We receive a lot of questions each month about various aspects of HR and managing absence, so this month we thought it might be useful to share some of our responses with you. Below, you will find our top three recent questions and a quick response to each, but if you need any further information on these topics please just give us a call.

Q. I’m unsure what I should do about a pregnant employee’s absences

An employee who is suffering from a pregnancy-related illness will be protected under the Equality Act 2010. The employer must not discriminate against the employee by treating her unfavourably because of sickness absence that results from her pregnancy. Absences should be logged as usual, but clearly identify any that are pregnancy-related. HR advice should be sought where triggers are hit due to pregnancy-related absence before any action is taken.

Q. Do you know the reason for the sickness absence during pregnancy?

If a pregnant employee is absent due to sickness, the employer needs to know whether or not the sickness is related to the pregnancy. This will help to make sure any actions taken do not amount to pregnancy and/or maternity discrimination. It is also particularly important to be aware of any pregnancy-related sickness as the expected birth date approaches, because any absence at this stage could automatically trigger the start of the maternity leave period.

Q. How do I record staff hospital appointments?

This depends on the local conditions of service. Hospital appointments are usually considered as ‘leave of absence’ either paid or unpaid. Any absence due to illness or recovery from a medical procedure will be classed as sickness absence.

If you need support with any aspect of managing leave, please speak to one of our team by calling 01924 827869. A member of the team can review your existing arrangements or help you assess current issues and we also offer supported attendance clinics (with a qualified HR Consultant) if you have a back-log of absences that require the formal process starting.

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