HR Consultant

HR Consultant – What should I do about family bereavement?


Family bereavement in the workplace is a tricky and delicate matter for obvious reasons.

Surprisingly, there is no law in the UK which states we have the right to have time off when a loved one passes away. So that is where we, as a HR consultant firm step in. We can give you guidance on how to deal with your employee who is going through a family bereavement.

This video will go through the certain aspects you should consider when your employee is going through a family bereavement. Any time an employee is given time off during a family death, paid or not, it is completely at the employer’s discretion.

Our advice to you would be to take this matter on a case by case basis. Not everyone grieves in the same way, some employees may need the time at home whereas others may prefer to keep busy and dive back into work.

We would suggest taking the time to listen to your staff and talk with them to discuss what they want and how they are feeling. You must then go on to decide what the best course of action is. However, we would say that there is no point forcing an employee into work when they are not going to be focused on what they were doing. Unfocused employees can often do more damage than good.

You must consider consistency when you decide to give an employee say two weeks paid leave for a bereavement you must ensure that you are fair and consistent to other employees who want it.

Could you benefit from our HR consultant advice?  Here at JMann Associates, we offer expert HR services that save you time and money and keep you safe and protected. Want to know more? Get in touch today.


Hr advice

HR Advice – What to do if someone is off sick


Employee sickness, it happens all of the time. Sometimes it’s for a day or two and sometimes it can be a lot longer.

A very important element of what we do and how we give HR advice is going through the correct procedure to follow when someone is off sick. This is because when somebody is off sick it can often be very disruptive to your business. There are various different paths you can take when dealing with employee absence. These paths can depend on several things such as, whether or not the absence is short-term or long-term.

This video will mainly focus on short-term absence. We will explain what you can do so that you and your member of staff are covered and everyone knows what to expect when they return back to work. We also explain the kind of employee absence that you need to watch out for, the kind of absence we often refer to as ‘red day people’.

When giving HR advice on employee absence one of the first things we would ask you is, what does your procedure/policy or contract say? This is important because you need to be making sure that your employee knows what to do. They need to know what the procedure actually is when they are off sick.

When your employee is off sick, we always recommend that you do a return to work interview with them. You should do this no matter how long they were off sick whether it was a day or 100 days. You can sit down with your employee and ask them some questions and assess whether or not they are fit to come back to work.

Could you benefit from our HR advice?  Here at JMann Associates, we offer expert HR services that save you time and money and keep you safe and protected. Want to know more? Get in touch today.


Absence - Jacqui Mann

How To Manage Employee Absence


Employee Absence

Managing absence is one of the biggest staff issues that employers are faced with.  It can cause so much disruption to the business when a member of staff phones in sick. It’s therefore important to ensure it’s well managed and all employees are treated fairly.

Many cases of absence are genuine and as an employer you need to manage this process and see how you can support employees when they are ill and help them return to work.

There are some employees whose absence is not genuine, malingerers who are regularly off work sick. This can really affect the moral of those who are left to cover their workload. If managers fail to deal with absence issues staff left to cover the workload can see this as a weakness in the manager. It can make them demotivated and in some cases the employees with good attendance can leave.

Even if you don’t have any absence issue at the moment you need to ensure you have a process in place for when the time comes. It’s too late once you have a problem.

How much is absence costing your business?

It’s not just the direct costs, sick pay, to consider when an employee is absent.  What about the indirect costs? The impact on your staff and customers, cost of temporary cover, providing additional training or lost business to name just a few.

This is why the importance of having your HR Foundations in place is crucial.

So what are HR Foundations? 

They are made up of your:

  • Employment contract
  • HR policies
  • Employee handbook

These documents make up the people systems that give you a solid base on which to build your business. They provide the rules and guidelines of how things are done in your company. They form part of your culture.

One of the policies you need is an absence policy which sets out what the business expects from employees when they are sick.

The policy needs to explain the absence reporting procedure, which is what an employee must do if they are sick and not able to attend work, who they must contact, how they should make contact and by what time.

How they make contact may sound simple, but these days there are so many ways to communicate. Do they phone their manager; or a colleague, is a text acceptable, can they send a Facebook or Whatsapp message?  Can you see why these things need to be included in your policy?

I recommend including the reporting absence procedure in your employment contract and discussing this with all new employees on their first day as part of their induction.

Return to work interview

The first step to manage absence is by conducting a return to work interview with the employee concerned on their first day back at work. I recommend this even if the employee has only been off work for one day.

Managers need to be investigative and counselling in their approach during the return to work interview.  This will help to discover if there are any underlying health or work problems that an employee might have.

The purpose of the interview is to:

  • Enable the employee to explain the reason for their absence.
  • Ensure the employee is well enough to be back at work and see whether they need any further support. For example, in the case of a long term sick absence, or recovery from a serious or traumatic illness, some employees may benefit from coming back on different hours to help them readjust back into work.
  • Assess whether the reason given is genuine.
  • Complete a return to work interview form.
  • Emphasise the importance of good attendance and explain why absence is continually monitored.
  • Raise any concerns regarding an employee’s attendance record and decide if further action should be taken.


Many cases are genuine, but not all. By regularly monitoring all absence you will start to see a decline in sick days which will save the business money, improve the work environment and the company culture. It will also help to identify employees who are genuinely ill who may need additional support or adjustments made to their work.

Many managers say they don’t have time to carry out these interviews. This maybe the case but if you consistently follow this process it will have one of two results. The malingerers will – one- stop taking time off or two – they leave.  Either result is a good result.

You see it maybe the manager does not have time to do these interviews now but once they are carried out consistently the absence levels will decrease. It’s a swings and roundabouts situation.  If they don’t do the interviews absence problems will continue. The reason they don’t have time to do the interview is because staff are off sick!


Do you have the right HR Foundations in place? Is your absence policy up to date? Do you have an absence policy? If you are serious about having a successful business and you want to grow then you need to get these right.


Think about this….you are going to build your dream house a place where the children can grow up, where you can create memories with your friends and family to last you a lifetime. Would you build it without any foundations?  No you wouldn’t. Not unless you’re completely mad, because you know what will happen. It will all come crashing around you. That’s what happens to a business when they are trying to grow but they don’t have their HR foundations laid, it tumbles.

Need help? Contact me at or call 01980 622167 or book a call here.

If you have your HR Foundations in place are they robust or legal?  Contact us for a free HR Healthcheck.