HR BLOG: How to handle the ‘sickie’ over the festive period

For businesses that are open across the holiday season, it’s likely to be a skeleton staff. But if someone phones in sick, it can cause havoc and unanticipated service gaps.

‘Throwing a sickie’ is among the leading causes of why staff are absent, with one in five admitting to taking a fake sick day in the last year.

Tips on managing sickies

Our HR experts have some top tips on how to clamp down on the fakers:

  • Be mindful that most people are genuinely unwell – Sick staff don’t make productive people, so if they really are sick it’s best to let them steer clear of the office.
  • Remind staff before the holidays of how to report sickness – Make it clear that being hungover is not a valid reason to not turn up, and ensure your employees know that ‘I didn’t know who to ring, so I just didn’t turn up’ isn’t an excuse. If lots of staff are off for Christmas, make sure there’s a clear policy of who they should report to and how to inform them they are sick.
  • Book in a ‘return to work’ meeting – If staff are off sick, check in when they return. You can ask them about their illness, how it was treated and if there are any adjustments needed to help them ease back into work.
  • Check social media – If someone phones in sick and then checks in online at the nearest pub, chances are they might be faking it. Seeing if they went out for the day or suddenly felt well enough to go out partying can go some way to provide evidence for an investigation.

The HR Dept can help you overcome sickies

Sickness is a part of the workplace and people are human and come down with illnesses. But hopefully these tips will go some way to help you reduce the number of sickies pulled.

If you need help on how to investigate or discipline staff that might be faking it, get in touch.

Alison Schreiber runs The HR Dept Durham and Darlington franchise, and works with a number of businesses across PBP. For more info, visit HR Dept Durham and Darlington or call Alison on 01325 526036 or 07535 853226.