According to the 2018 survey conducted by the Office of National Statistics, employees took an estimated 141.4 million sick days, which works out on average 4.4 days per worker. But we all know plenty of workers who don't take any sick days, meaning other workers are taking a lot more than 4.4 days...
When an employee takes an unexpected day off, it causes a headache for his or her employer or manager. Not only do they have to find a replacement or do without and fall behind on workloads, they probably still have to pay the employee. When employee's take regular unexpected leaves of absence, it creates all sorts of problems within the workplace including; financial issues, team morale, workplace conflicts, poor team performance and the list goes on. When businesses take on new employee's, the best is expected from them. Never has a potential candidate explained during an interview that he or she often takes Friday's off to go out with friends and socialise, or struggles to get in on Monday's because the heavy weekends he or she enjoys. If this was disclosed at interview, the job is highly unlikely to be offered. So why should an employer put up with it once the job has been offered?
Employee absenteeism problems are most common with companies who offer full sick pay within their contracts. This is a benefit most people would be lucky to have, but unfortunately some people really do take this perk for granted. It has no effect on an employee's bank balance if a few days here and there were to be missed, but it will definitely affect business performance.
Most employees have genuine reasons for taking a leave of absence, but some have other ideas. It's the latter that we are concerned about, and employers should be to. Employers generally have to take an employee's word for why they are not coming into work for the rest of the week, but with the help from Sentry Investigations, we can evidence the real reasons for absence. It's like most things that don't add up, if your gut is telling you that an employee is lying, or fabricating an illness for example, then he or she probably is. When it's got the stage where a business has had enough of the lies and excuses for an employee not coming into work, it's time to get it investigated. Employers do have tread carefully as the absences may in fact be totally genuine. Employers must also ensure they do not let personal feelings towards the employee get in the way with how they proceed. This could be classed as discrimination which will backfire and cause further problems down the line. The best course of action is to have the issue professionally investigated to ensure you have all the facts and evidence behind the reasons for absence. The employee may have some serious welfare concerns, or have a long-term illness that was never disclosed. To jump the gun by disciplining the employee may make the situation worse for him or her which is no good for anyone.
Employee absence corporate investigations usually involve a period of surveillance. We can investigate with a single operative or a team of operatives to gather the evidence required. We build up a timeline of events to paint of picture of the employee's lifestyle and social interactions. Those that are guilty of playing the system are often found out and about without a care in the world visiting family and friends, dining in bars, cafes and restaurants or even taking short trips away to holiday destinations. Surveillance operation's provide businesses with the evidence required, but we also work with HR departments to help build disciplinary cases. Sentry Investigations are very familiar with the employment laws surrounding investigations, and we seek practical advice where necessary to ensure we remain legally compliant throughout the operation.
With the clear-cut evidence Sentry Investigations provide, a business will be able to make an informed decision on how best to proceed. If the employee in question is genuine with regards to his or her reasons for absence, then great, close the case and support the employee in the best way possible. If the employee is found to be fabricating his or her reasons for absence because of the social life taking priority, then a disciplinary course of action is probably more appropriate. The evidence we gather from our mobile surveillance operations is distributed in 4K video resolution format which is backed up with an electronic report complete with stills imagery. Our reports are extensively detailed highlighting sequences of events in chronological order. The reports include but are not limited to...
- Confirmation of employee through description
- Address confirmation
- Associated vehicles
- Presence of injuries or noticeable illnesses
- Presence of assistance (carers, crutches, wheelchairs etc)
- Driving styles
- Places visited
- People visited
- Social lifestyle
- Alternative employment/work arrangements...
Alternative working arrangements are also a common occurrence with employee absenteeism cases. An employee can only be in one place at one time, and if the employee is receiving full sick pay from one employer, he or she can earn double by working elsewhere. Even if the employee is not on full sick pay, he or she could be earning more through the other line of work which will naturally drop the main employer on the priority list. It is quite often that our clients have an idea of what's going on. This is usually through word of mouth or a sighting of the employee working elsewhere. However, sometimes these things only come to light during the investigation which can be quite shocking for an employer. It shows a lack of respect and loyalty which is not what any business wants from their staff.
If you suspect fabricated employee absenteeism in your business, and you require private detective services in Birmingham, contact Sentry Investigations today. We will plan and conduct a professional investigation around your requirements, and evidence any potential wrongdoings.
Visit the Office of National Statistics (ONS) for the latest details regarding employee absenteeism.