Sickness Absence and Returning to Work
If you are business owner or employer, you will know that long sickness absence can place a huge financial and practical burden upon you. As well as dealing with the additional workload imposed upon you by an employee’s absence, you still need to do all can to facilitate their return to work. Additionally, you need to keep abreast of all the current legislation, especially disability rights at work.
Our top tips are:
- Ensure you have an up-to-date, comprehensive Sickness Policy, and that it is followed
- Honestly discuss how to facilitate a return to work
- Ensure you are compliant with the Occupational Health changes coming in April 2015 (see below)
- Seek our advice early to minimise complications or disputes
A new Health and Work Service is being introduced by the Government from December 2014, which will provide general advice to employers, employees and GPs on their respective rights and responsibilities concerning long term sickness absence.
At Parrott & Coales, our highly experienced team of employment lawyers will keep you up to date with the new rules and advise you on how to draw up sickness policies in accordance with the law, as well as offering expert legal advice on how to proceed with a dispute.
However sympathetic your approach, you may find yourself in dispute with an employee during their sickness absence, or even facing a disability discrimination claim, if for instance, your employee believes that you have not made reasonable adjustments to enable them to return to work.
In an extreme case, your relationship with your employee could break down completely, possibly because your employee feels that you are checking up on him too often during his absence, or because he feels that you are not keeping him adequately informed about the conditions for his return to work.
The Health and Work Service will be fully operational from April 2015, which means that you should act now to ensure that your sickness absence policies are compliant.
Please contact us now if you need advice on drafting a new sickness absence policy, or if you are involved in a dispute. Our advice could save you a great deal of money, time and stress.