Mon 11 Sep 2023

ACAS publish updated guidance on managing holidays, sickness and leave

The guidance covers holiday entitlement, sickness absence and other types of leave.   

ACAS has recently updated its guidance on managing workplace absence.  While holidays and sickness absence make up a good portion of the guidance, other types of leave and management of absence are also covered.  The guidance is for both employers and employees.

Holiday entitlement is a hot topic at the moment with the UK Government currently analysing feedback on a consultation on calculating holiday entitlement for part-year and irregular hours workers.  The ACAS guidance includes advice on working out the current correct entitlement for these types of workers as well as for full and part-time "regular hours" workers.  It also covers calculating holiday pay and common issues such as how to deal with bank holidays and Christmas as well as providing a link to further guidance on the interaction between holidays and sick leave/pay.

As regards sickness absence, the guidance includes sections on checking sick pay, fit notes and proof of sickness and getting a doctor's report about an employee's health.  A section on Covid remains and although much of it is no longer particularly relevant, there is a section on employee rights when they are absent with long Covid and what the employer should do in those circumstances.

The other types of leave and absence covered in the guidance include time off for dependants, time off for bereavement, supporting disabled people at work and advice on maternity, paternity, adoption and parental leave. 

Rounding off the guidance is advice on the practical aspects of managing absence.  This includes advice on how and when to keep in touch during absence, effective use of absence trigger points, creating absence policies, recording and reducing sickness absence and managing a return to work after absence by way of meetings and phased returns.  Managing unauthorised absence is also included.

As you would expect from ACAS, this guidance goes beyond what is required legally and sets out good practice in managing leave, absence and return to work.  Handling staff absence can be tricky though and further advice should be sought if needed.

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