Dismissal Due to Absenteeism
An employee may be incapable of performing the job adequately through ill-health. Considerations may well depend on whether there are repeated brief absences or whether it is of a long-term nature.
Frequent absenteeism due to illness requires you to be sympathetic, offer positive assistance and take all the circumstances of the job, the employee's record and your own business position into account when deciding if dismissal is inevitable. A first meeting should involve a recorded discussion of the problem (e.g. backache, headache, migraine). Medical advice should be recommended and where appropriate, a period of time for improvement should be allowed. If problems persist, you should consider whether the employee has taken all available help.
Long Term Sickness
In the case of long-term sickness, sympathetic consideration is again required. It is important to determine whether or not the employee is disabled under the Equality Act 2010.
In any case involving absence from work, you should ensure throughout the absence that the employee keeps you properly up to date with the progress of his illness or injury. Issues as to sick pay and certification of absence should also be taken into account.
Suspension on Health and Safety Grounds
If an employee is suspended on health and safety grounds, he or she may well be entitled to be paid during that time. If suspension is on maternity grounds, the woman has the right to be offered alternative work if it is available, failing which she must be paid her normal wage during her absence.