How sick am I of sickness? Well sicker than a germ warfare factory on overtime, that’s how much.
My metrics show, despite the department’s best efforts, we’ve already exceeded last year’s absenteeism figure – and that’s before the Christmas booze-ups. This will not please the board. It does not please me. Now I read in some awful tabloid that there will be a “war on sicknote Britain”.
Very worrying, I’d say, if you’re sick. I believe in being robust and legal with slackers but I draw the line at carpet bombing them – well most of them.
Nevertheless, it looks like we HR leaders will be asked to devise more effective ways to reduce absenteeism. I have called a meeting of my senior HR professionals to discuss what to do about this.
One’s e-mailed me an idea which I think he’s picked up from the TV. He says we should compel slackers – sorry, staff who are ill – to call a medical expert, for example a nurse, who’ll talk them through their symptoms.
Then if the nurse tells them they are fine, and if they’re not in work pronto, they will get a conduct warning and a pay deduction.
Well there’s a germ of a good idea there, but I fear there could be unwanted legal consequences.
My view is that escalating absenteeism is largely a consequence of low unemployment and what would really help is a slump.
This could be some time away. So I suggest we designate occupational health as the department of well-being (DWB) and give it more powers.
These will allow it to tell staff who’ve taken uncertificated sick leave to attend a rigorous one-hour health and wellbeing session with the DWB at 7.30am prompt on the first Monday of their return.
That should bring the colour back to their cheeks.