Sickness Management

Book today

Employees being absent, or sick at work has many costly implications for organisations. From lost productivity to the costs and complications hiring agency cover, there are many reasons employers want to keep their staff healthy, productive and at work.

At David Barber Occupational Health in Derby, we can help you achieve this using our thorough absence management plans. Contact our team today if you’d like to start creating your own management plan.

What is Sickness Absence Management?

Sickness absence management is about putting in place clear, comprehensive policies and procedures that your managers, human resources staff and most importantly your employees can refer to regarding sickness absences.

It is about striking a balance between the needs of your business and the needs of your employees. It is impossible to eliminate all health problems for your employees, so some level of absence rate is inevitable. However, having a formal procedure in place to support your employee’s with reporting absences, confirming contractual sick pay terms and conducting return to work interviews can all help to reduce absence through stress and reduce absenteeism.

Engaging occupational health services to conduct return to work interviews are a great way to support your staff and even reduce the impact of sickness. The process will allow you to address any underlying issues and identify any workplace adaptations to support employees.

They will allow for you and your employee’s to get professional advice on how to minimise the potentially significant impact of sickness absence moving forward. If you need professional help with return to work interviews as part of your sickness absence management in Derby, David Barber Occupational Health can support you.

Types of Sickness Absence Management

There are two different ways of managing sickness absence. Ideally, your company should employ both methods in order to effectively manage absences due to ill health.

Proactive Sickness Management

This is the most effective way to handle staff absences, providing many benefits for both the employer and employees. These can include; managing expectations, allowing time to plan for the absence and ensuring a smooth and stress-free return to work.

It requires seeing an employee prior to a planned absence, for example, if they are undergoing a surgical procedure. Using experience and evidence-based practice, a sickness and absence plan will be drawn up for the anticipated recovery. This may include a phased return with reduced hours or duties that are gradually increased. These will provide long term benefits for your company.

Reactive Sickness Management

This takes place after an employee is away from work on sick leave. In this case, the plan is solely focused on their return to work and determining when they will be fit to do so. The process involves working with line managers and individuals to make the return to work as smooth as possible. It could include carrying out return to work interviews, examining any medical evidence and discussing any potential modifications to an employee’s job.

We visit the individuals on-site or see them in our Derby occupational health clinic. If an employee is fit to return, they can return at any time prior to the expiry of their sick note, with advice from DB Occupational Health.

Why is managing sickness absence important?

It is incredibly important to manage sickness absences among your employees. Doing it effectively will benefit both your company and your workforce.

It can also form part of your legal obligation to your employees. Effective managing of sickness absence sits aside a number of laws. These include the Equality Act, the Employment Rights Act and the Health and Safety at Work Act. Having a detailed sickness absence policy and formal procedure could help protect you from discrimination law purposes, and failing to maintain a safe workplace.

High rates of sickness absence will also impact the productivity and profitability of your company. If you need to employ agency workers to cover contracted hours while also paying sick pay, costs can mount. Then, while ill or unhappy workers may turn in, their productivity will dip significantly. If they are not able to recover properly, this loss of productivity can continue indefinitely.

The happier and more supported your employee’s feel, the more motivated they are. They will be more productive, absenteeism will be reduced. The benefits of supporting your staff with sickness absence are hard to measure.

This continues after the absence has ended too. If you carry out return to work interviews, you will be able to implement reasonable adjustments to an employee’s job role. This will also help them remain productive, even if they are not able to perform the role exactly as before.

Who needs sickness absence management?

Any company or business that employs staff will benefit from having a sickness absence policy. This covers all industries, including healthcare, construction, education, even retail and hospitality. In certain industries, such as healthcare or construction, it may feel more important to have a policy in place. In these sectors, the work itself carries a greater risk of injury that could lead to an employee’s absence.

However, it is important to remember that a policy to manage sickness is different to managing workplace risk to your staff. Chances are that everyone will get sick at some point, wherever they work and whatever they do. This is why it is important in every industry and every sector.

Managing attendance and sickness absence will help reduce the impact that the absence has, and can help prevent occasional short term problems becoming ongoing absenteeism or long term sickness.

Do I need to manage sickness absence?

Some business owners think that having an HR manager or department is enough to deal with sickness absence.

While human resource departments and line managers certainly have an important part to play in managing sickness absence, engaging external occupational health services can really help maximise the benefits for your staff and ensure legal compliance.

They can help with return to work interviews, keeping accurate and legible records and suggest reasonable adjustments after long absences. They will also provide an additional support service for your employees, so they know that their situations are being treated seriously and fairly.

Managing Industrial Accidents

According to the HSE, 30.4 million working days were lost last year due to work-related illness and injury in Great Britain. This is an imposing figure.

Make sure your business isn’t contributing to that statistic; find out how we can help you ensure your staff are working in a safe environment that keeps them healthy and productive by getting in touch with our team today.

As well as managing absences, we can assist with workplace risk assessments, face-fit testing and safety-critical medicals to help you keep your staff safe even in potentially hazardous conditions.

Managing Employee’s Mental Health

When it comes to absences due to mental health, supporting your employees is even more critical. This is one area where ignoring any issues could cause long term, unpredictable effects and damage.

In the case of workplace stress, it may be entirely your company’s responsibility to address the issue and find reasonable adjustments to reduce it. Effectively managing sickness absence can help avoid this becoming a recurring or long term absence situation.

Mental illnesses not caused by the workplace can still be significantly exasperated by poor absence management or lack of support. Absent employees will need to be aware that their return to work will be handled sensitively with safeguards and support in place.

How do I implement Sickness Absence Management in the Workplace?

Putting in place effective and compliant sickness policies and a back to work process is an important but not always easy job. It is important to understand the impact of that long term illness or an underlying medical condition but you must avoid being intrusive or breaching discrimination law.

This is why it is best to employ a trained occupational health professional to draw up your policy. They will be able to advise on attendance and reporting requirements, when to call for and how to handle medical reports or a doctor’s certificate.

Putting in place a formal procedure can protect your human resources team as well as your employees.

We can help ensure that you remain fully compliant with all workplace and governmental laws that surround absence management in the workplace. All whilst getting you the results you require. Contact us to discuss your requirements and we’ll help ensure your workforce can return to work after long periods of absence safely.

Online Management System

One of the many benefits we offer at David Barber Occupational Health is the use of our online management system. You will be able to access your reports from our various services and tests for each of your employees. The online system we use ensures all of your data is secured, only accessible to you via a unique login and has ISO accredited security standards. Find out more about our client system by emailing us.

Book Sickness Absence Management in Derby

If you need support with workplace sickness management in Derby, David Barber Occupational Health can provide you with the service and reassurance you need. As an experienced occupational health team in Derby, we’re able to advise you on legally compliant ways to help and support your staff to ensure their wellbeing.

PricingContact us


Yes, our occupational health team are here to help. Whilst where we can, we try and advice to implement a proactive management plan, we understand sometimes absences aren’t planned. In this case, we’ll work with you and your employee to create a reactive absence plan which is dedicated to helping people return to work.

Yes, we don’t just help you when it comes to planning and managing absences, we can work with you to create a policy you can use in-house to better manage your absences.

Looking after our mental health is just as important as looking after our physical health. David has a Certificate in Cognitive Behavioural Therapy, so we are qualified to help with mental health issues as well as physical ones.

This is for the employer to decide, depending on the type of contract the employee has.

Request a callback

Tell us your name and number below and we'll give you a callback to discuss your requirements.

Request a callback