Still on the subject of apps, a new Android app, Skiver, has been released by a Company in Gateshead, according to a report by the Chartered Management Institute, which aims to help users pull a sickie.
The app covers all bases for would be skivers by allowing them to select how many days off they are looking for and then providing a selection of plausible illnesses together with a list of symptoms to ensure that the user has all the information to fool their boss.
The app even provides a style email which can be sent directly to the user's boss notifying them of the absence.
Once the cover story is in place the app provides the user with an array of activities in their area to ensure that they make the most of their sickie.
Although this app is described by its makers as "tongue in cheek", and it is unlikely to present a major threat to employers trying to control attendance levels, there is no doubt that the issue of sickies is a major one for employers. There are though certain things that an employer can do to check out an employee's sickness.
Firstly, the relevant policy and the contract of employment should provide that the employee has to call in to report their absence, rather than send an email or text message. It's always going to be more difficult for an employee to have a conversation about a fabricated illness than it is to communicate it through email. They should also be required to call in sick on each day of absence until a fit note is submitted, which is also likely to act as a deterrent. In addition, having return to work interviews in place as a matter of course following absence can deter fake sickness absences because the individual knows that they will have to discuss their absence on their return. If there is repeated absence, or a pattern of absences involving absence on a specific day, then you can proceed with disciplinary action subject to an appropriate procedure being followed. Watch out though for any disability discrimination issues that might be the cause of the regular absences.
In addition, if this is a problem for your organisation then it is important to consider issues such as:-
- Management Reporting – e.g. cost of absence, lost time rate, Bradford factor
- Ensure that absence figures are circulated to the relevant people within the organisation
- Be clear who is responsible for absence management – HR or Employee’s manager or someone else?
- Be proactive in dealing with any issues and do not delay
- Return to work interviews
You might also be interested in my other blogs on Absence Management which provide information and statistics which may be of assistance in tackling this issue. Our podcast on absence management may also assist.
If anyone wants any further information on how to make a difference in this area please let me know.