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Charlie Duff

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HR tip: Regular absenteeism


These questions are being answered by Learn HR, a market leader in the provision of HR and payroll training and nationally-recognised professional qualifications.


A couple of our employees quite regularly are absent on Fridays and Mondays, claiming minor illnesses. One likes to spend time in his caravan and the other visits her mother miles away at weekends so we suspect that they use sickness as an excuse for a long weekend. However, we have no proof, so can we take any action against them?


Actually you have all the proof you need to take action. Regardless of the reason, people should not have excessive time off. In any case, the pattern of Fridays and Mondays gives you sufficient grounds for suspecting that the illnesses are not genuine. Get each individual in and present him or her with a written record of the absences, for example by copying a calendar and marking in red the days of absence. This is useful if, for example, the employee is not fully aware of the amount of time lost. Give an informal warning that you will not tolerate further long-weekend absences and, if there is insufficient improvement, proceed with your formal disciplinary procedure.

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One Response

  1. Long weekend sickness

    We have for the past 5 years implemented the Bradford Factor Scoring method for sickness, (together with a return from sickness meeting).  This method highlights regular sick days and once reaching a triger point the employees is interviewed and the record of sickness including particular days are thoroughly discussed.  All employees are told during their induction that this method of recording sickness absence is used.  Our Managers are very motivated by this method and our absenteesim is well below 1%.

    The Bradford score is calculated by multiplying the number of the absences by the total number of days taken i..e

    1 absence with 1 day off = 1    1 x 1 x 1 = 1

    3 absences with 3 days off = 27   3 x 3 x 3 = 27

    4 absences with 6 days off =  96  4 x 4 x 6 =  96

    The trigger point instigates and investigation and genuine illnesses are not affected.

    It works very well for all

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Charlie Duff


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