MANAGING frequent and short term absenteeism is frustrating and so it is best to nip it in the bud early on, as soon as a pattern is identified, says The HR Dept Basingstoke & Hart.

Karen Sanders, from the consultancy firm, based at The Old Stables Business Centre, in Ewshot, said interviews can be used as an effective tool as part of an absence management process.

This month The HR Dept Basingstoke & Hart is providing businesses with free advice on how to structure a return-to-work interview following an absent member of staff’s return to work.

Karen said: “We often get calls from disgruntled employers who want to discipline staff for a high absence rate. “However, if there aren’t clear records of the absenteeism the case will not be strong enough to enable the employer to sack their errant employee.

“Of course, business owners need evidence to support their allegation in case they are accused of unfair dismissal and taken to an employment tribunal.

“Particular care should be taken when dealing with long term absence as it is likely to fall under the disability categorisation of the Equality Act.”

At the end of 2013 it was announced that absence levels had increased by 20 per cent over the last year alone and are now at a rate of 7.6 days per employee.

This means absence levels are reaching the heights that they did in 2011 and 2010.

Now more than ever, staying on top of absenteeism is crucial to the smooth running of your business.

Karen said recording these absences as and when they happen will save a lot of hassle down the line.

She said: “If all of your personnel admin is kept up to date it will ease a lot of the strain if queries are raised later on.

“Using a simple online personnel system like The HR Dept Toolkit, you can keep track of any absences.

“This allows you to detect any patterns early on saving you from a lot of hassle down the road.”