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Absence improvement policy

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Our Absence Improvement Policy template is designed to support a healthier work environment by helping you to combat absenteeism, ensure fairness, and boost productivity.

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How long to understand and implement this policy?
10 mins
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What is an Absence improvement policy?

The Absence Improvement Policy is a foundational document designed to address and manage employee absenteeism effectively. This policy outlines clear procedures and expectations regarding attendance, providing a framework to support employees facing recurring absences. It aims to identify the root causes of absenteeism, offer support mechanisms, and establish a structured approach for managing and improving attendance.

This policy typically includes guidelines for reporting absences, defining acceptable reasons for leave, and implementing supportive measures such as return-to-work interviews or access to support services. It also outlines progressive steps in managing frequent or prolonged absences, ensuring consistency and fairness in addressing absenteeism issues. By setting out a structured approach, this policy promotes a proactive response to absenteeism, aiming to foster a culture of accountability and support among employees.

The Absence Improvement Policy serves as a tool for promoting consistent attendance while acknowledging and accommodating genuine reasons for absence. It acts as a mechanism for organisations to engage with employees experiencing frequent absences, identifying challenges they may face and providing the necessary support to facilitate attendance improvement. Ultimately, this policy aims to strike a balance between supporting employees' well-being and maintaining productivity within the workplace.

Best practice timescale for this to be issued
When should this policy be issued?
During onboarding / after changes / planned refresher
Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this policy, and to whom?
Internally issued to appropriate recipients in your Company
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this policy be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide

What legislation and best practice guidelines have been taken into account in the development of this template?

United Kingdom
  • Employment Rights Act 1996: Provides the framework for handling statutory leave entitlements, promoting work-life balance.

  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974: Requires employers to maintain a safe working environment, reducing absences due to accidents and injuries.

  • Equality Act 2010: Ensures fair treatment of employees, addressing absence issues while accommodating disabilities.

  • Flexible Working Regulations 2014: Allows employees to request flexible working arrangements, potentially improving attendance.

  • Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 1992: Recognizes employees' rights to time off for trade union activities, fostering engagement.

  • Time off for Dependants: Enables reasonable time off for emergency situations concerning dependants, showing compassion.

  • Employment Equality (Age) Regulations 2006: Prevents age-based discrimination in absence management, promoting fair treatment.

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Regulations 1982: Outlines employees' rights to receive statutory sick pay, providing support during illness.

  • Statutory Paternity Pay and Leave: Offers paternity pay and leave entitlements, supporting employees during family events.

  • Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (now part of Equality Act 2010): Requires reasonable adjustments for disabled employees, aiding attendance.

Other territories

Consult your jurisdiction's employment legislation or labor laws to ensure compliance with the template. Review the language for local precision.

Absence improvement Policy


It is recognised by the Company that from time to time staff may require to be absent from their place of work due to illness. The length of time lost by employees through illness must however be monitored to ensure that each member of staff is able to do their job, effectively and without putting themselves or others at risk. It is not the intention of the Company to penalise the genuinely sick, however it must be recognised that an employee who is medically unfit to carry out his/her contractual duties may not be able continue in employment.


This policy is applicable to all employees of [company name].

General principles

Managers will consider cases of sickness absence on an individual basis and ensure the provision of appropriate support, advice and Occupational Health / Company Approved Doctor input where appropriate. However, it is recognised that in some cases, patterns/levels of absence will be unacceptable and formal management action will be required.

Employees who become aware that they have an illness problem are encouraged to inform their manager at the earliest opportunity. All such requests will be dealt with as speedily and compassionately as possible.


On return from absence all employees must be interviewed by their immediate line manager. At this interview the employee and the line manager must complete a Return to work interview form agreeing the reason for the absence, the period of absence and, where appropriate, what course of action is required as a result of the absence. This form must be signed by both parties before being forwarded to the employees personnel file

Stage 1

In situations where an employees sickness record is giving some cause for concern, then the employees Line Manager will discuss those concerns with the employee, providing support and counselling where appropriate. It is essential that any message conveyed in this manner is clear and unambiguous.

Stage 2

If there is no obvious improvement in the health of the employee or any sign of patterns emerging in an employees absence then the line manager would arrange for the employee to meet the next-in-line manager who would formally review the employees case. At this formal stage the employee must be offered the opportunity for appropriate representation.

The employee must be given the outcome of this meeting in writing and where appropriate they must be given notice that their level of absence is unacceptable and a period of time to improve.

Stage 3

If the employee fails to improve in the given time scale then a formal second Review must be undertaken. If possible, a more senior manager should chair this meeting. The employee must be offered the opportunity for appropriate representation at this time.

Prior to the Meeting the employee must be seen by the Occupational Health / Company Approved Doctor who will give his opinion on the employees health. The employee must be given the results of this meeting in writing. Where appropriate they must be given notice that their level of absence is unacceptable and that they are given a period of time during which to reduce their level of absence. The employee must also be informed at this stage if any further absences may result in their employment being terminated due to incapacity.

Stage 4

If there is still no improvement within the time scale a Review will be held with the appropriate Senior Manager / Director. The employee must be offered the opportunity for appropriate representation at this meeting. The Director / Manager will review all the available evidence including the Doctors report.

If there are no special circumstances the employee will be dismissed on the grounds of incapacity and their inability to meet the acceptable standards of attendance required by the Company.


Every employee has the right to appeal against the outcome of any formal review stage of the absence procedure. The basis of an appeal will normally relate to one of the following areas:

  1. that the Procedure had not been followed correctly.
  2. that the resulting action was inappropriate.
  3. that the need for action was not warranted.

An appeal should be put in writing to the appropriate Director / Senior Manager. The letter should contain the grounds for appeal and should be lodged within [no. of days] days of receipt of the issue of a formal letter. An appeal hearing should be arranged within [no. of days] days of receipt of the appeal letter. An appeal against Dismissal will be considered in the same way, but should be heard by a Director / senior manager who has not previously been involved in the case.

This policy [does not] form[s] part of your terms and conditions of employment.

Version: [1.0]

Issue date: [date]

Author: [name, job title]

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In which communication or process sequence does this template belong?

Previous step
Guide to absence improvement

Our absence improvement guide offers insights and strategies for improving employee attendance and reducing absenteeism.

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Absence improvement policy
Next step
Absence improvement checklist template

Our Absence Improvement Checklist Form Template streamlines tracking and managing employee absences, enhancing productivity and reducing absenteeism.

Absence improvement policy
absence improvement policy