Managing absenteeism from a legal perspective

17 November 2016 Topics: Workplace relations and safety

While employers face an increasingly complex web of legal obligations, there are a variety of reasonable management actions that can be taken to help manage staff absenteeism.

This was the message conveyed by Cooper Grace Ward Partner Annie Smeaton at a well-attended seminar for employers in Brisbane on Wednesday 16 November 2016.

‘What should be emphasised is that employee reliability constitutes an inherent requirement of employment,’ she said.

Ms Smeaton discussed the broad range of legal obligations imposed on employers, highlighting that while the challenges can be complex, there are a variety of reasonable management actions and steps available to employers.

She discussed a number of important decisions, including the Full Federal Court decision in CFMEU v Endeavour Coal [2015] FCAFC 76, concerning employee reliability.

Ms Smeaton also talked about key tips and practical steps available to employers, including setting clear expectations around notice and evidence requirements, keeping reliable records of absenteeism and regularly monitoring those records.

‘It is essential to address issues associated with staff absenteeism early to identify any valid issues that may be impacting staff, as well as determining any appropriate early corrective actions,’ she said.

Cooper Grace Ward’s workplace relations and safety team is a specialist group of highly experienced lawyers who have over 40 years’ combined experience working with organisations of all sizes providing strategic advice on the full spectrum of employment, industrial relations, anti-discrimination and workplace health and safety matters.

The team is experienced in a broad range of industries, including construction, mining and resources, transport, labour hire/recruitment, manufacturing, retail, security, education and training, motor vehicle dealerships, community care and health.

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