Bosses hit by a holiday sickener

Millions of workers could land their bosses with another headache – by reclaiming annual leave after being ill at Christmas.

Staff at many major companies and especially in the public sector would be able to use little-known clauses in their contracts to get back any holidays they spent in their sickbeds.

With colds, flu and the debilitating norovirus laying low hundreds of thousands of people every day, it would leave businesses struggling to cover even more absences.

The British Chambers of Commerce asked: ‘Does that mean because I was in bed ill at the weekend that I can have a few days off this week?’

Sick leave already costs the British economy £13billion every year with each day taken costing an employer between £138 and £156.

On Monday, the first day back at work for many after the Christmas break, an estimated 2.4million people stayed at home.

It is not a statutory right for staff to reclaim days lost to sickness but it is offered to employees of organisations such as Marks and Spencer, the House of Commons and the police.

Some do not even require a doctor’s note.

FirstCare, a company which helps tackle work absence for businesses including Coca Cola and British Gas, said Monday was the worst day it had even seen for sickness but many of its clients had holiday reclamation policies. It added: ‘This time of year is really tough.

There’s a lot of reasons why people are off sick but it is in the best interests of a company to give the holiday back.’

John Wright, chairman of the Federation of Small Businesses, said absenteeism hit small firms hard.

He added: ‘At this difficult time, it is important that people make respon­sible decisions and consider their colleagues when taking sick leave.’

(Source: http://www.metro.co.uk/news/article.html?Bosses_hit_by_a_holiday_sickener&in_article_id=462404&in_page_id=34)

Richard Reid is the founder of Pinnacle Proactive, Specialising in theEmployee Assistance ProgramStress ManagementStaff Retention & Absenteeism. Take a Proactive Approach to Growing Your Organisation & its People. For more info visit http://www.pinnacleproactive.com

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