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Reducing Sickness Absence - Easy Ways to Cut Costs

A Tips & Advice book about... 

In a nutshell

This book shows how to manage and reduce sickness absence in your workplace. It helps you deal with persistent short-term offending, reduce your sick pay bill and get staff back to work sooner. It also explains your rights and the steps to take should the situation get out of hand. This new edition covers the latest case law on this subject.

In detail

Sickness absence is bad for business. Fraudulent sickness absence is estimated to cost employers £522 per employee annually in direct costs. You need a compelling strategy to manage sickness absence and save your business money. The advice in this book helps you achieve this by explaining how to:

  • Analyse sickness absence in your business
  • Set out a well-drafted sickness absence policy
  • Deal with fit notes
  • Conduct return-to-work interviews
  • Tackle sick pay in the most cost-effective way
  • Avoid discrimination, take disciplinary action or dismiss an employee
  • Promote a healthy workplace

There's no escaping the many problems caused by sickness absence. Aside from the financial burden, it leads to disruption and reduced productivity. You can no longer sit back and let it happen. The advice in this book will help you fight back and safely manage sickness absence.

We've created this Tips & Advice book especially for... 

Business owners, personnel managers, HR officers, company directors, advisors and consultants that want to:

  • Control and limit sickness absence and the associated costs in the workplace

You'll get the following free extras with this Tips & Advice book... 

An online service with ready-to-use documents

  • To immediately apply our advice and solutions in practice
  • That you can easily adapt to suit your own requirements

In this Tips & Advice book you'll read about...

Table of contents


Chapter 1 - Sickness absence: an overview

1.1. Introduction

1.2. What is sickness absence?

1.2.1. Short-term sickness absence

1.2.2. Long-term sickness absence

1.3. The real causes of sickness absence

1.3.1. Genuine sickness absence

1.3.2. Fraudulent sickness absence

1.4. The cost to employers

1.4.1. Direct costs

1.4.2. Indirect costs

1.4.3. Reducing the cost

1.5. A review of sickness absence

1.5.1. Working for a Healthier Tomorrow

1.5.2. Fit notes

1.5.3. Improving Lives: the Future of Work, Health and Disability

Chapter 2 - Analysing sickness absence

2.1. Introduction

2.2. Why analyse sickness absence rates?

2.3. How to calculate sickness absence rates

2.3.1. Percentage of days lost

2.3.2. Average days lost per employee

2.3.3. The Bradford Factor

2.4. Other factors to consider

2.4.1. Obvious patterns

2.4.2. Line manager feedback

2.5. Legal issues

Chapter 3 - A robust sickness absence policy

3.1. Introduction

3.2. What are the legal requirements?

3.3. What should a sickness absence policy include?

3.3.1. Reporting requirements

3.3.2. Regular updates

3.3.3. Sick pay entitlement

3.3.4. Medical evidence of incapacity

3.3.5. Right to request a medical assessment

3.3.6. Return-to-work interviews

3.3.7. Fit notes and workplace amendments

3.3.8. Phone calls out and home visits

3.3.9. Special circumstances

3.4. Non-contractual status of a sickness absence policy

3.5. Dealing with policy breaches

3.5.1. How can a policy be breached?

3.5.2. Disciplinary action

Chapter 4 -  The fit note regime

4.1. Introduction

4.2. Fit notes

4.2.1. Why were fit notes introduced?

4.2.2. How do they differ from sick notes?

4.2.3. The benefits to employers

4.2.4. The issuing of fit notes

4.3. What information does a fit note include?

4.3.1. The fit note format

4.3.2. Changes brought in by the fit note system

4.3.3. What’s stayed the same?

4.3.4. What is the 2013 guidance on fit notes?

4.4. The GP’s options

4.4.1. “Not fit for work”

4.4.2. “May be fit for work taking account of the following advice”

4.4.3. A phased return to work

4.4.4. Amended duties

4.4.5. Altered hours

4.4.6. Workplace adaptations

4.5. Dealing with a fit note

4.5.1. The “not fit for work” procedure

4.5.2. The “may be fit for work” procedure

4.5.3. The legal status of the GP’s advice

Chapter 5 -  Return-to-work interviews

5.1. Introduction

5.2. The purpose of return-to-work interviews

5.2.1. Why carry out return-to-work interviews?

5.2.2. Who should carry out return-to-work interviews?

5.2.3. Return-to-work interviews and disciplinary action

5.3. The return-to-work interview process

5.3.1. Preparing for the interview

5.3.2. During the interview

5.3.3. After the interview

Chapter 6 -  Sick pay

6.1. Introduction

6.2. Statutory sick pay

6.2.1. Who is entitled to statutory sick pay (SSP)?

6.2.2. What is the current rate of SSP?

6.2.3. When do SSP payments become due?

6.2.4. Calculating SSP payments

6.2.5. Paying SSP

6.2.6. When should SSP be withheld?

6.2.7. Medical evidence for SSP payments

6.2.8. Keeping records

6.2.9. Opting out of the SSP scheme

6.2.10. Can we recover SSP?

6.3. Company sick pay

6.3.1. Legal obligations

6.3.2. Medical evidence for company sick pay

6.3.3. Discretionary sick pay

6.3.4. Full contractual sick pay

6.3.5. Reverting to SSP

Chapter 7 -  Seeking specialist advice

7.1. Introduction

7.2. Medical examinations clause

7.3. The Access to Medical Reports Act 1988

7.4. Getting the medical experts involved

7.4.1. The employee’s own GP, consultant or specialist

7.4.2. Independent doctor

7.5. Seeking occupational health advice

7.5.1. What is occupational health?

7.5.2. Why might you need an occupational health advisor (OHA)?

7.5.3. The Fit for Work service

7.5.4. Tax incentive

7.5.5. Other ways to locate an OHA

Chapter 8 -  Avoiding discrimination

8.1. Introduction

8.2. Disability discrimination

8.2.1. What is a disability?

8.2.2. The duty to make reasonable adjustments

8.2.3. What are reasonable adjustments?

8.3. Pregnancy

8.3.1. Automatic protection

8.3.2. Sickness absence during pregnancy

8.3.3. Sickness absence during maternity leave

8.3.4. Sickness absence at the end of maternity leave

8.4. Health-related questions

8.4.1. Prior to an offer of employment

8.4.2. After the offer of employment

Chapter 9 -  Discipline and capability issues

9.1. Introduction

9.2. Fraudulent sickness absence

9.2.1. Suspicion of fraudulent sickness absence

9.2.2. Taking formal action

9.2.3. Dismissal as disciplinary action

9.2.4. Capability dismissals

Chapter 10 -  Supporting a healthy workforce

10.1. Introduction

10.2. Healthy workplace

10.2.1. Hand sanitising gels

10.2.2. Prohibit eating at workstations

10.2.3. Better hydration

10.2.4. The “Mind Workplace”

10.2.5. Financial education

10.3. Alcohol and substance misuse initiatives

10.3.1. Alcohol awareness

10.3.2. Drug misuse

10.4. Smoking cessation initiatives

10.4.1. The cost of smoking

10.4.2. Smoking cessation programmes

10.5. Exercise initiatives

10.5.1. Gym membership

10.5.2. Workplace gyms

10.5.3. Change 4 Life

10.6. Illness awareness

10.6.1. Diabetes check

10.6.2. Blood pressure

10.6.3. Coronary heart disease

10.6.4. Cancer

10.6.5. Medical assessments

10.7. The Health, Work and Wellbeing initiative

Chapter 11 -  Documents

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