Sunday, June 22, 2008

What can an employer do when a staff is frequently on sick leave?

What can an employer do when a staff is frequently on sick leave? Photobucket

Human resource practitioners generally agree on these steps:

1. Fact-finding on the extent of the sickness.Staff’s medical history for the present and past years to see whether there is a pattern.

2. If necessary, you may have to talk to the clinic about the staff’s health condition. For example, you may want to know:
o Does the staff normally go to one clinic for his medical certificate or does he go to many?
o When is the medical leave usually granted? Is there a trend, such as after every weekend or public holiday? o How does the staff tell his employer about the medical leave? By contacting his supervisor directly or through friends or only when he returns to work?

3. Talk to the staff about his health.It is important at this point not to be antagonistic. As HR practitioners, concern and empathy must be shown to the staff.

4. It is also important to note that the staff may not be very forthcoming with information at the beginning, so patience must also be exercised.
o If he claims that there is nothing wrong with his health, only then do you show him the data collected and ask for a confirmation from him. You should caution him that the management is aware about the medical leave taken and would want him to change. If his attitude does not improve, you may need to assign him to a particular clinic for his medical visitations, telling him that visits to other clinics will not be recognised. Make him understand the implications of such frequent absences from work and get his agreement in writing on the conditions laid down. Have the meeting documented and served to him as evidence of such discussion and agreement. And finally, closely monitor the progress of his attendance and his behaviour.
o On the other hand, if the staff actually admits to having some health problems, you should offer to refer him to a specialist for a complete medical check-up. The medical report should determine the extent of the staff’s health condition. Most times, the staff should recover with little further intervention. Sometimes, all that may be required is to transfer the staff to another position within the company. But there will be the rare occasion when the staff may need to be medically boarded out. Many companies may be loathe to do this but this solution may be the fairest to both the company and the staff. Medically boarding out an unfit staff is a traumatic experience and the company may well have to provide counselling to the affected staff. You may be required to pay his retrenchment benefits as well as to help him apply for his SOCSO benefits.

5. To summarize:
• In an organization Effective communication is important as when you built up a case for your employee it will expose your department for others to judge and review. So managers/supervisors think twice before you commit any action.

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