The average sickness absence rate is about 3% of working time or roughly 6-7 days per person per year. Managing Sickness absence fairly is about getting and keeping channels of communication and expectations open; good records of sick notes; return to work interviews and keeping track of agreed actions on both sides.
We do have the right to ask for medical information to help us assess if the employee might be disabled under the meaning of the Equality Act. This can be from their doctor or Occupational Heath as we need information to act fairly. We are not medical professionals and can’t make stuff up about health matters.
The actions we can fairly take to be sympathetic but still set clear parameters with unwell employees depends very much on individual circumstances and each case is different. A lot depends on the individual’s history and prognosis.
Please get in touch with me if you would like my help in discussing a particular action plan.