The abuse of sick leave can be hurting your company more than you may realize. The problem is that it is such a tricky thing to manage in the workplace. Employees do get ill and physically hurt and are entitled to days off but where do you draw the line?
When it comes to sick leave in South Africa, the labour guide clearly states the following:
- An employee who works 5 days per week is entitled to 30 days off every 36 months.
- An employee who works 6 days per week is entitled to 36 days off every 36 months.
- An employee who works Monday to Friday, plus every second Saturday, is entitled to 33 (30 + 3 Saturdays) days off.
The problem is that up to 40% of workers in South Africa plan on taking ‘time off’ under the guise of sick leave, according to HR Future. This absenteeism is costing our economy an estimated R16 billion a year. It is also costing your business several days of salaries due to mismanagement of absenteeism.
So, how can you reduce excessive sick leave in the workplace? Here are five tips to help you avoid unnecessary absenteeism:
Communicate sick leave policies
Make sure your staff fully understand your company’s sick leave policies. That includes the repercussions of taking too many days off.
When discussing policies, keep this in mind: Employees taking sick leave in South Africa are required to produce a medical certificate if taking more than two consecutive days off. If they fail to do so, an employee does not have to pay them for those days. According to the labour guide, sick leave may be claimed for by an employee that is too sick to work.
Keep track of sick leave
Keeping track of the days your employees take off can help you determine whether they may be abusing their sick leave.
A good leave management system can help you track employees who are taking too many days off. With LeavePro, all sick leave is logged into the system, allowing you to see how many days have been taken off for all employees. You can also run a detailed report of all sick leave applications.
Based on this information, you may notice certain patterns emerge. An employee may be taking time off on certain days like Fridays and Mondays, or may take days off every month with little explanation. Once you’ve recognized a pattern you can take steps to reduce sick leave abuse.
Here’s where it gets complicated: you need sufficient proof that your employee lied about being sick before you can take disciplinary action. This is not to say you cannot address the situation. You can talk to your employee about their excessive sick leave and determine why they are taking days off. It may stem from personal problems or unhappiness in the workplace.
That being said, it is important to be firm with employees. They should not get away with abusing sick leave policies. Just ensure you are acting in accordance with the BCEA.