Minimum paid statutory sick leave entitlements will increase from 5 to 10 days as of 24 July 2021, effective from an employee’s next sick leave anniversary date. The maximum roll-over amount of unused sick leave remains unchanged at 20 days.
What do I need to consider?
You will have already considered any implications from a payroll perspective and no doubt you will be updating your employment agreement templates accordingly (if not and you need help, please let your Positive People consultant know).
It is also a great opportunity to stop and reflect on the sick leave management framework you have in place and ensure that your people leaders are well equipped in dealing with sickness absence.
How can I help my leaders?
- Reporting: Make sure you have a good system in place so leaders can:
- view accurate, timely information
- consider absence trends (e.g. particular shifts/days of the week)
- identify if an employee is getting close to their maximum paid entitlement
- Sick leave management: Be clear with your leaders about the steps they should take when addressing sickness absence issues and the thresholds (likely unique for each scenario to reflect all the circumstances) for moving into more formal discussions. Your framework could look something like this:
- Absence reports (see item 1) are reviewed by leaders and their manager every quarter to identify any areas of concern and determine the best approach
- Return to work ‘check in’ discussions (see item 3) occur after every period of absence
- Leaders are provided with guidance/coaching on how to have the ‘check in’ discussions and how to manage the more challenging situations e.g. requesting medical certificates, employees taking unpaid leave when sick leave is exhausted, considering changes to work/hours in consultation with the employee
- Communicate with employees how sickness absence will be managed via your house rules or procedure
- Regular discussions: It is good practice to have ‘check in’ discussions with employees consistently on their return to work to:
- ensure that the individual has recovered and is fit to be back in the workplace
- identify any work-related issues that might need attention e.g. workload / interpersonal issues
- provide an update on anything that might have occurred at work in their absence
- foster positive, two-way communication and
- demonstrate that you genuinely care about employee wellbeing
- flag if there is a possibility you will move into more formal discussions.
The vast majority of employees will continue to use their paid sick leave entitlement in a fair and honest manner, and there is no reason to suggest that this will change. Just be sure that your leaders are competent and confident to manage sickness absence in a fair, reasonable and supportive manner.