Swine flu: How to manage sickness in your practice

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Nicola Rowe of employment solicitors Richard Nelson outlines some of the key issues to consider when managing employee sick leave.

With the number of swine flu cases shooting up across the UK, many practices are having to deal with the potentially thorny issue of sick leave. For practice managers, this can present a number of problems, especially when there is prolonged absence or persistent short-term absences.

It is important for employers to tackle these situations correctly, or they could find themselves with angry or demoralized employees or, at worst, a claim against them for disability discrimination or unfair dismissal.

How much is too much?

Persistent short-term absences can be particularly difficult for employers to manage as they are largely taken at the so...

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04th Aug 2009 18:25

Calculating the impact
There are recognised ways of monitoring the impact of absenteeism on a business and one such method is the Bradford Factor

This is a calculation that tries to determine the disruptive influence of absenteeism based upon the frequency of absences. The underlying assumption is that many shorter periods of absence are more damaging than a single longer period.

However, as with all monitoring tools it has to be used judiciously, otherwise it has the potential to give rise to staff grievances; which then renders it counter productive

James Chrimes
Managing Director
SureBooks Online Accounting & Human Resources

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05th Aug 2009 07:17

Bradford Factor
I agree this is a useful tool to highlight problems of sproradic absence. It does need to be used with care though. The BF will increase dramatically as more short periods are taken and this can lead some managers to over-react. 4 single day absences = 64 points, 10 is 1000, 11 is 1331! How much is reasonable, well it depends on you but 100 as a rule of thumb worked for me.
And make sure that you agree that multiple absences to do with one problem count as one absence in the calculation. Otherwise someone on a course of regular treatment is going to dominate the statistic.

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