Recent research by the Liberal Democrats, found that there had been a 5% increase from last year in the number of teachers on long-term sick.

1.3 million days were logged as absent, due to stress and mental health over the last four years. The research was based on data requested from 82 English councils.

As stated in the 2016 CIPD Absence Management Survey, stress was the top cause of long-term absence and the absence rate in education is higher than in the private sector. Many have cited that workloads, budget cuts and recruitment difficulties have added to workplace pressure.

SAM has looked at how you can support staff and reduce long-term absence:

  • Make sure you communicate and refer to your staff attendance policy
  • Track short and long-term absences in line with your policy so you can follow the correct procedures and track the different levels of absence. Long-term absences are usually classed as a period of four weeks or more.
  • Monitor attendance by department and line manager, so any issues which may be management related can be looked into.
  • Carry out regular reviews with the employee, often referred to as welfare meetings, to ascertain the current state of health and readiness to return, as well as anything that you can do to facilitate their return.
  • Consult your HR support, and consider referring to Occupational Health for medical support. They can ascertain what further actions are needed.
  • Arrange a long-term absence review when the Occupational Health report has been received.
  • If the report was carried out a while ago, make sure you apply for a review again before any further meetings. The information must be relevant and accurate. Click here to see more information about a recent case regarding this.
  • You should consider if reasonable adjustments can be made for the employee. A reasonable adjustment could include changes to duties or working hours, or a transfer to another job.
  • Make services such as counselling available to staff helping address any issues early.
  • Consider providing training such as Mindfulness and Stress Management plus leadership training to help promote relationships at work, reducing stress.
  • If you haven’t already done so, discard your excel spread-sheet and consider investing in a bespoke absence management software package to make life simpler. It would help you track absence and support staff quicker and consistently.

If you need any help managing long-term absence cases or Occupational Health, please speak to one of the SAM team. Our sister company FusionHR can help.

If you don’t already benefit from SAM, the SAM software system helps you manage long-term absence by keeping track of conversations, meetings, documents all in one place and setting alerts for when the next checkpoint should be so you don’t lose track. If you would like a demonstration of the SAM software, call 01924 907319 or download our Information Pack


More information on long-term absence:

Guidance given on long-term sickness dismissals

Today’s discussion – Managing long-term absence


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