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Are you noticing your staff are a little more tired, uninspired and generally a little gloomier than on most Mondays? Well it appears they are not alone. Today has been dubbed “Blue Monday- the most depressing day of the year.”
Psychologist Cliff Arnall has created a formula attributing factors such as debt, poor weather and the Christmas blues as reasons for choosing the third Monday of January.
However, we ask our Head of Employment Law & HR Services, Andrea O’Hare, can one day really be classed as the most depressing day of the year?
“While ‘Blue Monday’ may be seen as a bit of a fad there are statistics to prove that the winter months can have a detrimental effect on employee’s morale and productivity.
Research has shown that 20% of employees have admitted to calling in sick because of the “Christmas Blues” and the annual cost of sickness to businesses has risen to £29 billion.
A robust sickness absence management policy is essential in respect of reporting and recording absences and the duration, so problems can be spotted and addressed at an early stage. It is important for employers to investigate unexpected absences promptly and to ask for an explanation at a return to work interview.
Where there is no acceptable reason for the absence, the employer may wish to treat the matter as a conduct issues and deal with it under the disciplinary procure, albeit that they would need to ensure they were applying this approach consistently.
Care needs to be taken in the assessment of such situations to ensure that absences are not disability related and hence such action discriminatory. Our team can assist clients with the investigation and meeting process and how best to proceed on the basis of the information obtained.”
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