Use our COVID-19 resources to better manage the crisis and feel like you are on the front foot View Resources

'Absent' Angela - Do you have one of these in your organisation? Dealing with absence in the workplace

If you've been keeping an eye on the business press over the last few days, you'll be very aware that the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and the Institute of Directors (IoD) have been at odds over the level of business legislation in this country. The IoD regularly surveys their 55,000 members and the general theme of those surveys indicates that people worry that the sheer level of legislation, employment law and healthy & safety initiatives is potentially making companies in this country less competitive than our counterparts in the rest of the world.

By contrast, the CIPD have bitten back. On 23.5.11, Personnel Today magazine quote Dr John Philpott, Chief Economic Advisor at the CIPD as explaining that it was time UK businesses stopped “seeing red” over employment regulation and adopted a more unbiased evidence based perspective. From our standpoint, as a company whose purpose is to support businesses implement legislation correctly and properly, it's harder and harder for those businesses at the coal face to comply with these procedures without expert HR help.

Take the next in our series of winning cards for instance and lets look at an example. Take 'Absent' Angela. Most companies have an employee who fits this bill. She's very difficult to work around. By her very nature, 'Absent' Angela takes time off without a second glance. Her colleagues and bosses can't rely on her. One day she's in work, the next she's missing. One day she'll be present for a meeting with a list of objectives and actions, but it could be several weeks before she's done just 3 hours work due to the level of time she takes off. Her department can't plan, they get frustrated at not delivering department objectives and her team feel anxious that they're constantly one man down. This situation can go on for months and months!

Complying with legislation on how to deal with 'Absent' Angela isn't easy either. Following appropriate procedure means lots of letters being drafted, lots of meetings being organised to try to get to the bottom of her absenteeism, it means booking meeting after meeting and knowing full well, that she may not turn up for them, if they fall on one of her absent days! So they're rescheduled again and again. When they do happen, she is absolutely entitled to have one of her colleagues sit in the meeting with her, but that of course means her colleague has to take time out of her schedule too – that means that her emails are piling up, her phone messages are backing up and she's not able to focus on her own tasks and commitments. The whole department is affected. The amount of energy expended on filing in forms correctly, making sure that everyone is informed at each step of the process has to be painfully regulated – get it wrong and she'll take her employer to court in a tribunal and they'll lose on the grounds of not following procedure!

Get it right and even when she turns up to those meetings, they could prove a complete waste of time. Under Angela's human rights, and privacy laws, she doesn't actually have to tell you what's wrong with her. Not only does this mean that you can't plan for long term leave (because you don't know if that's what you're going to be faced with) but the worst case scenario is that she might be lying and you can't even find out! an employer – how on earth do you tackle your 'Absent' Angela correctly and properly? Here's our 4 tips;

  1. Build good relationships with your employees in the first place. If you do that bit right from the start, it's your biggest hurdle covered. Good employee relations means excellent communication – it's the golden card to seeing you through any management situation. Your staff will talk to you, trust you and confide in you.
  2. Make sure that your HR policies are up-to-date and robust. You must have a 'how to' practical guide on managing absenteeism. A step by step guide will pull you through situations like these. Make sure that they're completely transparent that staff and colleagues understand the procedures you've set down.
  3. Follow the policy! You've gone to the trouble of putting together formal policies, so do follow them. Follow them by keeping good records of absenteeism (not only will this housekeeping serve you well if a problem goes to tribunal but you could easily spot patterns of absenteeism which might help you solve the issue), keep communication up throughout the time your employee is off, talk to them regularly and be involved with their progress.
  4. You should also be training your managers in how to follow and the policies you've implemented. It's your very best plan to keep the company running smoothly. To learn more about how to deal with staff issues like this one, talk to us about which one of our workshops would be most appropriate, we look forward to seeing you soon.

Back to News Listing

Need help quickly?

There's a great deal to manage right now - the Furlough Scheme, returning to work safely. Lean on us for helpful guidance. Book a call (it's free) with one of our HR or health & safety experts.

We will process your data in accordance with our Privacy Policy. You may withdraw this consent at any time by updating your preferences.  We make this easy for you by placing a link to your preferences in the footer of every email we send you.

COVID-19 Resources

How to Apply for a grant through the Kickstart Scheme Latest Updates for Working safely during coronavirus (COVID-19) COVID Outbreak Management Policy Fair Redundancy Process Checklist Guide to Creating a COVID Secure Workplace How to manage the holiday season and reduce the risk of losing staff to self-quarantine Cleaning regimes required for a COVID-19 secure workplace Guidance on Face Coverings in Retail and Shops JULY 24TH Summary of Recent Government Updates Kick Start the Economy Government Announcement Updated guidance for outdoor pools indoor gyms, pools and leisure centres Guidance for the Re-opening of businesses and venues from 11 and 13 July Updated Guidance for Working Safely

Five steps to working safely - display the poster to demonstrate you have followed the guidance Changes To Social Distancing At Work from 4th July 2020 Updated Advice: Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme Step By Step Guide for Employers 7 Traps to Avoid When Making Redundancies During Furlough Redundancy During Furlough Easing of Lockdown for Business but does it apply to you? Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme - 10th June 2020 Return to Work Safely FAQs Planning Your Return to Work Top Tips to Prepare your Managers Legionella Risks During the Coronavirus Pandemic Coronavirus-related Statutory Sick Pay Rebate Scheme A List of Helpful Returning to Work Safely Resources Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme extended to end of October 2020 VAT on PPE is now ZERO Managers Top Ten Health & Safety Tips Return to Work Safely Toolkit Managing Emotions when we go back to Work Communications Matrix Top Tips for Mental Wellness Keeping in Touch With Furloughed Workers Manager's Guide to Furlough Leave and Wellbeing Staff Survey - Winning on Furlough Webinar: Working from Home and Winning Social Distancing in the Construction Industry Is your PPE Legal and does it do what it claims? Extension of First Aid qualifications 8 Helpful Tips To Promote Home Worker Wellbeing Free Staff Survey: Working From Home and Winning Maintain Safe Working Conditions COVID-19 HR and H&S Management Checklist COVID-19 Staff Announcement Building Entrance COVID-19 Sign Coronavirus and Home Working Guide
Park City Call Back

We will respond to your call back within 24 hours during business working hours

Please enter your name
Ask a question and get FREE advice

Juliet Price is the Managing Director here at Park City and has extensive, specialist knowledge in HR, Health & Safety and staff development. Enter your question below and we'll be back in touch soon with an answer!

Please enter your name
Please enter your telephone number
Please enter your question
Discover how your people truly feel

Dig deeper into underlying issues, spot opportunities, take action and track progress. Listen , review and take action with real-time reports. Download information about the WeThrive product toolbox, our recommended employee engagement solution.

Please enter your first name
Please enter your surname
Please enter your company name
Please enter your email address
Please enter your telephone number