Sick Leave


Absence from work is expensive and can also impact on the rest of the team, affecting morale and service delivery. As an employer your organisation should have in place management policies, which will minimise potential situations that can lead to people taking time off sick.


You are required by law to provide Statutory Sick Pay for eligible employees.


Drawing up a policy on Sick Leave and Absence from Work


Things to consider:


  • when do you need employees to let you know that they will be absent through sickness and how will they do this?  Notification rules should be stated in the contract of employment

  • how will you record sickness absence?

  • will you hold ‘back to work’ interviews? These have been shown to be one of the most effective ways of managing and reducing absence. If you are going to implement these they need to be done consistently

  • will you consider ‘phased returns’ for employees who have been on long term sickness absence?


Fit Notes


If an employee is off sick for more than seven calendar days they need to provide you with a Fit Note (also referred to as a Sick Note or a 'line') from their doctor as evidence. Fit Notes enable the GP to suggest methods or adjustments which may enable the employee to return to work. This may include a phased return.


Managing Work Place Stress


Workplace stress is the main cause of long term absence in non-manual workers and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) estimates that 13.4 million working days per year are lost due to employee stress, anxiety or depression. 


Although there is no legal requirement to have a written policy specifically on stress, having one will help ensure that you comply with your obligations as an employer, and will demonstrate your commitment to best practice towards employees.