How can you tell if your employees are genuinely sick? Use a lie detector? Or rely on the “Fit Notes” from the GP (which, by the way, an enterprising part of the economy has started falsifying and selling online!) Part of this uncertainty will however soon be a thing of the past.
Next year, the NHS is introducing e-Med for GPs where each Fit Note will be completed by computer and with a unique barcode on it. That makes it easy for you to check that it is genuine and really difficult for the budding entrepreneurs to falsify.
If you have a problem with sickness absence, it is best to approach this in two ways:
- Managing their performance, regular feedback, setting objectives
- From a H&S perspective is there anything at work causing sickness that you could change? Back problems, for example, can come from poor posture at work stations and when lifting. Using the correct procedures and methods can make a huge difference.
The best way to reduce sickness absence, above all others INCLUDING not paying it, is to have a return to work interview with them on their first day, first hour of returning to work. This means they would have to look you in the eye and potentially lie about why they were away.
Most people do not want to do this.
And if they are happy doing this, you have major problems, because what else at work are they lying about?