Can I contact an employee on sick leave?

Can I contact an employee on sick leave?

19 August 2022

Share this blog

The short answer will always be, it depends. The circumstances of the absence, the reason for the contact and the relationship you have with the absent employee will to a large extent determine whether contacting them will be appropriate.

What do experts say when employee leaves without notice?

The guidance from ACAS says,

“It’s important that both the employer and employee stay in regular contact during absence, especially if it’s long term.”

ACAS also advocate making sure that the arrangements for this contact are clear. You should ensure that agreement is reached on how often the contact should be, what format it will take and who from the company will make contact. Full ACAS advice can be found at Keeping in touch during absence: Absence from work – ACAS

What factors should you consider?

Employers have a duty of care to their staff and that shouldn’t stop when they are absent. If an employee is absent for a day with a stomach bug then as long as they have followed your reporting procedures for telling you that they are absent, you’re not realistically going to need to contact them. The nature and potential length of the absence will therefore be a big factor in determining the contact you have with an absentee. The reason for the contact is also crucial. Ask yourself can this wait, can someone else answer the question, what do you want to achieve by contacting the employee?

You should also consider how any contact might make the absent employee feel. Could contact be seen as harassment or victimisation, could it aggravate the employee’s illness or could you be seen as exerting undue pressure on them to return to work? Conversely, by reaching out and contacting the employee, are you showing them that you genuinely care about them and want to support them, would your contact be welcomed and would it cheer them up if they are feeling lonely and isolated, could it help them to keep in touch with work to ease anxiety about returning.

Having a full picture of the circumstances, knowing the employee and using your judgement are all vital here to determine the most appropriate course of action.

Can HR software help?

Your HR software will provide a great resource for you to provide information which will help you with conversations with absent staff. HRX’s absence recording facility will mean that you have an accurate, up to date absence history. If necessary, you can also pull an absence report off the system for the employee you are dealing with. HRX also holds a return to work interview template form in its Knowledge Base. Once completed, it can be loaded into your employee records so that you can gather further details about previous absences which may be related to the current situation. Additionally, the employee details section of HRX records if an employee has a disability so you can check there before getting in touch. It may be that the employee needs extra support which can be discussed during the contact.

If you want details and data about absent employees at your fingertips to make an informed decision about making contact, then get in touch and try out HRX with our free 30 day trial.

Similar Blogs


How can HR software help with your strategic performance management?

Many businesses and will understand the concept of performance management as working towards meeting targets and key performance indicators (KPIs). Their employees will often work towards their own individual objectives that contribute to the overall success of the business. Often though, this strand of performance management is used in a narrow individual context. An employee…
View Article

28 February 2023


What are the benefits of a HR strategy?

Business management academic, and author Henry Mintzberg, is quoted as saying, “strategy is not the consequence of planning, but the opposite: it’s the starting point”. Without a strategy of some description to start from, your business is likely to lack focus and direction. Having a strategy, or multiple strategies, will inform your planning. It will…
View Article

23 February 2023


Your ultimate HR induction checklist

An induction, as defined by the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development (CIPD) is, “an opportunity for an organisation to welcome their new recruit, help them settle in and ensure they have the knowledge and support they need to perform their role”. It will usually start on the first day. Anything earlier than that is…
View Article

15 February 2023

Take it for a spin

It’s so easy to get started, join us on a quick demo and we’ll talk you through the system. We also provide free onboarding to get you started.

Call us on

01282 921000

Monday to Friday 9am - 5pm

30 days free No credit card required Quick & Easy

Book a demo

Contact Us
When is the best time to call