Managing unauthorised absence – the morning after the night before

So how was the Christmas Party?  Everyone turn up for work the next day?  We’d guess most did show up – maybe late with sore heads, sorry faces, a distinct lack of work being done! But hey, once a year and the team deserved it.

It is a brazen employee who ‘chucks a sicky’ after the work Christmas do. But whilst the highest sickness absences are recorded at the start of February (National Sicky Day is the first Monday in February – FYI) it isn’t uncommon for organisations to experience high levels of sickness absence at this time of year too.

Your starting point will be to assume the majority of sickness absence is genuine, but how do you manage the less than plausible sick days?

Does the organisation you have a sickness absence policy?  This is the first port of call. Do you set out the expectations for acceptable absence and the consequences of not following the policy? Is it policy to insist people call in personally? We’d advise not accepting text messages or people having someone else call in for them.  Do you ask people to complete a Self Certificate form to return to work, and do you then record and monitor absences. We would advise you do both of these, so that you have a clear picture of the absence levels in the business, and for each employee.  Do you carry out a back to work interview? This has been successful in reducing non-genuine sickness absence significantly.

In short – ensure your staff know you are taking absence seriously and taking action as appropriate.

Read more. If you have yet to have your Christmas Party yet, then this blog might be of greater interest.

For more about HR issues at this time of year in a small or medium-size company, contact us. or call 0845 463 9365.  

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