Why employees take too much sick leave and how to stop this happening

By Aily Foo – Manager, Temporary & Contract Recruitment, Links International Hong Kong

If you’re trying to run a successful business in Hong Kong, one of the most important things you need is good, reliable talent. You can recruit the best talent in Hong Kong, but it’s also important that they actually show up at the office! Are your employees taking too much sick leave?

How can you control or monitor your employees to avoid them taking too much sick leave? 

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Sick leave is a necessary employee benefit for all workers. If an employer does not offer sick leave, this could accelerate their employees’ health problems and may result in illnesses being spread throughout the office. In turn this leads to a lack of morale and reduced productivity at work, which ultimately leads to the overall company performance being lower as well.

Of course everyone gets sick sometimes, but we are also aware that sometimes it’s not necessary to take sick leave. Taking sick leave when you are actually not well is necessary; taking sick leave just for your leisure, however, is not appropriate.

Why do employees take sick leave when they are not actually unwell?

Employees might take unnecessary sick leave for a number of reasons, but the below are the two main reasons for this:

  1. Unhappiness at work

Employees can feel dissatisfied at work due to many things, such as when the work they do is not being recognised; or if the employee does not get on with their teammates; or if the job scope does not match the actual work done; or if they have too much work to do. When any of these things happen, it creates a negative attitude towards being at work and the employee might start to wonder why they should remain at work.

  1. Lack of annual leave

Everyone loves annual leave and taking holidays in order to relax and reset. This is what work-life balance is all about, and indeed, according to our 2017 Asia Salary Snapshot, work-life balance is one of the top three factors that motivates people to move jobs in Asia. If, however, employees do not get enough annual leave, sometimes they will take sick leave to enjoy an extra day off, or to handle personal issues. Sometimes, sick leave abuse can happen after the festival season.

How can you stop sick leave abuse?

Employers should have a clearly defined sick leave policy that is explained to employees during their onboarding process. For employers, the issue with having absentees is that it leads to poor overall performance of the company and additional costs required to hire temporary staff to maintain the daily workflow.

Of course, serious illnesses, or illnesses that may be contagious to the rest of the company, don’t count in this instance.

However, if you have realised that your employees, or even you yourself, tend to take sick leave more often than usual, you should try to work out what the problem is. If there doesn’t seem to be any illness, then perhaps it’s a case of you or your employee being unhappy at work. Speak to your employees and try to find the cause of the problem.

What’s the solution?

From an employer’s point of view, if an employee does not want to be at work, despite making some changes to try to make them happier at work, then they are letting the company down and perhaps it is time to let them go and find someone who can fulfill the role. If you want to hire the best talent in Hong Kong, please contact us for details of the top candidates we are currently representing.
    
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From an employee’s point of view, if you are unhappy at work and have already spoken to your manager about what’s bothering you, but nothing has been resolved, then perhaps it’s time to consider changing jobs. If you are open to new job opportunities, please take a moment to let us know by completing a quick form on our website.
Find your dream job!

   
Aily Foo

Aily Foo

Manager, Temporary and Contract Recruitment, Links International Hong Kong

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