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Question: "A small hardcore of our employees is absent regularly on Mondays, Fridays and the days before and after holidays. However they always have a plausible reason, usually sickness, which we are unable to prove one way or another. Is there anything we can do?"
Indeed there is. The next time one of them has one of these absences, discuss the reason and also point out the unfortunate pattern. You do not need proof that the absence is genuine. If you have adequately explored the reasons with the employee and conclude that not all these absences have been genuine, then you are entitled to take disciplinary action. Just make sure that you are basing your decision on the pattern of absence and not on other factors such as the employee looks shifty or is not a good worker.
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