Managing excessive and prolonged Sick Leave can be a tough process for many employers to manage, especially when it has an impact on the team and business operations.

If you have a sick leave policy, this can help guide you through the steps when you are not sure how to deal with excessive Sick Leave. There are genuine cases when Sick Leave is a result of illness, injury or an accident. Each case must be dealt with accordingly.

Over the past few months, we have helped clients with managing Sick Leave when it has become excessive and there are patterns and behaviours that do not add up.

I have always advised clients to make sure that they have documented (email or kept a record) when someone is away on Sick Leave frequently. This way you can identify if there are patterns when sick days are taken if you are concerned that the Sick Leave is not genuine.

Do raise your concerns as early as possible and discuss the patterns you are noticing, especially if it is impacting their ability to perform or if it is affecting others around them.

The key is in the delivery. Calmly presenting the facts will give you better results than in a stern or aggressive manner.

Having a sick leave policy in place will help guide you with following your process, but it is important to stick to your process (if you don’t have a policy, we can help put one together for you). Your policy will help guide you in the first instance on how to manage the situation. And if you need further assistance in the matter, that’s where we come in.

Your Sick Leave Policy can:

  • Confirm at what point to request a medical certificate
  • Confirm process for calling in sick i.e., calling their direct manager and not texting
  • Confirm the timeframes of when to start having formal meetings
  • Confirm Sick Leave entitlements.

Sick Leave, when managed effectively, can be resolved quickly. However, there are steps and processes you will need to follow. With the pending changes to the Sick Leave entitlements (5 days to 10 days), I would encourage you to review and update your Sick Leave Policy. If you don’t have one, I would highly recommend that you get one. Again, we can help you with that.