How to manage an employee who goes off sick during a performance improvement procedure
Author: Darren Newman
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- In cases of short-term absence, be prepared to extend any review period by an amount equivalent to the duration of the absence, or make appropriate adjustments to any performance targets that have been set.
- Rearrange review meetings that the employee has missed through absence.
- Do not assume that absence is a deliberate ruse to avoid scrutiny. Treat it as a disciplinary matter only if there is clear evidence of wrongdoing.
- Suspend any review or assessment period if the employee is absent on a long-term basis.
- Where it appears that the performance improvement procedure itself is contributing to the employee's absence, seek an occupational health assessment as soon as possible and consider adjustments to the procedure.
- Review the standards and targets set for the employee to ensure that they are fair and in line with the performance of other employees.
- Be prepared to make reasonable adjustments to the employee's role if the employee has a disability affecting their ability to meet the standards currently required.
- Before dismissing an absent employee, consider if redeployment to a suitable alternative role would allow them to return to work.
- Consider dismissal if it becomes clear that there is no realistic prospect of the employee returning to work.
- Obtain a medical report assessing the prospects of the employee's return before making any decision to dismiss.
- If raising the possibility of reaching a settlement agreement, take care not to give the impression that the organisation has lost confidence in the employee or the capability procedure.
- If an employee is unwilling to discuss terms, continue with the absence procedure or performance improvement procedure as appropriate.