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Off sick but suspect employee gone on holiday

(84 Posts)
fedupandtired Thu 08-Aug-13 17:54:08

Employee requested some annual leave but it wasn't authorised due to too many other people already off. Employee then phones in sick, says she's got a doctors note but a weeks passed and we've yet to receive it. On phoning employee her phone goes straight to voicemail each time.

This particular employee has been disciplined several times in the past over her sick record and since December not a month has gone by without her having some time off sick.

I strongly suspect she's gone ahead and gone on holiday but is there anything we can do? The type of work means that others have to cover and if they can't we have to get in agency which of course costs a fortune.

CoconutSponge Thu 08-Aug-13 18:22:43

How big is your company? Are you her Manager?

What is your policy and do you have any other contacts for her?

I would be cautious just in case she is in Hospital or something, but you could consider writing to her saying you are witholding pay until she produces her Doctors Certificate as she is currently on unauthorised absence?

Obviously if you wanted to proceed to disciplinary you would need to find her and produce evidence etc?

thistlelicker Thu 08-Aug-13 18:29:33

You the manager?

If not what is it your business? You don't know why this person is off, who are you to judge? Perhaps doctor has
Told her to take. Break and
Have a holiday?

fedupandtired Thu 08-Aug-13 18:39:12

If it wasn't my business I wouldn't be asking, FGS!

No I'm not her manager. We're a very small company and I'm the HR Administrator (just a job title as I have no formal qualifications) therefore that makes it my business to know why she's off.

We were going to write to her but have just been told she's moved but hasn't bothered giving us her new address.

CoconutSponge Thu 08-Aug-13 18:43:18

Who told you she has moved?

When is she due back to work? (How long did she say she would be off for?).

Is there anyone you could contact to "check she is ok" such as a next of kin contact for example?

flowery Thu 08-Aug-13 18:44:03

When are you expecting her back? If she's said she has a doctors but doesn't produce it on her return, discipline her.

Doilooklikeatourist Thu 08-Aug-13 18:45:58

She sounds awful .
Do you have to pay her if she's " off sick " ?
As she's already been disciplined can you just get rid of her ?
Or give her a written / final warning ?
I run a small business and couldn't cope with an employee like that

Nyla Thu 08-Aug-13 18:48:33

She doesn't sound very reliable. I know we all get ill or have issues now and then but sounds like she's skived and gone anyway.

Weird that she's not given you new address and turned phone off (unless gone abroad) maybe she's not coming back and can't face telling you

SomeDizzyWhore1804 Thu 08-Aug-13 18:50:33

Can you not deal with it when she gets back? She's got to come back sometime and will have to get the certificate to you and if she's doesn't then you can discipline accordingly.

alwaysinamuckingfuddle Thu 08-Aug-13 18:50:43

Sounds like someone I used to work with!

Booked the time off between Christmas and New Year but didn't end up coming back to work until about the 10th Jan as she was sick. She came back to work with a tan... Was always off sick.

fedupandtired Thu 08-Aug-13 18:55:49

She said she's signed off until 19th Aug.

I'm not sure who said she'd moved but our manager told me today, I guess someone told her. I can check her next of kin details tomorrow.

She'll only get SSP and obviously only then if she produces the doctors note. It's caused huge problems which is why it wasn't authorised in the first place. I'd even sent out a memo saying we couldn't authorise anymore annual leave for this week and then she went and booked her holiday anyway.

CoconutSponge Thu 08-Aug-13 18:58:36

Did she give any reason for suddenly being off sick for two weeks?

futuredad Thu 08-Aug-13 19:01:33

OP - have you tried to see if her Facebook profile indicates that she's on holiday?

Lighthousekeeping Thu 08-Aug-13 19:01:44

I don't think she'll be back.

fedupandtired Thu 08-Aug-13 19:04:14

The message I got was she had a bad back, doctor had signed her off but she'd come in and do her shift that day if we couldn't find cover. That in itself seems suspicious as surely if she'd been signed off she shouldn't have even offered to do her shift. She was asked to drop her sick note in but its yet to appear.

CoconutSponge Thu 08-Aug-13 19:08:56

It certainly does seem suspicious, and if she had come in to work you would be in a very dodgy place legally as she had supposedly been signed unfit, so if there were any incidents during her shift...

Snazzyenjoyingsummer Thu 08-Aug-13 19:17:55

Agree with Lighthouse that I doubt she will be back. If she does return, discipline her if no sick note, and you need a policy to stop all this nonsense.

thefirstmrsrochester Thu 08-Aug-13 19:19:30

The request for leave being declined does look a bit suspicious.
I wouldn't read anything into the landline not being answered though - I ignore mine as its always sales calls etc.
Even if she does come back to work in two weeks with a suntan, I don't know what you'd be able to do if she supplies a line from her doctor.
If she is pulling a fast one then its really shitty for everyone else who has to cover.

fedupandtired Thu 08-Aug-13 19:28:51

It's not a landline going unanswered, its her mobile going straight to voice mail without even ringing. Considering how frequently I ring her ordinarily this is very unusual.

What sort of policy could we put in place to prevent it though?

By doing nothing it just leaves the door open to other staff doing similar although I guess we just wait and see if this doctors note ever materialises.

MooseBeTimeForSpring Thu 08-Aug-13 19:31:58

Could you ask to see her passport? I suspect not, human rights and all that ...

fedupandtired Thu 08-Aug-13 19:36:33

I think that might be pushing it!

CoconutSponge Thu 08-Aug-13 19:38:50

You need an Absence Management Policy, so that staff know what is expected and you can enforce standards of attendance?

To prevent repeat offenders...

I would still be a bit cautious at this stage, something could have happened to her, try and find out who her emergency contact is and or her new address, and don't go in all guns blazing just yet.

tribpot Thu 08-Aug-13 19:39:17

It would be pushing it - and probably show nothing, surely? She won't have a stamp in it if she's been anywhere in Europe.

wakeupandsmellthecoffee Thu 08-Aug-13 19:41:30

Check her facebook

hermioneweasley Thu 08-Aug-13 19:44:36

Often people are stupid enough to post on Facebook while using this stunt so check if anyone is friends with her.

I would leave a voicemail message stating that you need to meet as part of your attendance management and because of her sickness record and because this co-incides with the time she wanted off. If she doesn't get back to you, I would go round to the house and speak to the neighbours.

If you carry out a reasonable investigation and have a reasonable belief n the balance of probabilities, you can dismiss her for gross misconduct.

And your employer needs to pay for a proper HR advice service rather than you having to ask strangers on the Internet.

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