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How to manage cover for long-term sickness absence

Author: Kathy Daniels


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  • Where an employee is absent because of illness, in deciding appropriate cover, consider the likely length of the absence.
  • If the employee's absence is likely to be relatively short, consider asking the employee's colleagues to cover their duties.
  • If the employee's absence is likely to last for several months, consider if using agency workers for cover is likely to be more appropriate.
  • If considering recruiting a fixed-term employee to cover the absent employee's work, take into account the fixed-term employee's potential rights when the contract comes to an end.
  • Consider retaining the temporary cover for a period after the employee has returned to work to allow a handover or a phased return to work.