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At what point should I start reviewing an employee who is of...

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Posted on 04 November 2021

Custom and practice relates to long standing working arrangements and practices that have become the norm.  These customs and practices may therefore... Continue reading >

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At what point should I start reviewing an employee who is off on long term sick?

Posted on 04 November 2021

Ideally, start reviewing long term absence cases and managing them proactively on a monthly basis by holding informal review meetings to see how your ... Continue reading >

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04
Nov, 2021

At what point should I start reviewing an employee who is off on long term sick?

Posted by Helen in Absence Management

Ideally, start reviewing long term absence cases and managing them proactively on a monthly basis by holding informal review meetings to see how your member of staff is progressing.  

If a Fit Note indicates that the employee is going to be off work for 4 weeks or more and it looks likely that this period will be extended, then the next stage is to ask for their consent to get a medical report from either their own GP or from an occupational health provider to understand what the timescales for a recovery may be and what recommendations there may be for any assistance or adjustments that can be made to help the employee return to work e.g. a phased return, a period of homeworking, any particular equipment or support which would help etc.

How long you reasonably have to wait for someone to return the work depends on ‘the size and resources of the employer’, therefore if you are having difficulty in covering the role due to it being a small team, the extent of overtime costs, the availability of a temporary worker etc., then this timescale could be quite short but a fair and open consultation process should be followed if termination of employment on grounds of capability did become necessary to consider. 

You of course will also want to take into account how valuable this employee is to your business, they may have a wealth of knowledge and experience that would be hard to replace and therefore you could afford to wait a little to see them return or help them return with temporary or permanent reduced hours etc.  

If the employee has an existing disability or has developed a health condition which could amount to a disability, an employer has a duty to consider reasonable adjustments to the employee’s role or working arrangements – see our separate post called What are Reasonable Adjustments? for further information.