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Employee Faking An Illness? Here’s What To Do Next

Most of us have done it at some point or another. Whether it was in school or over the course of your working career, feigning illness is all but a natural part of life.

But for business owners, it can be damaging. Less employees equals less bodies to complete valuable work. It can result in a reduction of net profit, and ruin customer relationships if you don’t have the manpower to satisfy them.

But if you suspect, or know for a fact, that an employee is faking, how do you handle this situation? It’s rather delicate, and you must tread carefully. Below, you’ll find a mini-guide to effectively controlling this scenario, along with some vital steps you must take.


Firstly, deal with the first few days as normal

Until you can get around to revealing that fakery, you must continue with sorting that staff members sick pay as per national law. Have a read up on your statutory sick pay guidelines and advice to find out the minimum you should pay them, so you aren’t breaching the rules.

You won’t be allowed to ask for a doctor’s note straightaway either. Legally, your employee doesn’t have to provide this until after 8 days of illness. This puts you in a tricky situation, because you could potentially be waiting more than a week to establish what’s going on.

Once you are allowed to ask for a doctor’s note, you’ll have the answer you seek. Until then, remain in line with the law and stick to national policy.

Implement a sickness policy

Not all businesses have one of their own, but a strong illness policy can allow you to easily weed out any fakers.

There are several ways you can go about this. Just be sure to make it clear in your initial employee contract. Once you’ve set the rules, enforce the fact that any breach of them could lead to disciplinary action or dismissal.

These rules include having your staff contact you by 9am on the day of any sickness. Of course, you’ll need to allow for exceptions, but for the most part, be strict. Another rule you could implement is a series of rewards and prizes for perfect attendance.

This could include a financial bonus, awarded each month, if you don’t miss a day. Alternatively, you could do it weekly, or annually – every Christmas, perhaps. This is likely to compel staff to work hard, removing the temptation to fake an injury with the prospect of financial gain.

Offer to accommodate illnesses

If you create a work environment that accommodates various illnesses and injuries, it gives staff no excuse if they come down with one.

For example, you could have room in your office for staff members who can only work shorter hours. Or, you could allow people to work without performing any manual labour.

This way, your staff can’t say they ‘must stay at home’ if they can easily still come into work. Of course, you can’t cover every injury, but it can’t hurt to try your best.