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‘Sickie day’ warning to employers

North west employers are being reminded of the importance of proper sickness absence procedures as ‘National Sickie Day’ arrives.

The first Monday in February is often referred to in this way in the business community, due to the high absentee rates.

It is estimated such high rates can cost businesses millions of pounds. Kimberley Barrett-St.Vall, partner in the Employment & HR team at Napthens solicitors, said it’s important for businesses to ensure that their procedures for dealing with sickness absence are up-to-date and efficient.

She explained: “Many days are lost for businesses because of sickness absence, something which can be a serious issue for many employers.

“In fact, this is probably the most common topic my team advises our clients on. While there are of course plenty of genuine reasons for taking time off for sickness, it’s also true that there are also cases which are not.

“There are steps that an employer can take to limit these so-called “sickie” days, starting with the basics and ensuring a robust approach to return-to-work meetings is taken.

“A good tip to “sift out” those employees who may be swinging the lead is not to accept sickness absence reporting through text messages and have this set out in your sickness absence policy – also ensure staff consistently follow the full sickness absence process.

“At a time when many businesses are facing the uncertainties of Brexit and a still-recovering economy, it’s important for employers and staff to work together to limit the impact sickness absence could have.”