Editor's message: Effectively managing absence in the workplace can save employers significant sums of money in salaries and associated costs. This is the case for both long-term and short-term sickness absence; successfully managing long-term sickness absence gets employees back to work in a timely and productive manner, and for short-term sickness absence, reducing the amount of time lost to casual or inauthentic sickness absence.

The cornerstone of an effective absence management policy and procedure will be the accurate recording and measurement of absence, with triggers set to initiate absence management action when an employee's absence reaches the defined level.

Alongside this is the ability of line managers to have difficult conversations around the reasons for sickness absence in a return-to-work meeting scenario, and when implementing a case management process for those on long-term absence. Line managers need the appropriate training in these areas, as well as an understanding of the organisation's absence policies.

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