Are there any members of your team that you feel take too many sick days? It’s a more common problem than you might think. And of course, it’s a tricky one to deal with.

Reports have shown that the current sickness absence figures are at the highest rate they’ve been for more than a decade now. It’s at an average of 7.3 days a year per employee. That averages at a cost of around £781 per employee. That’s a lot. So, what can you do if you feel an employee is taking too much sick leave?

The first thing you need to do is implement good absence management. That will stop other employees becoming overwhelmed with picking up the slack when others take time off. An absence management policy will also leave your people with a clear understanding of what will happen if and when they take any time off. This might include a return-to-work interview, monitoring the number of days off someone takes each year, and looking out for trends of people taking unplanned time off.

You may also look out for signs of exhaustion, a bad atmosphere, and low energy levels, which can all contribute to people calling in sick. If you notice a trend with individuals taking routine or excessive time off, talk it out with them. Explain to them that you’ve noticed a trend and ask what you can do to help. Remember not to jump to conclusions – there may be a legitimate reason for the absence and you want your employees to feel comfortable to tell you. If none of the above works though, it might be time to make it formal. If it gets to this point, please take professional HR advice before you make any decisions – the last thing you want is to end up at an employment tribunal!

As always, if you need further help or advice on this, or any other HR matter, just give us a call on 03332005153