What happens when a Sun Day is not a Sunday?
With the recent sunshine and soaring temperatures in the UK sending sick leave figures into record highs other employers have made the decision to send employees home due to unreasonable working conditions as a result of the heat.
But if working conditions are reasonable, and you suspect that an employee is not really sick but wants a day off in the back garden, are employers allowed to question their employees sick leave? What about an employee phoning in sick on the basis they have to stay in bed all day but then arrive back at work with a stunning sun tan? Is an employer allowed to question that member of staff about their new sun glow? Does it make a difference if they knew the team were short staffed and they have let clients down or had to cancel fee-paying appointments which could arguably have brought the organisation into disrepute?
As with many HR scenarios there are no hard and fast rules. Each set of circumstances and each individual must be considered on their own merit and must always be viewed objectively with a full investigation if necessary but essentially there is no reason why questions can’t be asked.
The review has to be done in the right way and an employee’s length of service will have a bearing on what format this will take. Options range from a welfare meeting to an informal discussion, a formal disciplinary, an investigation or even a dismissal.
Remember a large part of the role of a HR Manager or general manager is to ensure accountability exists in the workplace. To have suspicions or hear staff gossiping about other staff taking time off to sit in the sun means that questions should be asked.
There is no point taking the easy way out and hoping these matters will go away by themselves, this only makes it worse.
Communication and being sensitive is key but questions that others are thinking will be the HR managers job to ask. If you need assistance or want to discuss any issues feel free to call DLP and speak with an advisor.