British bosses are complaining that measures designed to reduce the impact of swine ‘flu on the workplace are in danger of creating a ‘skivers’ charter’.
More than a thousand companies across the country claim staff have been logging-on to an NHS self-diagnosis website to extend their Summer holidays. Absence causes a massive loss in 'days worked' but care needs to be used in deciding between 'skiving' and genuine illness. ELAS are on hand to ensure managers follow employment law when commencing disciplinary proceedings to avoid later tribunals.
The National Pandemic Flu Service advises that individuals who appear to have symptoms associated with swine ‘flu should stay at home for up to seven days.
However, Manchester-based Employment Law Advisory Services (ELAS) says it has been inundated with enquiries from managers who claim colleagues without any signs of illness are using the website and causing more disruption to the workplace than the ‘flu itself.
Peter Mooney, ELAS head of consultancy, said his firm began receiving calls from angry managers as soon as the website became active at the end of last month.
“They feel that some staff are simply taking advantage of current concerns about the transmission of swine ‘flu to take an extra few days off work. Because the emphasis has been on not going to your local GP but using services like this to assess the infection and the risk to others, those who stay at home aren’t going to need a doctor’s note or have too many people calling on them to see how they feel.
“Based on the volume – and the nature - of calls we’ve been taking, the number of deliberate false cases of the condition are having a significant impact on workplaces across the country, something bosses are keen to tackle.”
Mr Mooney warned that additional short-term measures being considered by the Government to address the impact of swine ‘flu could exacerbate the problems being experienced by Britain’s bosses.
The Cabinet Office is deliberating over proposals for a possible six-month extension for the length of time for which people can self-certify in order to get the country through the worst of the crisis.
Those plans would allow individuals to take up to 14 days off work without having to get a doctor’s note.
Mr Mooney added: “Employers believe that by doubling the self-certification limits, you are potentially multiplying the opportunity for untruthful individuals to kid the system.
“The issue is about when and how they can tackle those individuals who they believe have not been ill. After all, they are being told not to return to work until all their symptoms have gone but that doesn’t mean suspicion about whether they really were under the weather won’t persist.”
For more information about the scheme or any other employment law matter, please call ELAS on 0161 785 2000
Visit www.employment-law.uk.com for more information.
For HR Software to manage your absences, visit www.employersafe.co.uk
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