An apple a day

Tuesday 27th October 2020

Keeping a healthy work force is an important step in the fight against sickness absences. Ensuring proper rest breaks are taken, carrying out workload risk assessments, encouraging healthy eating and encouraging employees to stop smoking are all steps you can take.

Covid-19 is currently an employer’s biggest worry but other illnesses are still affecting employee’s daily lives. Additionally we are moving into cold and flu season.

The biggest sickness absence factor is stress, which for most employees has increased dramatically during this period. It is important that you regularly look at workloads and other factors which can cause stress such as employee relationships in order to minimise the effects of stress and thus minimise the number of absences. Business Link and the HSE have some great online resources to help you as an employer deal with stress in the workplace.  You can find some very helpful resources at

Dealing with the odd day

The odd day is a sticky issue for most employers. It is important that you keep clear sickness absence records for each employee to help you identify trends in absences. This then helps you determine whether it is a genuine odd day or if it is mondaymorningitis or bigprojectalga

You should also be holding return to work interviews with your staff to establish the reasons for the absences – is there an underlying disability which is going to require reasonable adjustments, is it pregnancy related, is it accident related, is it stress related (work or personal life), is it substance abuse related, or is it a genuine illness odd day?

Return to work interviews also give you opportunity to look ahead to the future – are there likely to be more absences from this employee e.g. may they require an operation from which they have to recover? 

If your sickness absence procedure is not up to date or is non-existent then you need to ensure that you get this sorted as soon as possible. Contact Waldrons for more information