Absence Management Series - Point 6

Keep contact in long term absence

It's inevitable that you will have a member of staff who is classed as long-term sick at some point.

The important thing here is to remember that these people are still members of staff to whom you have a duty. Additionally, remember the primary aim with these individuals is to get them to return to work as quickly, and as safely as possible.

Establishing regular contact with members of staff who are on long term sick leave is an important part of managing their absence. You need to be careful to strike the correct balance of contact for that staff member and you will need to vary the contact level on a case by case basis, so that the employee doesn’t feel pressured into making a return or abandoned and ignored by their employer.

Making early contact will ensure that you fully understand the matter affecting the member of staff and also during this conversation you’ll be able to establish the kind of contact that that member of staff wants, i.e. weekly, fortnightly, monthly. Be sure to give the employee information that they want about the organisation, for example introducing new starters to the team, advice of new procedures, post/email company or department newsletters and email minutes of meetings. These kinds of contact will keep the employee mentally engaged with your company and it’s activities and mean they are much more likely to make a smooth return to work.

If you are trying to manage a case of long-term sickness absence at the moment and would like to know if you're doing things correctly, get in touch for a no-obligation discussion.

If you've missed any of our earlier Points on Absence Management, you can catch up here.

Please note our blog posts contain general information and are intended as guidance only and should not be taken as an authoritative or current interpretation of the law. Please ensure that you obtain advice tailored to your individual situation before taking action. These posts apply to the UK only.

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