St Patrick’s Day: Have you prepared for absenteeism?

St Patrick’s Day parades throughout the island of Ireland have been cancelled because of the coronavirus. Despite this, many employees may still have plans to celebrate.

And, if their fun goes too far, you could find yourself down several staff members. And as you’re well aware, increased absence can cause its fair share of problems.

So, what can you do if employees feel the ill-effects of weekend celebrations?

Put an absenteeism policy in place

Policies should never be overlooked. An absenteeism policy will outline how employee absence should be dealt with.

The policy will also help you handle absences in a fair and consistent manner.

Has the employee complied with the policy?

As with any absence, the employee should notify you right away. An absenteeism policy should clarify this. So, confirm if they have done so in the required manner.

Keep in contact

Reach out to the employee to establish why they’re absent. When you do, record the time and the methods you used to establish contact. These will come in useful during future enquires.

Do absent employees get paid?

Employers are under no general obligation to pay wages during unauthorised periods of absence. That said, your employment contract may state otherwise. If not, the employee is not entitled to receive pay during unauthorised absences.

The benefit of a return to work interview

A return to work interview can answer a lot of questions. It can also help you establish better processes when it comes to handling absence. Also, if the returning employee is unable to explain themselves, you may need to take action.

How to handle repeat offenders

It could happen that a certain employee keeps missing days. If so, it may be time to begin formal disciplinary action. This is never the first option, but it can put a stop to constant short-term absences. The Workplace Relations Commission recently confirmed that frequent absenteeism can justify dismissal.

Take a measured approach

Unauthorised absences can occur for a host of reasons. While they can become frustrating, you don’t want to overreact. Investigate each absence before you decide on what action to take.

Need our help?

If you would like further complimentary advice on the absenteeism from an expert, our advisors are ready to take your call. Call us on 01 886 0350 or request a callback here.

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Nora Cashe

Peninsula

Nóra studied Law in Griffith College Dublin and qualified as a Barrister in 2008, practising in the area of Criminal law. She is also member of the Irish Employment Law Association.

Nora has extensive experience representing clients at Employment Tribunal hearings, Conciliation / Mediation meetings before both the Workplace Relations Commission and the Labour Court. 

Nóra is a member of the Irish Employment Law Association and engages with the WRC Adjudication Service as part of their stakeholder engagement forum.

Deiric McCann

Genos International Europe

Deiric McCann leads Genos International Europe – The EU division of a world-leading provider of emotional intelligence solutions. 

With over two decades experience at the highest levels of management, Deiric supports clients to develop the resilience, emotional intelligence, psychological safety and engagements of their employees.

Rhiannon Coyne

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Rhiannon Coyne is a Senior HR Consultant at Graphite HRM and will be providing an overview of best practice on how to deal with complaints of bullying and harassment in the workplace. 

With a number of recent updates to employment laws, Rhiannon will take a closer look at employment equality and how it is interlinked to Health & Safety and what employers can learn from recent case laws.

David Begg

Workplace Relations Commission

David Begg was appointed Chairperson of the Workplace Relations Commission (WRC) in January 2021.

David is also a professor at Maynooth University Institute of Social Sciences. Mr Begg’s extensive history in the trade union movement included leading the ESB Officers Association and Irish Congress of Trade Unions, stepping away from the latter in 2001 to chair international aid agency Concern.

David Begg was also previously a director of the Central Bank of Ireland between 1995 and 2010.