How to deal with the abuse of sick leave

How to deal with the abuse of sick leave

Business, Human Resources

We have recently discovered a significant increase in cases of leave abuse within companies, more specifically, sick leave. The employee may frequently be absent for short periods, for the same or a variety of reasons; or a pattern of absence develops, e.g. absences before and after weekends or public holidays, or after pay days. This proves to be problematic in terms of operations within the company and may result in loss of revenue. Employers sometimes find it difficult to address this abuse as it is seen to be a “difficult” conversation to have.

In order to combat abuse of sick leave, we suggest organizations implement a sick leave policy to set guidelines on how to manage sick leave. The process of dealing with cases of excessive sick leave should be stipulated in this document. Measures to deal with abuse of leave include:

  • Begin the formal counselling process with any employee who takes excessive intermittent sick leave.
  • Conduct an internal audit of the sick leave taken by individual employees in order to establish patterns and the costs.

We also urge employers to adhere to the below criteria when accepting proof of illness as cases of fraudulent medical certificates is on the rise.

Where a medical certificate is required, the certificate must contain the following information before it should be accepted:

  • name, address, qualifications of medical practitioner (the practitioner, who may be a clinic sister, must be registered with the Health Professions Council of SA)
  • practice number
  • name of the employee
  • date and time of examination
  • whether the certificate was issued after the medical practitioner has personally examined the patient, or is it based merely on what the patient told the practitioner
  • it must state that the employee was too sick or injured to work
  • the exact period of recommended sick leave
  • the date the certificate was issued

HRTorQue can assist with a number of elements of managing sick leave:

  • Policies and Procedures customized per your requirements;
  • An internal audit of sick leave using tools and software to analyze leave;
  • Hands on oversight; handling the conversations with the staff and helping managers deal with this issue;
  • BI tools to monitor and analyse patterns to identify underperforming employees

If you would like some more information on any of our solutions please feel free to call us or email us at [email protected]