WORKPLACE RELATIONS SPECIALISTS 
Used properly, the WRC Code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures, together with the employer’s own procedures, provide the main tools for addressing unacceptable absence. See more in our discipline and grievances at work factsheet. 
 
Disability discrimination 
Employers may need to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to support employees who have a disability or health condition, as outlined in the disability discrimination provisions of the Equality Acts 1998-2015. Employers should be aware that physical and mental health conditions might be covered under this legislation. For more on how to address the issues, see our factsheets on disability, stress and mental health in the workplace. 
 
Other legislation affecting absence management 
If an employer requests a medical report from a health professional, it's essential to check they are not breaching the individual's privacy rights. 
Employers must be careful not to breach the Data Protection Act 2018 (DPA) when they collect, use and store information about their employees’ absence. 
Details of an employee’s health, either physical or mental, are categorised as ‘sensitive personal data’ under the DPA. Read our data protection factsheet. 
 
No one piece of legislation deals exclusively with absence management. However, numerous pieces of legislation have an impact on this area.  
 
Absence management continues to be a vital issue for organisations. According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS) figures which were published in October 2015, the UK economy lost 134 million working days to absence in 2014. 
 
The statistics are available on the ONS website 
 
Some absence is always inevitable. Motivation, good health and job satisfaction is crucial, and is the best way to manage short term absences. The following factors will help: 
Pro-active manager led absence systems and procedures. 
Good physical working conditions. 
High health, safety and welfare standards. 
Pro-active measures to support staff. 
Training and teamwork. 
Improving absence record-keeping systems. 
Providing facts and figures on absence to line managers. 
Pro-active absence management policies, including return to work interviews. 
Enforcement of policies on equal opportunities and discrimination. 
'Work-life balance' policies including flexible working hours and varied working arrangements, if compatible with the needs of the organisation. 
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Tagged as: Absence Management
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