Whilst pleasant weather normally brings a smile to most folks, it can also bring a touch of The ‘Sicknote’ in some... According to a YouGov poll, 19% of British workers has lied about being sick to get off work in the last year. If these figures are right, that means that potentially, 1 in 5 of your team has pulled a sickie over the last 12 months. So it's definitely something to watch out for, particularly when the mercury starts to rise.

But what do you do when you suspect one of your team might be pulling a fast one and you don’t know how to call them on it?

Keep A Cool Head - This Is What Policies Are For

You might be tempted to leap into a stern word on the phone or get on their case when they return. But tread carefully. If you suspect that an employee of yours is guilty of lying about their sickness, it falls under misconduct and therefore should be dealt with under your written disciplinary policy in a formal way. Hopefully this has been already communicated to your team members when they joined the business, but if not, you need to clearly outline it to them.

Gather Evidence

The first part of a disciplinary process will normally be to undertake an investigation to see what evidence you can find to corroborate your suspicions and therefore even whether a disciplinary is actually necessary. Having a ‘feeling’ therefore is not exactly firm evidence. Nor is someone just being active on social media (if you’re connected on any medium you may be able to see their activity) necessarily evidence of lying - as we all know that updates can be made within seconds. Updates which include selfies of them lounging about by a pool or sitting in a beer garden may prove more interesting (!), but still need to be investigated (take screenshots) and the employee given a chance to explain before any action is taken.

Hold A Return To Work Interview

Even if you have none of these,I would recommend speaking to your team members on their return, and hold what we in HR call a ‘return to work interview’. Explain your concerns about their sickness and the impact it had on the rest of the team. You might not be able to prove that they were off for the reason they gave, but this sends a strong message that they can't pull the wool over your eyes - without getting too heavy. In most cases this is enough to nip this type of behaviour in the bud.

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