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One survey suggests that the average homeworker takes 2.4 days off sick each year.  By contrast, other research has found that a 'typical employee' takes 6.4 days off sick each year. This survey focused mainly on work-based employees.

Great news, right?

Not necessarily. The difference may be down to 'presenteeism'. This is where an employee who is sick continues to work.  Homeworkers who are surrounded by their creature comforts may be more inclined to do this.

Sickness

An employee working at home tells you that they're sick.  What do you do?  Just let them crack on? No.

What's wrong?

Establish the nature of their illness and its impact.  Ask whether, but for the current restrictions, they would come into work if they weren't working from home.  If the answer is no, then they may be too sick to work.

Sick means sick

Don’t automatically allow them to continue working at home. If an employee is incapacitated for work purposes, they should be deemed sick. Where they are working shouldn't matter.  If they keep working then they may get worse.

Maybe fit for work

Where an employee is unwell, it may be possible to alter their job so that they can continue to work safely. Consider reducing their hours and their workload.

This will depend on their circumstances and any medical advice they have been given. Each case is unique. There are also grey areas; an employee with a cold may not want to travel into work in the winter months but may be well enough to work from home. 

Procedure

Homeworkers who go off sick should follow your normal sickness absence reporting procedures and continue to update you about their prognosis and when they will be back to work.  However, whilst off sick, the employee should not do any work.

Remember a homeworker can self-certify their sickness absence for the first seven days. For longer periods, they must produce a fit note from their GP.

Employment law and HR update

Our annual update events were held in Manchester and London at the start of June and once again were a great success.  Thank you to all those who attended.

There are risks to a programme of action. But they are far less than the long-range risks and costs of comfortable inaction.

John F Kennedy

Contact Watershed

Telephone: +44 161 703 5611

E-mail: info@watershedhr.com

Ryecroft, Aviary Road, Worsley, Manchester M28 2WF

Can we help?

If you want to find out more about our services, events or our employment law and HR expertise contact us  on +44 161 703 5611 and one of our dedicated advisers would be more than happy to help.