When a staff member has called in sick three times in one year, they are invited to a frequent sickness absence meeting.
Goal of the meeting
The goal of the meeting is to identify any causes for the frequent absence which can be influenced and to decide on actions to be taken to prevent further absences, all such from the starting principle that frequent absence can be influenced.
Course of the meeting
Explain the goal of the meeting and present objective data on the absences - exact dates, duration and absence pattern - to the staff member. Explain what the consequences of unexpected absence are to the staff member themselves, their department and their colleagues. Explain what problems arise from the staff member's calling in sick frequently.
- what causes were involved in the staff member's decision to call in sick;
- whether there is a connection between the work and calling in sick;
- whether the staff member has taken any actions to influence any of the causes of the frequent absence and to prevent having to call in sick a fourth time;
- if you can do anything for this staff member so they will not have to be absent in the future.
Should the staff member themselves fail to establish a connection between their being absent and their work, continue asking questions on this topic. Find the problem behind the problem. This could be the workload, physical strain, support of managers and colleagues, home life support and/or hindrances, the extent to which the staff member themselves can influence the straining and/or hampering aspects, the staff member's motivation to do their work, etc.
The underlying cause of staff members being frequently absent sick often turns out to be conflicts with management/colleagues and/or overburdening of the person concerned and/or problems at home. Staff members are themselves responsible for finding the proper balance between work and private life and for solving problems at home. As a manager, you could offer to listen to their problems and to provide tips and advice on how to find a proper balance and/or solve problems at home. You and the staff member concerned are together responsible for solving conflicts they may have with management/colleagues. You should also consider the role of your own behaviour. Agree on when the decisions taken during this meeting should be followed up on.
The frequent sickness absence meeting report format is to be used to report on the meeting. The report is to include all agreements concluded during the meeting, as well as all actions to be taken. It is important that, for every action, the actor responsible is listed.