17 July 2012
60 second guide
... to managing unplanned absence
Major events such as the Olympics can prompt a spate of absence among workers, some of whom may have requested time off but were refused. What can be done?
Allow staff to take time off legitimately
Wherever possible, it would be sensible to agree to as many holiday requests as operating requirements permit.
Check transport arrangements
It is worth discussing if individuals may have problems getting into work during the Olympics due to perceived travel disruption or fear of being on crowded public transport. It's best to identify and resolve any issues in advance.
Stagger working hours
Consider if some people can work from home or stagger start and finishing hours. Multi-skilled workers could be used to cover the work over this period, but much will depend on the business requirements.
Think about installing big TVs at work
You could put up TV screens in the staff canteen, for example. However, make sure you have a television licence, otherwise you could face a fine.
Again, much will depend on your business, but it is important to lay the ground rules about watching events and making sure only a limited number of employees do it at one time or in recognised breaks. Ultimately, you are paying them to work and you do not want output to diminish over the period.
Remind staff of your sickness policy
Remind everyone of the absence reporting policy – in particular, remind them that anyone who calls in sick on days they've been refused leave will face a return-to-work interview to discuss this issue and its effect on their Bradford Factor score (if the company uses this system). If they don't give an adequate reason for their absence, or if they do not follow the proper sickness absence reporting policy, they may face disciplinary action.
Michael Slade, managing director, Bibby Consulting & Support
Bibby Consulting & Support
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