Absence in the workplace


In Law

Written by Law Express Ltd.

The Office For National Statistics reports that an estimated 185.6 million working days were lost because of sickness or injury during 2022 in the UK. This equals 5.7 days per worker.

Whilst the impact of absenteeism for employer and employee alike is well documented, the burden of lost productivity, missed deadlines, reduced salary and work relationships continues to be incurred at the highest level on record.

Absence in the workplace can take different forms; short term, repeated short term or long term. Each may need to be treated differently.

Despite sometimes differing motivations, employer and employee often agree that reducing absence and returning to work is an ideal outcome.

A programme to try and reduce workplace absence can take different forms:

  • Regular welfare chats, even for those who are not absent, to understand any concerns any employee may have. As part of a ‘getting to know you’ process, it can be a valuable exercise.
  • More formal welfare meetings for someone who may be long term sick or have frequent absences generally for the same thing, may include an agreement to get a doctors report about an employee’s condition to provide additional information.
  • For more complex matters, it may be appropriate to involve an occupational health practitioner.

Absence can have a significantly detrimental effect on the employer and the employee currently unable to go to work.

We are available to help with advice on guidance to employers and employees about how absence from work may be resolved. If this is the case, please call our legal advice helpline for more information.