penalties, disagreements and compromise agreements.

Articles and books in the Library collection

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