Long Term Sickness – Absence and Dismissal Procedures

The issue of absence and dismissal for employees who are suffering from long-term sicknesses is a complex one. It is often thought that employers are required to keep a position open for a sick person indefinitely, but this is not strictly true. It is, however, important that the employer manages the long-term absence in an appropriate way.

If you want to dismiss an employee who has been absent from work for a long time then you will have to be able to demonstrate that you followed the correct dismissal procedure and explored all the options that were open to you. If you have done that, it may also be worthwhile seeking the appropriate legal advice from a qualified employment law solicitor.

The Equality Act and Long-Term Sickness

The Equality Act 2010 has made it easy for employees to show that they have a disability. Those who are disabled do enjoy some protection under current legislation, but that protection does not mean that an employer cannot release an employee if they are unable to do their job.

If someone takes time off work for a prolonged period of time, then you will have to show that you have taken all appropriate measures to help them come back to work. This includes but is not limited to, finding alternative hours, offering them other duties, or finding an alternative role so that they can still perform some function at the company.

You must keep records to show the discussions that you had with the employee and any reasonable adjustments that you have made. If you come to the conclusion that a specific adjustment is not reasonable or practical then you should document why that decision was made and what other options you considered.

If an employee takes time off due to ill health, then you should consider other options such as other jobs, part-time hours, flexible working or similar accommodations for that employee. It may be a good idea to send an employee to an occupational health provider to help them find options for other working arrangements or to determine whether their illness is short-term, progressive, permanent, resolvable or manageable in some way.

Dismissal should be the last resort and only used if you are not able to find a way to support the employee in fulfilling a role at the company.

Remember that the employee has the right to see what is put in their referral to occupational health. Be mindful of any language that you use in the letter to ensure that the employee feels that you are supporting them every step of the way.

Disclaimer: The contents of this article are for information purposes only and should not be relied upon as formal legal advice. We cannot accept responsibility for any loss as a result of acts or omissions taken in respect of this article. Specific legal advice should be sort tailored to the individual circumstances in all cases.

For any information relating to our services please give us a call and we will be very happy to help.

For any information relating to our services please give us a call and we will be very happy to help.

We can be contacted 24 hours a day.

Our Head Office address is:

Davidson House
Forbury Square,
Reading, Berkshire,
0118 914 5622

Bristol Tel: 0117 321 7700
High Wycombe Tel: 01494 611236
Oxford Tel: 01865 565325
Swindon Tel: 01793 467124
Kingston Tel: 02080 176207
Richmond Tel: 01748 883585
Chelsea Tel: 02080 176205
Guildford Tel: 01483 958228
Mayfair Tel: 02080 176208
Basingstoke Tel: 01256 675124
Harrow Tel: 02080 176206
Slough Tel: 0175 3911813
Watford Tel: 01923 923161
Twickenham Tel: 02080 176209
Fax:  0118 900 1656

Contacting DPH Legal by email

Have you found an inaccuracy in our content?

Have trouble using our website? webmaster@dphlegal.com

Interested in joining our team? recruitment@dphlegal.com

Have a suggestion on how we can be even better? feedback@dphlegal.com

Have a general enquiry?  info@dphlegal.com or you can use our contact form.

    We can be contacted 24 hours a day.
    Our Reading Head Office address is:

    Davidson House
    Forbury Square
    RG1 3EU
    0118 914 5622
    07850 952245