One of the most often seen and most often abused policies in a workplace is the sick leave policy. With poor tracking and enforcement, the workplace could end up with problems with efficiency and morale, not to mention money wasted paying someone who is abusing the system. Luckily, there are ways to make sure that a company can enforce its sick leave policy and make a more efficient workforce.
Clarity is key
One of the best strategies for enforcing a sick leave policy is to make it as clear as possible. In particular, The Balance Careers recommends having a clear policy to ensure confidence when disciplining employees with attendance problems. The publication adds, though, that the policy should be somewhat flexible, since it is impossible to predict every possible scenario.
In addition to being clear on what your company’s sick leave policy is, it is just as important to enforce it equally among employees. TrackSmart, an attendance-tracking software company, points out that not doing so could open the door to fines or lawsuits alleging discrimination. On a less serious note, having an employee that is consistently abusing their sick leave could negatively affect the overall morale of the rest of the employees, who would resent the perennial absentee’s special treatment.
Dig deeper into problems
In the event of an employee taking excessive sick leave, the initial reaction might be to punish the employee outright. However, it is important that you first understand the reason why the employee is abusing their leave. To achieve this, employee-scheduling software manufacturer Deputy recommends using a return-to-work interview, held as soon as possible after your employee’s return from their excessive sick leave. Deputy points out that, often, the employee will be suffering with a chronic physical or mental issue that could shed light on their behavior.
Stop illness before it strikes
Another good way to help enforce a sick leave policy is to prevent it needing used in the first place. To accomplish this, TrackSmart recommends taking various measures to contain and limit the spread of contagious diseases. For example, provide employees and customers with sinks to wash hands, hand sanitizer dispensers and tissues. For a less material approach, you could just train employees in preventative measures to limit the spreading and contracting illnesses.
Keep records of days missed, reasons given for taking sick days, meetings to discuss unusual sick leave and providing the number of paid sick days available to the employee on their pay stubs. According to The Balance Careers, this point is not just good sick leave policy enforcement advice, but good human resource advice in general, as documentation provides management with written support in the event of punishment, promotion, pay raises and such.
Enforcing a sick leave policy need not be an adversarial, hostile process. With these tips, you have a foundation for a solid and fair system, boosting workplace happiness and productivity.