absence management
8th February 2018


What should your business do when an employee calls in sick? Sounds fairly self explanatory, right? The employee speaks to your HR manager to report their absence and why they won’t be in and that’s then passed onto the relevant department. But should that be the extent of your absence management procedures?


It’s Monday morning and an employee has called in sick. Immediately alarm bells are ringing. Do you have a sneaky check on their social media to see what they’ve been up to over the weekend? Have you already decided that their ‘illness’ is likely related to ‘enjoying themselves’ over the weekend? Stop right there! As a business, you can’t afford to make assumptions as this could very well be a legitimate illness. That’s why it’s vitally important that your internal time keeping and attendance records are up to date.

Ensuring your time keeping and attendance records are up to date provides you with the required data to spot any suspicious patterns of behaviour. Does this employee regularly call in sick on Mondays? If so, has anyone spoken to them about this pattern? Are there any disciplinary actions that need to be taken to curb this pattern of behaviour? Are there extenuating circumstances that could be contributing to this (disabilities, home issues etc). Ensure you’re aware of the whole picture before taking any actions. This should prevent you from acting in a way that could be considered discriminatory towards the employee. The most important thing should always be the health of your employees but, as a business, you will understandably be keen to get them back into work.

How Can The Correct Absence Management Procedures Help Get Your Staff Back In Work?

Let’s assume that your employee has now been out of the office for an extended period of time, is there anything you can do to facilitate or speed up their return to work? Firstly, it’s important to consider the following:

  • Is your employee suffering from or recovering from a serious illness?
  • Have they required surgery which would require an extended recovery period?
  • Is the illness a result of their role within your company?

If the illness is related to any of the above, a somewhat sympathetic approach would be required to assist your employee. They’re probably eager to return to work once they’ve been medically cleared or the cause of the illness has been removed from the workplace.

In these instances, you should always remain in regular contact with the employee to check on their recovery and see if there is anyway you can support them. You could also seek permission from your employee to contact their GP or see if they would be willing to consult your occupational health department. This would enable you to assess:

  • A potential return to work date
  • Is a full recovery possible?
  • Will they be able to return to the same job role?
  • Would they benefit part-time or flexible working upon their return?
  • Has the injury or illness led to a disability and are any reasonable adjustments required to enable them to return to work?
  • Would an alternative job role or lighter, less stressful role be beneficial upon their return?
The Importance Of Keeping Your Absence Management Procedures & Policies Up To Date

As you can tell, effectively managing employee absences can be a minefield. Taking the wrong action could cost your business in many ways. It’s not just the immediate cost of the absence that affects your business. However, repeated staff absences can also negatively affect the people they work with, as they have to shoulder the extra workload. Acting in a way that could be deemed discriminatory could also cost your business should the matter be taken to a tribunal. So what can your business do to tick all the boxes and ensure you’re managing staff absence in a cost effective manner that increases presenteeism within your business?


Attendance Pro is the absence management software, created by the HR experts at the ELAS Group. With Attendance Pro, you can easily record employee absences from start to finish, without ever having to break a sweat. Our system manages the day to day, time-consuming tasks that come with absence management.

But what are the benefits of using Attendance Pro?

You get access to:

  • A 24 hour phone line that your employees call to report their absences, removing the need for your staff to deal with these calls
  • Transparent reporting system that provides bespoke reports when you need them
  • 24 hour support from our team of employment law and occupational health experts
  • Our team of absence management advisors, dedicated to reducing absence within your business
  • Real-time absence updates
  • Automated notifications when an occupational health referral may be required

It has also been proven to:

  • Help reduce absenteeism within businesses by as much as 62%
  • Effectively manage the absence process from start to finish
  • Save time and money for your business
  • Help get your employees back in work quickly and safely
  • Identify absence trends before they become a problem
  • Reduce your in house administration needs

Think your business could benefit from Attendance Pro? Register your interest here, call our team for a chat on 0161 785 2000 or complete the contact form and a member of our team will be in touch to discuss your requirements.


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