When running a business, your staff will be absent from time to time. This might be due to a short term illness, or a long term illness. Short term absence isn’t so bad, but long term absence can be hard to deal with. You need to be careful, as you don’t want to get in trouble for handling this situation the wrong way. Let’s take a legitimate look at how you can deal with staff absence so you don’t get into any trouble:
Do You Need a Replacement?
First, consider whether you need to get a temporary replacement in for the employee. Will their absence make a huge difference to your workload? If so, you should put an add out but be clear that the position is temporary.
Keep Ill Employee Updated
It’s your job to keep the ill employee updated. You can’t make them feel guilty for not being at work, but you do need to keep them updated with what’s going on and things like their sick pay. Sometimes, it’s best to simply stay in touch with them and monitor their recovery, giving them all the time that they need. This of course, depends on the situation. If they are out of work due to an injury obtained while working for you, you’ll need to deal with things differently.
Discuss Their Return
You don’t want to make your employee feel pressured, but at some point you are going to need to discuss their return. When do they think they will be able to return to work? You might want to ask for their permission to contact their GP, who should be able to tell you more about their condition and when to expect them back at work. There are occupational health services some businesses use, which you could also choose to use to help you. They should be able to give you an idea of the condition of the employee. Not only will you need to discuss a timeframe, it’s a good idea to talk about the kind of work they’ll be doing. Will they go back to full time, or part time? Will they reduce their workload? You need to consider what’s best for them in this situation.
Help The Employee
If you can offer help to the employee, then do so. Sometimes, you may be dealing with a series absences or lateness rather than one long absence. If this is the case, the employee may have something going on at home. They may be living in an abusive home, or have problems with alcohol/drugs. If you can ask them if there’s something they’d like to discuss with you in a friendly way, you could try to help them through it. Make sure you actually offer the help you say you will, though. Rather than giving up on a problem employee, helping them in this way could ensure their loyalty for life.
Deal with your staff absence the right way, and you won’t put your reputation or integrity on the line!