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Sickness absence during probation

Sickness absence during probation

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Dear All,

Does anyone have a policy/procedure or guidelines for managers in handling sickness absence during probation periods?

I would be very interested to see what other companies do before preparing this guidance for our management team.

Thanks and regards

Christine May

Replies (5)

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By oxleyj.williamhoyland
27th Jan 2006 09:00

Our employees received no firms sick pay for the first three months of employment and this is written in to their contract of employment.

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By purplecazza
18th Jan 2006 15:22

I am also interested in this issue too as we had some off for 3 months unpaid leave after only worked 2 months, our probationary period being 3 months.


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Sandra Beale, HR consultant
By sbeale
24th Jan 2006 09:51

Sickness absence in the probation period should be assessed as part of performance.

During probation if performance is unsatisfactory then the period is either extended to try and overcome the problem or the employee is dismissed with medical evidence having been obtained of fitness for the duties and potential DDA link.

Your policy should be amended to reflect this.

If an employee has high absence during probation this is a good indicator of future performance.

Sandra Beale

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By cazzie55
24th Jan 2006 09:57

The first thing you need to do is to extend the probationary period as you have not had adequate time to assess their performance due to their absence. If someone has been away for 2 months during their 3 month probationary period, then extend it for a further 2 months in order to get a true picture of their performance.

The other thing to remember, is that you could still deal with their absence through the disciplinary procedure, or through a capability procedure if you have one. A lot of disciplinary and capability procedures however do state that they are not applicable during probationary periods (you'll have to check yours).

The other way of doing it is that you can decide not to confirm someone's probationary period if you feel it hasn't been completed satisfactorily (for whatever reason). The employee has no right to claim unfair dismissal, so shouldn't have any come back on you - your only problem may be if the reason for terminating is due to a sickness issue covered in the DDA as the employee could still claim under this legislation regardless of length of service.

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By User deleted
25th Jan 2006 13:31

We look at each case indivdually.

Our general ruling is:

We only pay for sickness under SSP rulings whilst on probation. The employee also needs to have six months attendance in order to qualify for company sick pay, otherwise they continue to receive SSP.

We have found that this has cut down on absence during probation - our stats showed that people on probation were the group with the highest absence rate.

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