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ClearSky Business Publishes Seasonal HR Tips on Winter Sickness Absences

As workers all over the UK come down with seasonal sniffles, ClearSky Business has published a how-to guide for employers on managing sickness absence during winter.


Illnesses such as common colds, chesty coughs and more severe flus leave small businesses short on staff; during periods which, for many companies, are crucial to their financial year.”

According to the how-to guide, published on the company’s popular blog, some of the most problematic employment law and sickness issues arise in December, despite it being amongst the shortest working months of the year.

In addition to an influx of holiday requests, and the disruptions caused by adverse weather conditions, many employers are forced to tackle an increase in sickness absence throughout the winter period.

A recent survey from BUPA claimed that 71% of small businesses suffer a spike in absence before Christmas. Illnesses such as common colds, chesty coughs and more severe flus leave small businesses short on staff; during periods which, for many companies, are crucial to their financial year.

Of these businesses, a further 50% suspected that sickness absences were often self inflicted; a fact that they attributed to the busy Christmas party season.

ClearSky Business claims that the best way to combat these suspect illnesses is a robust sickness absence policy; just as long as it complies with modern employment law. This ensures that all staff are aware of the seriousness of avoidable absence, and could prevent a problem arising.

Employment law legislation states that sickness absence policies should be included in every employee’s contract of employment; in order to inform them of key factors from day one. This includes:

  • When and how to notify a line manager of an unavoidable sickness absence.
  • Details on sick pay arrangements.
  • The medical documents or certification required by staff in the event of an absence.
  • The consequences should an employee fail to comply with the policy.

Employers and managers also have responsibilities, which include monitoring and recording unauthorised sickness absences, in order to identify patterns or trends.

The BUPA survey also highlighted the role of stress during winter, as reduced workforces areleft with heavier workloads as they struggle to meet output targets.
For many small businesses around the UK, it would prove too costly to provide temporary cover during winter. This leaves the remaining workforce to pick up the slack.

Clearsky Business warns that the role of these workers should not be underestimated. They recommend that employees are given support during a period of increased workload. This could safeguard against a drop in productivity and performance.

Employment law problems can arise when sickness is not properly dealt with during winter. This could result in costly tribunal claims. Thankfully, Clearsky Business boasts a team of CIPD-qualified HR consultants with the experience to ensure that companies perform well in the run up to Christmas and beyond.

The ClearSky Business blog is a goldmine of information for small businesses. By keeping up to date with Clearsky Business, SMEs can be confident that they are up to date with employment law and HR.

In turn, this allows them to spend as much time as possible focusing on the things that their particular business does best.

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