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Three ways to deal with sick leave abuse before it affects your business

by , 12 August 2013
Did you know that South African companies suffer costs of between 6% and 10% of payroll because of absenteeism? That's right. Absenteeism is costing companies BIG money. Here's how to stop your employees from abusing sick leave.

If you want to manage the problem of absenteeism effectively, identify and deal with the causes and take remedial action against employees. Dealing with the causes is usually more cost effective than merely tackling the symptoms, says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

Here's an effective three-step approach to do this…

Manage sick leave abuse in your workplace using these three steps

#1: Keep proper records

Get a sense of the size and cost of your absenteeism problem. This means keep proper records of your employee's absence from work. You can use your attendance registers to get this information.

Transfer the details to a document called a Sick Leave Absenteeism Record. Capture the following information into this record:

  • The duration of absence;
  • Trends, for example, which days or periods are most 'popular' for sick leave;
  • Costs of the sick leave absence (a rough estimate will do); and
  • The type of illnesses that occur most frequently (if this information is available)

#2: Conduct return to work interviews

Introduce a Return to Work Interview Form for the employee's immediate supervisor to complete each time he returns from sick leave. This is aform of 'visible' management of the problem.

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

Introduce a rule in your company that requires employees contact their immediate supervisors to report their absence for the day.

Stipulate an hour before which this must happen and make it clear your employee must provide a satisfactory explanation if he fails to make the report himself. Your employee must repeat this procedure for each day of absence.

'Of course, you may decide to relieve your employee of this duty if it's clear to you that he's genuinely ill and that a daily report would be unnecessary or impractical,' says the Practical Guide to Human Resources Management.

Remember, even if your absent employee produces a medical certificate to justify the absence, the failure to report is in itself a disciplinary offence that may lead to dismissal if it is repeated.

Sick leave abuse is costly. Be sure to use these methods to deter employees who abuse sick leave.

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