Citation urges employers to prepare for "summer of sickies"
6th June 2012
Hangovers and dodging work following the Euro championships and the Olympics could spark a “summer of sickies", an employment expert predicts.
Lindsay Hill, boss of Citation plc employment law specialists, has issued advice to UK firms about minimising the impact of expected record sick leave during a bumper summer of events, and how to spot fakes.
With the Olympic Games starting in London just weeks after the UEFA European Championships in the Ukraine, UK industry is bracing itself for a wave of unauthorised absences.
Citation is advising employers to make sure they act to minimise the impact of employee absences, but urges caution so as to not overstep any legal boundaries that could see them end up in court.
Anticipated “sick” leave around key Euro 2012 games is compounded by a recent poll which revealed that 30% of employees plan to pull a sickie during the Olympics. Managing director ,Lindsay said: “Many employers are fearing the worst about losing productivity during the summer months due to sickies. We are urging employers to take practical steps in order to mitigate this risk.”
Mr Hill says there are things employers can do, such as reminding staff of their sickness policy before major events or games. Conversely, if employers do think staff are not absent through genuine illness, disciplinary action taken in haste could backfire. Mr Hill continued: “Some people think going off sick is an easy way to recover from a night of celebration, particularly after staying up late watching sport. But evidence is needed that the illness isn’t genuine, and appropriate steps must be taken to ensure employers don’t fall foul of the law. We recommend taking steps to discourage staff from throwing sickies.
“For example, make sure the employee knows they have to speak to a line manager when calling in sick. This makes it much more difficult for staff, and one which tests the nerve as well as the acting skills of the most determined skiver. Insisting on a phone call to notify of sick leave, rather than text or email, is another useful deterrent - and it never hurts morale to provide access to TV coverage in the office at appropriate times .”
In a survey of all Citation customers, employers said that managing sickness was their biggest headache.
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