Employee unwilling to explain their ongoing sick leave
A member of one of our client teams has been signed off sick for the past few months. Usually they are being signed off for between two weeks to a month at a time. The employee won’t let us speak to their doctor and won’t attend an appointment with our physician. They have exhausted their paid sick leave and we can’t get any indication of if or when they will be returning to the office. What can we do?
Hana Plsek, senior associate at Collas Crill, replies:
IT IS not clear what the individual is signed off for. I mention only because if it is mental health related, how you approach it may differ.
Ultimately, this must be having a negative impact on the remaining team who are not only doing their own work, but that of their peer’s. I suggest that you request a meeting with the employee with a view to starting capability proceedings.
If the employee is unwilling to engage informally, suggesting capability proceedings may spur them to engage with you. Should they begin to engage, you will hopefully be able to gather an understanding of what is happening and may be able to make adjustments (if needed) to assist them in returning to work.
If you are still met with resistance to engage, you may find yourself in the unfortunate position where you need to think about terminating their contract of employment.
Be sure that you have exhausted all avenues to make contact with the person before you begin formal proceedings.