Employers should consider what adjustments to make to sickness and other policies to reduce disadvantages to disabled employees, and avoid withdrawing reasonable adjustments already made - unless a change in circumstances justifies them doing so or they implement more effective adjustments - or risk claims for unfair dismissal.
Employers may be able to rely on an occupational health or other medical report saying an employee is not disabled, provided the report deals with the question in detail, and there is no evidence to the contrary, the Employment Appeal Tribunal (EAT) has ruled.
Employers should ensure workers are taking at least the minimum rest breaks required by law or risk being liable for any personal injuries suffered as a result, a recent ruling makes clear.
Employers should beware dismissing an employee who would then lose their rights under a long-term disability benefits plan on dismissal, following a recent ruling that a dismissal in those circumstances was unfair.
Employers should ensure they properly understand employees' illnesses and/or injuries, particularly in cases involving cancer, before deciding an employee is not disabled for the purposes of disability discrimination law.
Before dismissing an employee after a disability-related absence, employers should ensure the absence is not an 'effective cause' of the dismissal, or risk a successful disability discrimination claim.
Employers presented with fresh evidence indicating a possible return to work by a disabled employee on long-term absence, should reconsider a decision to dismiss them if the evidence shows dismissal may no longer be justifiable, a Court of Appeal ruling makes clear.
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.
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.
Acas advice for employers on how to manage and minimise employee attendance problems.
Acas template absence and personal record documents for employers, including an absence form and GP letter.
Acas guide for small firms and team managers, covering the basics of how to manage staff absence.
Acas advice for managers on how to best support a staff member experiencing mental ill health.
Acas advice on employee rights regarding time off for training, aimed at both employees and employers.
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.
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.
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.
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'
HMRC internal manual giving guidance on Statutory Sick Pay, Statutory Maternity Pay, Statutory Paternity Pay and Statutory Adoption Pay.
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.
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.
Government guidance for employers on Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
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