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How to manage employees on long-term sickness absence

Author: Claire Birkinshaw


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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 they comply 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 if the employee's illness may amount to a disability within the meaning of the Equality Act 2010.
  • Think about whether to offer a phased return to work and access to an employee assistance programme, where available, to provide support.
  • If the employee returns to work, hold a return-to-work meeting.
  • 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.