Advice For Business

Managing Long Term Sickness

If you have an employee who is long term sick, and you need the work to be covered, what are your legal options?

It is a common problem, you recognise your employee's need for time to recover yet the work still needs to be done. In these circumstances, it is necessary for the employer to follow a procedure, which, if it were to be scrutinised in the future, either by a legal representative acting for the employee or ultimately an Employment Tribunal, is fair and reasonable.

The key to a fair procedure for employers with employees on long term ill-health or disability absence is:

  1. Consultation with the employee
  2. Medical investigation. - Review a GP's report or report from occupational health after obtaining the employee's written consent to obtain these.
  3. Consideration, where appropriate of alternative employment

Can I dismiss?

If after following a full procedure, the employee is unable to return to work in the imminent future and there is no definite timescale for the employee to return in the near future, then at that stage it would be reasonable to dismiss on notice. Dismissal for ill health is a potentially fair reason for dismissal as it relates to the employee’s capability to do the work which he/she was employed to do, Section 98 Employment Rights Act 1996.

Legal advice

If you have an employee on long term sickness absence and need help to manage the situation, Pearson Solicitors Employment Law team can guide you through the difficulties of ill health capability, performance managing, plus the aspects to consider whether the employee may gain protection under the Equality Act 2010 (The Discrimination Legislation).

Please contact our Employment Law Solicitors to discuss this further.