Risha Singh, Industrial Relations Specialist Consultant at HR Studio explains how best to manage staffing issues at this time of year
It’s that time of the year when the festive season is just around the corner. As employers we understand that it has been a tough year and everyone is looking forward to a break. But with that said, we expect our teams to give one final push over the next 2-3 weeks. It is important to manage staffing properly in order to avoid problems.
While we hope you won’t have to deal with any pre festive disciplinary issues, the reality is that issues such as late arrival for duty, absenteeism and alcohol related offences are common during this period. Here are some tips on how to best manage these situations – however please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need additional support or guidance.
Absenteeism – refers to an employee that is habitually and frequently absent from work – common in the build up to the festive season. While it is so tempting to pull a sickie – like the day after the office year end function, this is considered a minor offense and cause for a warning. If this behaviour becomes consistent it could result in a disciplinary hearing – which no one really wants to deal with in the build up to the holidays!
In the event employees stay away for days on end without notification, this can be considered as desertion. And In the event an employee has been away for 5 consecutive days without making contact, a letter via registered post should be sent to the employee- to which failure to respond can be regarded as sufficient proof of desertion.
Alcohol related offenses are also common over this period and need to be handled carefully. If you suspect that an employee is under the influence of alcohol because they appear disorientated or you can smell alcohol on the employee’s breath, you have the option to breathalyse the employee, following their consent and proper procedure. If you don’t have a breathalyser, an alcohol observation report may be completed. If the person is indeed under the influence, the best approach would be to send them home and initiate disciplinary proceedings upon their return.
If you want to be more proactive at this time of the year, there are proven ways for businesses to keep absenteeism among their employees down to a minimum. Starting with a positive company culture and personal engagement between businesses and staff – which HR Studio can help you implement to ensure that the holiday season begins on a festive foot as opposed to a festive fall.