How do you handle employee sickness over the bank holidays?

Christmas may seem like a distant memory but as we draw closer to the long Easter weekend, a lot of employees like to take annual leave to extend this further and take time out to unwind. This shouldn’t be a problem but throw some ‘suspicious’ sickness absence into the mix and things can quickly get out of hand.

To help you be fully prepared, I have put together some handy guidance to help take the pain out of bank holiday headaches!

What happens when an employee requests holiday?

All holiday has to be approved through your established booking system, in line with your company’s holiday policy and minimum cover required. If you don’t have a policy in place, contact me and I’ll help you get one suited to your business requirements. It may be an opportunity for you to once again draw your employees attention to the authorisation process and make sure it is clear. As a responsible employer you also need to encourage your employees to take their holiday on a regular basis, to ensure they are having adequate breaks and leisure time away from the work environment. It is good practice to manage and monitor holidays that have been taken, to avoid a surge of holiday requests at the end of your company’s holiday year.

What happens when an employee calls in sick over the long weekend?

All sickness needs to be dealt with consistently. The employee has the obligation to notify you within the specified time in line with your absence procedure. The timing of their absence cannot be questioned, and whilst unfortunate you will need to source cover last minute to account for the additional person not working for you during this time. If the sickness absence day happens to be the day before the bank holiday (which they were not scheduled to work) you would record the absence for the one day, and then the bank holiday in the usual way. Meaning that the employee would get paid for the bank holiday as normal. It is illegal to withhold this payment of wages.

The important part of managing any absence is the return to work interview on the morning back to work. This helps you to gather information and discuss the absence in more detail. You should also take the opportunity to examine the employee’s absence record to see if there are any patterns or if their absence is becoming too high. This could then trigger the requirement for a further, potentially more formal conversation with them.

What to do if an employee takes the bank holiday weekend as sickness, having been refused a holiday request?

Whilst this doesn’t occur on a frequent basis, it can happen. We have a really useful letter template available for our clients to take control of this situation. If you issue this letter to the employee prior to the ‘time off’ in question, you have made it crystal clear that if they take the time off it will be unauthorised unpaid leave and could lead to disciplinary action taking place.

How can flexible working help your business?

“Women are working more, men are understanding their value as caregivers, women are primary breadwinners—I mean, we could go on and on and on. Things are different. So we can’t keep operating like everything is the same, and that’s what many of us have done. And I think it’s up to us to change the conversation.”

Michelle Obama

As an HR Consultant, if I had £1 for every time a client said to me that “flexible working is only for parents” I would be a very wealthy lady!

The most common question my clients ask is “how can flexible working help my business?” so if you are thinking just that, then read on!

Whilst flexible working is traditionally associated with working parents, we must acknowledge that the world of work is changing and with that, we are seeing a shift in the demographic in society (a third of workers will be over 50 by the end of 2020) therefore the myth around flexible working being just for parents, is simply that, just a myth! Now everyone has the right to request their employer to work more flexibly, which means that change for businesses is inevitable.

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Working fathers need flexibility too! Encouraging gender equality in parenting

“Being a father means you have to think fast on your feet. You must be judicious, wise, brave, tender, and willing to put on a frilly hat and sit down to a pretend tea party.”

Matthew Buckley, Fatherhood: The Manliest Profession

The debate around parental leave is one that seems to be ongoing and in light of the latest British Social Attitudes survey, the results demonstrate that despite being in 2019, that there is still a strong view towards mothers taking the lead on parental leave.

Despite the shifting dynamics of UK households, a time where women have a focus upon their career and are quickly becoming the main source of income within thousands of households, it begs the question; what can we do to change the view on fathers taking time out to bring up their children equally with mothers?

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From Travel Agent to HR Consultant; my career journey so far

When I meet people that have either read the blog or seen me speak at an event, one of the first questions I get asked is how I managed to get from being a Travel Agent to an HR Consultant.

The reason I was inspired to write this post is because at this time of year, many people think, new year, new career, and I thought this may help some people if they were considering this particular situation.

The shameless selfie above was taken just before Christmas outside of the Maidenhead branch of TUI (formerly Thomson Holidays, and yes I did get some strange looks!) this is where I had my first proper job interview at the age of 18 when it was known as Lunn Poly (that may take a few of you back!). I was just about to finish my A-Levels in business, Travel and Tourism and I didn’t want to wait until my exam results, I wanted to get into work as soon as possible, so the day after my exams finished, I was working and sending people all over the world on their dream holidays.

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2018, you were awesome. 2019, bring it on!

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What an incredible year 2018 has been!

Career wise, it has been very hectic but productive and I am thankful for the experiences that the year gave me.

I am also grateful for all of the support, lovely comments and wonderful connections that I have made. I am looking forward to much of this in 2019!

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Christmas Eve greetings!

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It’s Christmas Eve! This is one of my favourite days of the year, with all of the cosy traditions, excitement and anticipation that the festivities bring. I especially love how everything just seems to stop, the bustling shops begin to calm and families, friends and loved ones gather together to celebrate.

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