Absences and Performance Advice For Employers
Productivity in your workplace can be significantly impacted by absences and poor performance and so ensuring you have all of the necessary tools in place to best manage these in the interests of your business is of considerable value.
How can absences and poor performance best be managed?
Whilst there may be some specific issues within your industry and your business which will need to be considered, more generally, the below are helpful things to take into account when looking at how absences and poor performance can be reduced and dealt with promptly and effectively:
- Having clear, accessible, comprehensive and up-to-date contract of employment, sickness absence policy, disciplinary policy and performance management procedure to ensure that both the employee and the business are clear on what is expected and what to do if there is an employee absence or employee poor performance.
- Applying the policies effectively, if you have the right to hold employee absence records, make sure that monitoring takes place and is accurately recorded and that managers and any HR personnel you employ are trained regularly in this area.
- Conduct thorough back to work interviews to ensure that for example, you are aware of what an employee’s sickness has involved, what treatment or medication they have had or are continuing to receive and whether they are recovered or when they are likely to be fully recovered. If there are adjustments that need to be made discuss these with the employee and if necessary, take medical advice too.
- Request that an employee visit occupational health or a doctor funded by your business, in order that a more thorough investigation into an employee’s health can be carried out and suggestions made as to how an employee can return to work if absences are persistent in terms of length or frequency.
- Ensure that employees are aware of how to raise a grievance or informally resolve issues at work. It may be that absences and poor performance are being caused by another issue at work that requires resolving. An open dialogue and good communication with employees can nip issues in the bud earlier and cause less disruption to your business.
- Initiatives to encourage better engagement at work, such as discretionary bonuses or commissions based on team and individual performance might be helpful to incentivise employees too.
How can we help you with employee absences and poor performance?
First and foremost, having clear and comprehensive employment contracts and policy documents are key to setting out expectations in this area of the employment relationship. Our employment contract solicitors can draft, review and update these employment documents for you to ensure that they are robust and fully compliant with employment law, if applied as drafted.
We can guide you through the processes if employees have frequent short absences or a long-term absence you are concerned about. Involving a solicitor at an early stage will minimise your risks of claims by employees in the Employment Tribunal, particularly relating to disability discrimination or pregnancy and maternity discrimination.
If an employee is not reaching their expected level of performance, a full and fair process to allow the employee time to improve with support such as training and one to one meetings, and a performance improvement plan might be implemented. We can support in drafting and guiding you through this process.
Depending on the circumstances, poor performance might be a disciplinary issue. If you are considering taking disciplinary action relating to performance, it is prudent to take specialist employment advice first, again to minimise the risk of costly Employment Tribunal claims.
If an employee’s absence or performance is not something which can be quickly and easily resolved, it might be that you consider offering the employee a settlement agreement. In the circumstances this might be financially advisable to avoid the risk of future claims from that employee and to be able to move forwards promptly without further distraction and disruption to your business.
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