How to deal with employees on long-term sickness absence

Author: Claire Birkinshaw

Summary

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  • Check the contract of employment to ascertain what the employee should be paid during long-term incapacity.
  • Maintain regular contact with the employee throughout the period of absence and ensure that he or she complies with the company's sickness absence reporting procedure.
  • Obtain a medical report covering the nature of the employee's illness and the current medical position.
  • Consider whether the employee's illness may amount to a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.
  • If the employee returns to work, hold a return to work interview and offer an employee assistance programme to provide support.
  • Where dismissal is unavoidable, take care to follow the correct procedures and consider all the circumstances of the case.
  • Take specific advice if the employee has the benefit of permanent health insurance cover.