Sick of Sick Leaves: When An Employer Draws the Line

by 48 Minutes | Monday, Apr 17, 2017 | 42 views

Sick Employee

Even the best employee gets sick. It is for this reason that sick leaves exist: to allow them to recuperate, and gain enough strength to return to work.

The mandatory employee benefit provides workers with five days of sick leave, depending on how long an individual worked for the same employer. With the law entitling the workforce, employers have no choice but to abide. After all, it is a win-win situation for both the employer and the employee: when the worker can rest, the boss can expect better performance upon return.

But what if your employee suffers from a long-term illness or is frequently (but not continuously) absent?

Some employee absences are sensitive. Certain situations will require careful consideration, and, in contentious cases, the need for employment dispute solutions.

Sick For Too Long: Medical Incapacity

Employers should feel sympathy for workers suffering from long-term illnesses or injuries. While there should be understanding on your part, you can’t hold the employee’s job open indefinitely either. You still have a business to run.

Dismissal seems like a viable option, especially if you have enough justification. But it is also important to consider the circumstances, prioritize fairness, and also think about the business’s economic interests. During the assessment, take the following factors into consideration:

  • Nature of employment (Was your worker in a key position?)
  • Terms of employment agreement
  • Nature of the illness or injury; was the illness or injury work related?
  • Duration of employment
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If the dismissal is suitable, reach out to the employee. Set out the facts and also allow the employee to speak his or her mind.

Periodic Sick Leaves

Employees that regularly, but not continuously, leave work due to an illness makes drawing the line a challenge. Provisions in the Holidays Act 2003 allow employees to prove sickness with medical certificates, which keeps employers from pursuing dismissals.

As the employer, you will need more proof to show the court that an employee has been irresponsible with his or her leaves (e.g. filing for sick leave to go on a holiday).

Employment processes concerning sick leaves should be flexible, but firm at the same time. Before you can apply relevant policies and carry out a disciplinary action, know the right way to do so to maintain fairness at all times.

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