HomeHome SearchSearch MenuMenu Our productsOur products

Revealed: Your 12-step strategy for dealing with sick leave abuse

by , 28 January 2014
Sick leave abuse is a problem you CANNOT afford to ignore in your workplace. Here are 12 steps you can use to curb this problem.

Hub Pages says the only real way to address abusive sick leave usage is to hold the employees accountable for their actions.

The site adds that 'employees who consistently call for an unscheduled day off become a real liability because they no longer can be considered dependable. Sick leave abusers also create morale issues for those who work side-by-side with them. Resentment can build over time in the workplace and spread like a cancer when the bad behavior goes unchecked by management.'

Don't let this happen in your workplace!

Address sick leave abuse with this 12-step strategy

Step#1: Keep a proper record of absence from work

You need to get a sense of the size and cost of your absenteeism problem. Start by keeping proper records of absence from work.

Step#2: Conduct audits at least once a year

In addition to the information you gather on a regular basis (Step#1), you must from time to time (at least once a year) do an audit in your company.

This helps you establish whether there are factors in your work environment that might contribute to your absenteeism problem.

Step#3: Conduct return to work interviews

It's useful to introduce a Return to Work Interview for the employee's immediate supervisor to complete each time an employee returns from sick leave.

Step#4: Take early action against an employee who contravenes your rules

You must introduce a rule in your company that requires employees to contact their immediate supervisors, or another designated person in your organisation, to report their absence for the day.

Step#5: Set a clear absenteeism standard

You must set an absenteeism standard for your organisation. This will serve several purposes:

  • It's a threshold which, if transgressed, triggers formal counselling.
  • You can use it to manage the cost of absenteeism.
  • It alerts employees to the fact that you're managing absenteeism.

Step#6: Develop a procedure to address the problem

You must develop a policy and procedure to address the problem in a systematic manner. It's a good idea to include an Attendance Improvement Plan in your procedure.

Keep reading to find out what the other six steps are...


This year, you will contribute to R19 billion spent in sick leave
Sounds impossible, I know. I didn't believe it either. But R19 billion is what sick leave costs South African companies a year. This is equal to the amount medical aids paid to suppliers in 2010.
And did you know R57million of that is from employees taking 'sick days' off purely because they just didn't feel like coming in to work?
Stop your employees abusing sick leave today! Our experts will show you how…

Step #7: Set requirements for medical certificates

Make sure the medical certificate has these requirements.

Step#8: Inform your employees of their rights and responsibilities

You must tell your staff about their rights and responsibilities with regard to sick leave.

Step#9: Separate the real cases from the rest and take action

You must be able to determine employees who are genuinely sick from those who may be faking it.

Step#10: Provide incentives

An effective absenteeism management procedure requires you to offer some incentives for those who pull their weight. This will hopefully also encourage the problem cases to change their ways.

Step#11: Make additions to your contracts of employment

It's useful to include in your contract of employment a provision in which employees agree to disclose a diagnosis and to submit to a second opinion when required.

Who pays? You must pay if your employee uses your preferred practitioner. And your employee must pay if she wants to use her own.

Request a diagnosis only in those cases where you believe there may be a more acute underlying problem, or where you suspect sick leave abuse.

Step#12: Give feedback to staff

The information you get through monitoring (step#1 and #2) will help you and your managers see if the absenteeism problem is being addressed.

Then conduct report-back sessions with your staff from time to time to appraise their efforts to reduce absenteeism and to address their queries.

Failure to address sick leave abuse will bring your company to its knees. Don't take that risk. Use this 12 step strategy to manage sick leave abuse in your workplace.

Enjoyed this article? Subscribe to receive these free articles in your inbox daily.

Related articles

Related articles

Watch And Learn

Related Products


Recommended for You 

  Quick Tax Solutions for Busy Taxpayers – 35 tax answers at a glance

Here are all the most interesting, thought-provoking and common tax questions
asked by our subscribers over the last tax year – everything from A to Z!

To download Quick Tax Solutions for Busy Taxpayers – 35 tax answers at a glance click here now >>>
  Employees always sick? How to stop it today

Make sure you develop a leave policy to regulate sick leave in your company.

BONUS! You'll find an example of the leave policy and procedure in this report.

To download Employees always sick? How to stop it today click here now >>>
  Absenteeism: Little known ways to reduce absenteeism

This FREE e-report will tell you how you can reduce absenteeism in your workplace while avoiding the CCMA and without infringing your employees' labour rights.

To download Absenteeism: Little known ways to reduce absenteeism click here now >>>
  7 Health & safety strategies to save you thousands

Don't let a health and safety incident cost you one more cent. Implement these seven
strategies in your company today.

To download 7 Health & safety strategies to save you thousands click here now >>>