When an employee is unable to work, be it due to sickness, holiday or maternity/ paternity leave it may cause a strain on your business. Whether it’s one of your dental nurses or a receptionist, absences have an effect on the efficiency and the wages bill of your business.
Whilst an employee is away from your practice invariably the work they do still needs to be done. To do this you may need to pay someone overtime or hire someone on a temporary contract to get things covered and this costs money.
Here are the guidelines of what you should consider in each absence:
In 2014, the Government decided to STOP small businesses being able to reclaim Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in view to make employers manage their absence management better, and to put what money they would save (£14 billion a year) to the Health and Work Service – aimed at helping employees who have been on sickness for four weeks or more, return to work quicker.
So, now you have to foot the bill, does this change the way you look at managing employee absences?
Creating an environment in which your employees benefit from the promotion of health and well-being is a great start to decreasing the probability of employee absences. Whether it be offering wellness programs at work in work time, alleviating stress, giving praise, offering incentives or provide flexible working; these could all help.
Businesses need to ensure their managers are approachable. Provide them with the tools and training to be able to talk to, help and support their colleagues. This may take a little investment, but if your practice suffers from a high level of sickness I’m sure you will soon reap the rewards, having a full complement of employees that are satisfied in their roles; and thus working more efficiently.
All pregnant employees are entitled to reasonable time off with pay for antenatal care, with the expectant father or partner entitled to take time off work to go to two antenatal appointments.
Statutory Paternity Pay (SPP) is payable for 39 weeks; for the first 6 weeks it is paid at 90% of the average weekly earnings, the following 33 weeks will be paid at the SSP rate or 90% of the average weekly earnings whichever is lower. The SSP rate from April 2016 is £139.58 per week.
The good news as an employer is that you can usually reclaim 92% of employees’ Statutory Maternity (SMP), Paternity, Adoption and Shared Paternal Pay.
You can reclaim 103% if your business qualifies for Small Employers’ Relief, which you are entitled to if you paid £45,000 or less in Class 1 National Insurance in the last complete tax year.
Whilst an employee is on maternity leave they are able to use up to 10 keeping in touch (KIT) days. An employee is also entitled to work up to 20 shared parental in touch (SPLIT) days.
These days are optional, with both the employee and employer needing to agree to them and the payment. These days are a good idea for both parties as you can not only use these days to keep the employee up-to-date with training, but also to cover colleagues.
Employees are legally entitled to 5.6 weeks (full-time) paid holiday per year which equates to 28 days. It can be confusing trying to calculate how much holiday various staff members are entitled to but HMRC have a holiday entitlement calendar you can use to help.
Whilst you can’t really change these absences, you can manage them. The key to effective holiday and leave management is to treat all requests fairly and consistently, and this is best achieved by having a clear policy on requesting leave. It’s a good idea to insist that employees give a minimum period of notice when requesting time off, to enable suitable cover to be arranged. Having a holiday planner in a public space in the office can help keep the process transparent and enable staff to plan around each other where possible and good management of staff leave can go a long way towards preventing unplanned absences and improving overall employee engagement.