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Take it or “leave” it – A guide to calling in sick!

A guide to calling in sick Haven’t we all had days – winter, spring summer or autumn – when no matter what the weather – the more attractive option, probably not the best option, is to stay in bed … I’m not talking Saturdays or Sundays here!!! sick leave So you start to think about the excuse you can find for not going into work. You lay awake wrapped in the duvet that is going to be your BF for the day or in fact your downfall and start to put together a plausible excuse. The minutes tick by and, with each passing minute, you become wider and wider awake but you still haven’t quite got it right. Migraine … never had one in your life … what if someone asks you what it’s like – move on … grandma died OMG only got one left this could be tempting fate … dodgy curry last night … how many times have you heard that hoary old chestnut and raised your eyes to the ceiling and given out a hmm hmm cough. By this time it is nearly time to make ‘the call’. Notice how I say ‘the call’ – texting in sick is not the brightest move you have ever made!! The idea of a duvet day is becoming less and less attractive, panic is setting in as the time passes and by this time you will definitely be late for work if you decide to strap a pair on and go in. What to do????? Practising the voice that goes with a really bad cold and coughing until you are nearly sick whilst speaking to your boss may be the thing to do – maybe not – the duvet has been kicked off by this stage and you are in a state of hypertension and can you believe you are starting to feel quite ill ! Ok, the above scenario may be a bit tongue in cheek, but during my years in recruitment and yes, there have been many! I have heard some of the best well thought out excuses for not going to work or being late. Please don’t get me wrong I have also heard very genuine reasons. I am absolutely not advocating or condoning throwing a sickie if you are not genuinely ill but if you must here are just a few mistakes NOT to make:
  1. Do not call in sick if the day before you had an altercation with a colleague or even worse your boss
  2. Do not call in sick if your workmates knew you were at a party or concert the night before
  3. Do not call in sick on Mondays or Fridays – these are definitely off limits since both of these days abut the weekend
  4. Do not call in sick with the intention of going on a five mile hike or throwing a party for your friends. This will inevitably end up on Facebook with what at the time were ‘brilliant selfies’!!!
We asked a cross section of candidates and clients whether they thought offering an incentive to employees for good attendance was a good thing – 51% of people asked said they felt it was a good idea to incentivise and 49% said no. Of the people who said yes, it was the consensus of opinion that if an incentive were to be offered a cash based incentive was the most popular choice followed by the offer of flexi time. So, is there a way that companies can discourage employees from taking unnecessary sick days? Here are a few tips which may help:
  1. Take a review of your sickness absence and disciplinary policies and procedures. Ensure that they are watertight and update them if necessary, ensuring that the management team are kept abreast of any changes.
  2. Stipulate that employees must telephone their line manager to report their sickness, rather than email or text a colleague. This may deter some employees from lying.
  3. Some businesses hold back to work meetings as a further deterrent and have disciplinary sanctions in place if the employee is found to be lying.
  4. Reward a cash bonus to any member of staff who manages to go the whole year without a day off sick.
Of course some of us will be genuinely unwell and have a valid reason for not coming to work and inflicting our misery onto other people. For those dishonest folk who constantly get away with feigning illness and having sporadic days off, companies really need to start clamping down and getting tough.
Jacqui Teale

By Jacqui Teale

A proven recruitment expert. Worked with a range of clients across Leeds and Bradford from start-ups to multi nationals. Recognised for hiring in all office based and management roles.
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