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Managing Sickness Absence 2: Dealing with short-term absences

How do you deal with persistent short-term absences?

This episode of the podcast is the second part of a mini series on managing sickness absence at work and in this episode I cover the tricky issue of how to effectively address short-term absences and the stages you need to go through if the absence levels do not improve. 

In this episode I will cover:

  • The importance of having a good sickness procedure in your Handbook or other document.
  • Why having informal exploratory discussions with employees at an early stage are important.
  • What to do when you have to start the formal process.
  • Why you need to be clear on the real reasons for the employees absences.
  • How to check if the employee has a long-term medical condition and/or disability.
  • The importance of obtaining appropriate medical advice.
  • When to consider adjustments for the employee.
  • What to do when you reach the point of dismissal
  • How to minimise your risk of an unfair dismissal claim.

Action Points

  1. Ensure that managers are trained to effectively manage sickness absence – give them the confidence to ask questions;
  2. Have a clear absence management / sickness procedure in your handbook with relevant ‘trigger’ points for the informal and formal procedures;
  3. Keep good records of the volume and reasons for absences;
  4. Seek advice and assistance if you are unsure how to deal with a situation.

We can help with the forms you need, the relevant procedure and training for your managers. Please do not hesitate to get in touch for some real life help for your organisation.

Useful Links

Disability related podcasts:

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You can find an index of all of the podcast topics covered so far here: Podcast Index


In the 4th episode of this mini series I will be covering some listener questions and/or frequently asked questions so if you do have a question please get in touch: or leave a comment below.


If you would like to know more about the HR Harbour Service and how you can get unlimited support from as little as £180 per month please contact me for a no obligation discussion – or you can find full details here: HR Harbour

Don’t forget you can contact us by email or or by telephone 01983 897003, 01722 653001 or 023 8098 2006




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The information contained in this Podcast and post is provided for guidance and is a snapshot of the law at the time. It is provided for your information only and should not be used as a substitute for obtaining legal advice that it specific to your particular circumstances.

The guidance should not be relied upon in any decision making process. It is strongly recommended that you seek advice before taking action.


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