Law firm Shoosmiths has an overall absence management policy in place for its 1,400 employees, which is clearly communicated to all staff.
It uses a trigger mechanism so that if employees are off work for up to five days on three or more occasions, they will have a meeting with management to ascertain any underlying problems. Most absentees also have return-to-work interviews.
The company offers a number of healthcare benefits aimed at tackling absence. It provides stress management workshops for all employees and has posted self-help information on its intranet site. Staff who have been with the company at least five years or who receive an annual salary of over £25,000, meanwhile, are eligible for company-paid private medical insurance, while all other employees are offered discounted rates if they wish to purchase PMI cover themselves.
If employees are absent for an extended period, they are introduced back into their jobs gradually and may be given the option of working flexibly to help them readjust. Louise Hadland, HR and facilities management director, explains: “Because we do not have an issue with absence, we can afford to be much more positive, constructive and proactive in terms of absence management. It could be a self-fulfiling prophecy that we don’t have an issue because of the steps that we have taken.”