During the cooler months, it is not surprising that the number of employees who call in sick seems to go up.
The occasional day spent away from the office won’t do much to hurt a business, but it can become a problem if a staff member starts to abuse this entitlement.
In Australia, your average full-time employee is entitled to ten days’ paid personal leave – which can be used as sick or paid carer’s leave – per year.
For those working in a part-time capacity, this arrangement changes slightly and is based on a pro-rata entitlement to sick leave based on the number of hours they work.
According to recent research, the main reasons staff take paid leave are to care for a family member or friend, run personal errands or take a so-called ‘mental health’ day – the latter often refers to managing stress levels in the workplace.
Take a look at this article on excess sick leave and why employers need to pay attention to it.
Most employers realise that there are times when people simply get sick and cannot perform their usual duties. They are more than happy to support their staff through these difficult times in their life.
However, workplace issues can arise if a staff member is repeatedly abusing paid leave arrangements.
When questioned about leave, some employees will claim they are suffering from workplace stress or even harassment.
And while it can be hard to prove if someone is actually ill, the fact of the matter is that problem employees can easily take advantage of your goodwill and cost your business thousands of dollars in leave and entitlements.
To avoid this issue from escalating, you will need to put clear and effective procedures in place that make it clear to all staff that they have an obligation to treat leave seriously and not abuse a workplace benefit.
A great way to resolve this dispute is to have an interview or meeting with the employee in question. To make the most of these interviews, it is paramount that you record them accurately. Use our free Interview Record Template to ensure that you capture what happens in the meeting and are able to clarify with the employee about the next steps that will be taken.