Managing your sickness absence

Updated: Feb 24

Ellie Taylor

Ellie Taylor, January 15, 2020.

Given the high costs to business of sickness absence, it is important for employers to put in place and implement sickness and rehabilitation policies. Employers should take measures to facilitate and promote employee health, thereby reducing the likelihood of sickness absence. 


Involvement of occupational health professionals is a particularly effective tool in the management of long-term sickness absence and, as one of their functions is to examine sick employees, they can also reduce short-term sickness through early intervention operations. It is important to allow for this in employee contracts. 


Various steps can be taken to minimise the likelihood of employees experiencing workplace stress and taking time off sick as a result. Occupational health professionals can be used to promote health and wellbeing and provide help and support to individuals with personal or workplace problems. Employers should ensure that they have in place a clearly worded sickness absence policy, including rules on notification, required evidence, payment of sick pay and return-to-work interviews. 


It is important to maintain contact with employees who are on long-term sickness absence and, when they are ready to return to work, to devise a structured return-to-work plan and allow for adequate adjustments and support. It is good practice for employers to implement a drugs/alcohol policy with the principal aim of providing support to any employee who has an alcohol or drugs dependency. 

Key Points

  1. Promote employee health to reduce absence

  2. Occupational health professionals are effective in reducing long-term sickness

  3. Keep a clearly worded sickness absence policy in place

  4. Maintain contact with absent employees an devise a structured return-to-work plan

  5. Implement a drugs/alcohol policy to support employees with dependencies.

What can Insight do to help?


We offer a range of Sickness Absence Management services including Occupational Health nurses and management referrals. We recognise the importance of early intervention to help employees return to work sooner, or identify developing health conditions.


We can carry out appointments at our clinics or in all day/half day clinics on site. We can also carry out home visits where necessary. We provide drug and alcohol testing services with strict chain of custody procedures to help keep a healthy, safe and compliant workplace. 

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