The employment handbook is the first reference to an employer's position on sickness, although there is no legal requirement for the employer to have a written policy.
Employers may chose to monitor sickness absence to improve productivity but also to maintain employee morale by ensuring that their employees only have to cover for genuine illness and that the workload is evenly distributed.
The basic rules relating to sick pay and monitoring may be in the employment contract or the employment handbook. The two key areas of focus are the requirments on reporting sickness absence and back to work interviews/appraisals. It is by using these lines of communication that an employer can identify a problem that needs to be addressed. The employer may also have a right to see medical records, or to have their own doctor examine an employee, or may ask the employee to consent to these requests.
Dealing with sickness absence may also touch on issues from the Disability Discrimination Act. This can be a complex area of law and if you are concerned about dealing with an employee who ha a long term or recurring illness issue or you are an employee suffering from an illness and think you are being treated unfairly then call Andre or Ruth for advice from the employment solictors at Stone Joseph. You should also see Employee Monitoring and Sick Pay.