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Holiday and Sick Leave Workplace Etiquette

By: Garry Crystal - Updated: 19 Apr 2018 | comments*Discuss
Sick Leave Etiquette Rules Workplace

Holiday and sick leave workplace etiquette can be a tricky situation. Most companies will have rules on applying for holidays and taking sick leave. Ignoring these rules, especially where sick leave is concerned can leave employees facing disciplinary procedures.

Employee Etiquette and Sick Leave and Holidays

The majority of full-time and part-time employees in the UK are entitled to paid sick leave and annual holidays. But many companies have rules that employees are expected to follow when applying for holidays and taking sick leave. These etiquette rules do not concern the amount of holidays available or legalities of workplace sick leave. The etiquette concerns how an employee should notify an employer of their intention to take holidays and notify employees that they cannot attend work due to sickness. These rules should be stipulated in an employee handbook, which should be available for all employees to read.

Taking Employee Annual Leave and Etiquette

Many employers do have their own rules when it comes to employees applying for and taking annual leave. Some employers will state that only one employee who is part of a team can take holidays at any given time. Many employers will give annual leave priority over the Christmas period to members of staff with children; this rule often causes disgruntled feelings of discrimination from employees without children. Annual leave within most companies is one of the employee’s legal rights. Employees should be made aware of the amount of notice they must give employers and the company’s holiday policy if they are intending to take annual leave.

Sick Leave and Workplace Etiquette Rules

Sick leave etiquette varies between companies, especially when it comes to notifying employers of being absent from work due to sickness. Again, the rules on notifying employers should be included in employee handbooks, and employees should be made aware of the rules. Many employers require employees to phone in and speak to their employer or manager if they are to be absent. Some employers will allow a sickness notification by email or text but most companies do frown on this. If an employee is able to text or email than they should be able to pick up a phone and call the employer in person.

Sick Leave and Employer Notification

Many employers will simply require an employee to phone in once with notification of absence due to sickness. But for some employers this will not be satisfactory and they will require the employee to phone in every day that they are absent from work. A doctor’s note will not usually be required during the first week of sick leave unless the employee is going to claim benefits. Many employers will however insist that an employee does produce written verification from a doctor. Employers are required to accept self-certification notes for the first week of illness.

Common Rules of Sick Leave Etiquette

Ignoring sick leave etiquette can land employees in trouble. Many employers will give verbal or written warnings to employees who do ignore the rules. Employers do have different etiquette rules where sick leave is concerned but common rules will include:

  • Always notify employers of absence due to sickness at the earliest possible time
  • Do not use sick days to go job hunting; being spotted out and about could mean disciplinary action
  • Sick leave notification usually means telephoning an employer in person, not relatives or friends phoning in on the employee’s behalf
  • Employers may rather an employee took sick leave when ill rather than pass on the illness to other staff members
  • An employer’s workplace policy may state how many hours before starting work an employee must telephone and notify of sickness
  • Employers may stipulate that a ‘back to work’ interview after sick leave is compulsory
  • Keep in contact with employers if off work sick; some employers will telephone the employee for an update
  • Some employees may refuse to allow an employee back to work until an occupational health doctor has given the all clear
Etiquette rules on applying for holiday leave and sick leave should be taken seriously by employees. Failure to adhere to these rules, especially where sick leave is concerned can bring about employee disciplinary procedures, usually written or verbal warnings. These warnings can stay permanently on an employee’s work file. If in doubt, employees should make themselves aware of the holiday and sick leave rules usually available in a staff handbook.

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This post is bull. You only have a duty to notify your employer you are sick - the method is irrelevant. Any company that requires a phone call is dubious, mostly this is used as a bullying tactic by poor managers. No doubt this site is pro small employer. It is also the case that an email can be sent in the middle of the night, if an employee is sick, why should they have to stay awake or set an alarm to call their employer? Don't stand for sickness discrimination in work. Hold your employer to the same high standards they will hold you. Often these people think they are GOD, they are by no means - remember that in dealing with them. You have rights. Remember, your employer will threaten "disciplinary" action at the drop of a hat - most do - this is bullying and can be seen as harassment. Them them bring their action, hire a solicitor to accompany you to the interview and watch the bullys crumble ;) it will cost a few quid but is an excellent tactic to counter these mindless morons that HR departments recruit
Freddy - 19-Apr-18 @ 6:49 AM
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