Author: Tina Elliott
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- When dealing with an employee with a poor sickness absence record aim to reach a position where the employee is able to return to his or her duties.
- Be aware that dismissal for ill health may be a potentially fair reason for dismissal, but take into account the protection given by the Equality Act 2010, as well as the need to follow fair procedures.
- Be aware that return to work interviews may be helpful when dealing with persistent short-term absences.
- Where there are persistent short-term absences but no underlying medical condition, consider moving towards dismissal based on poor attendance.
- Where the employee is on long-term sickness absence or has intermittent short-term absences due to an underlying medical position, obtain a medical report.
- Where the absence is prolonged, ensure that a fresh medical report is obtained so that decisions are taken in light of up-to-date information.
- Keep in touch with an employee who is off sick on a long-term basis.
- Schedule sickness review meetings to discuss the content of medical reports, and progress and prospects for a return to work.
- Ensure that any warning that continued sickness absence may result in dismissal is given in a sensitive fashion.
- Consider ill health retirement and/or permanent health insurance where appropriate.
- Be aware of the benefits of having a sickness absence policy in place.