Even the healthiest of us get sick from time to time, so it is only natural that your employees will need to take the occasional sick day. However, if a particular employee seems to be taking an excessive amount of sick days, it is your responsibility as their manager or HR professionals to find out what is really going on. Of course, if your employee truly is suffering from health problems, you’ll want to be as compassionate and accommodating as possible.
Unfortunately, though, many employees try to abuse the system by taking sick days when they are not actually ill. In these cases, they have likely run out of paid leave but still wish to take time off while getting paid for it. If you suspect that this is what may be occurring, here’s how to approach the situation as delicately as possible.
Conduct a Thorough Investigation
The first step is to confirm that an employee really is taking sick days when they shouldn’t be. You can’t just take their coworkers’ word. If you have access, check the employee’s social media accounts to see if they are posting anything that a sick person would not be doing, like attending a wedding or going for a hike. If you find any evidence, take screenshots so that you will have documentation in case the person removes the posts later on.
Ask for Evidence
It is well within your rights as an HR manager to ask your employees to verify that they were indeed sick when they claimed to be. This can be as simple as a note from their doctor that they came in for treatment or received a prescription. If the employee truly was sick, this should be no problem to obtain.
Meet with the Employee
If you suspect that an employee is taking sick days when they are not actually sick, give them a chance to explain their side of events. Perhaps it was a loved one who was sick that they were taking care of. The employee may have had legitimate reasons for needing the day off, so don’t immediately jump to the conclusion that they just wanted to go out and have a good time instead of coming in to work.
Check for Other Issues
Absentee rates among employees are often influenced by how those employees are feeling about their jobs overall. Is there something that the employee feels is missing that could make them enjoy their work more? Do they feel that they are being compensated appropriately for their work? If an employee is not satisfied in their employment, this could be the reason behind their frequent absences, so do your best to find out what the root cause is.
Issue a Warning
It is unlawful to terminate an employee for taking legitimate sick leave. However, abusing this privilege for other purposes can potentially be grounds for termination if you follow the proper HR procedures. In most organisations, you’ll need to take preliminary steps, like issuing formal warnings before jumping straight to termination. Be sure to check your company’s official policies to ensure that you follow correct procedures.
Combat Other HR Issues
Hiring an HR consultant, can help you put into place policies to ensure your business is getting the most out of your employees. Our team of HR specialists can also assist with communicating those policies to your employees so that they fully understand what is expected of them. Get in touch with us today to learn more about how we can help your organisation.