Sickness absence is often the most common HR issue reported by employers. We recognise that when workers are off sick it can put a big strain on the business resource, and on other staff. That is why it is important to have clear policies in place and to deal with issues of sickness as they arise.

Absence management

We can support you with absence management by:

  • ensuring your sickness management policies are up to date
  • advising on any modifications to your sickness management or sick pay policies
  • supporting your managers with return to work meetings
  • advising on issues of absence management, including where sickness absence is genuine but frequent and for various reasons, and where you suspect absences may not be genuine (“malingering”)
  • advising on issues of sickness where the real reason may be something else e.g. the employee’s pregnancy, or the needs of the employee to work flexibly
  • advising on when a formal capability process might be appropriate, and dealing with any issues that may follow subsequently
  • advising on how to handle a situation where someone goes off sick due to facing a formal process (for example, a disciplinary).

We have trusted recommendations for Occupational Health providers and knowledge of the Government’s Access to Work scheme. We can also provide support in running HR processes (such as return to work interviews or capability meetings) through Ashtons HR Consulting.

Disability discrimination

We can provide support for your business if the individual’s illness transpires to be more long term and likely amounts to a disability under the Equality Act 2010. We can support your business in terms of signposting issues to be mindful of, assisting with referrals to Occupational Health to ensure that the right questions are asked, looking at reasonable adjustments, and considering whether policies should be modified.

We can also provide support for your business is looking at reasonable adjustments that could be made to policies and infrastructure generally if you are looking to be a more equal opportunities employer.

Mental health

Mental health is as important as physical health but it brings with it a separate set of considerations. We have a lot of experience in supporting businesses where staff members are suffering from mental ill health, such as stress at work, depression, anxiety, bipolar disorder and schizophrenia. Sometimes the illness (typically stress or anxiety) will be connected to one factor, such as an overburden of work or an issue with another member of staff, and we can advise on the best way to deal with the other issue and see the individual back to work. Other illnesses are more permanent, and where mental ill health amounts to a disability under the Equality Act 2010, we can advise on the careful consideration that needs to be taken, such as in relation to reasonable adjustments.

Training

We are also pleased to offer absence management training for managers and mental health at work training in connection with Ashtons HR Consulting. This can be held at your premises or at our office and is bespoke so as to be based around your policies and issues you currently face.


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