It can cause so much disruption to the nursery when one member of staff phones in sick. It is therefore important to ensure that it is well managed and absence levels kept under control. If you have employees who are regularly off sick it can really affect the morale of those who are left to cover their workload, and staff can see managers failing to deal with it as a weakness in their leadership.
Steps to take
Your absence policy should set out what the nursery expects from employees, explaining what they must do if they are sick, who they must contact and by what time. I would also recommend including this procedure in the employment contract discussed at induction.
One way to start controlling absence is by conducting a return-to-work interview on the employee's first day back at work, even if they have only been off for one day.Managers need to be investigative and counselling in their approach during the interview, to help uncover any underlying health or work problems an employee might have. The purpose of the interview is to:
- Enable the employee to explain the reason for their absence.
- Ensure the employee is well enough to be back at work and see if they need any further support. In the case of a long-term sick absence, or recovery from a serious or traumatic illness, some people may benefit from coming back on different hours to help them readjust to work.
- Assess whether the reason given is genuine.
- Complete a return-to-work interview form.
- Emphasise the importance of attendance and why it is continually monitored.
- Raise any concerns about their attendance record and decide if further action is needed.
You must be fair and consistent, and treat all staff the same. By regularly monitoring absence all you will start to see a decline in staff sick days, which will save you money.