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Absence review meeting script

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Absence and attendance template toolkit:

Our Absence Review Meeting Script Template facilitates constructive discussions, identifying causes and solutions for improved attendance.

If you have concerns over an employee's absence record, use this model script in an absence review meeting to ensure that you cover all important points.

An employer should hold a meeting where there is some concern the level of absence of an employee, such as frequency, pattern or number of occasions/days.

Reading time
How long to understand and implement this script?
10 mins
Word count
How many words in this script?
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What is an Absence review meeting script?

The purpose of the Absence Review Meeting Script Template is to guide HR personnel and managers in conducting structured and productive meetings with employees to discuss their patterns of absenteeism.

The script provides a framework for addressing the reasons behind the employee's absences, identifying any underlying issues or challenges they may be facing, and collaboratively finding solutions to improve attendance. By using this template, HR can ensure consistency in conducting absence review meetings, promote open communication with employees, and implement appropriate measures to support and address any attendance-related concerns.

The template aids in fostering a positive and supportive work environment, encouraging employees to maintain regular attendance and contributing to overall workforce productivity and engagement.

Best practice timescale for this to be issued
When should this script be issued?
During the meeting itself
Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this script, and to whom?
The Employer (you) to the Employee
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this script be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide

How can I ensure that this scriptis executed effectively?

Step Description Responsibility Timing
1 Identify the need for an absence review meeting due to excessive or prolonged absences. HR or Manager As needed
2 Gather relevant information about the employee's absences, such as dates, reasons, and any supporting documents. HR Before the meeting
3 Schedule the absence review meeting with the employee and inform them about the purpose of the meeting. HR or Manager At least 3 days in advance
4 Conduct the absence review meeting, discussing the employee's absences, reasons, and potential impact on the team and work. Manager or HR On scheduled date
5 Conclude the meeting by providing feedback, discussing improvements, setting goals, and explaining any next steps, including using the "Absence Review Meeting Script" for consistent communication. Manager or HR At the end of the meeting

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

United Kingdom

The Absence Review Meeting Script Template is supported by various UK employment legislations, including:

  • Employment Rights Act 1996: Provides employees with the right to be accompanied by a colleague or trade union representative during absence review meetings.

  • Equality Act 2010: Ensures that employees with disabilities or certain health conditions are treated fairly during the review process.

  • Data Protection Act 2018: Requires that employee absence records and discussions during the meeting are handled confidentially and in compliance with data protection laws.

  • Health and Safety at Work Act 1974: Employers must address any health and safety concerns that may contribute to employee absences.

  • Working Time Regulations 1998: Ensures that employees' working hours and rest breaks comply with legal requirements to prevent fatigue-related absences.

Complying with these legislations ensures that absence review meetings are conducted in a fair, lawful, and supportive manner, fostering a positive work environment and helping employees address attendance challenges effectively.

Other territories

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

Absence review meeting Script [Delete this line]

Preparing for the meeting

  1. Book a private room in an appropriate location and set sufficient time aside for the meeting.
  2. Send a letter to the employee inviting them to the meeting, outlining its purpose and notifying them of their right to be accompanied.
  3. Review the employee's absence record to identify any patterns / causes for concern.
  4. Review notes or outcomes from any previous review / return to work meetings and reports from Occupational Health / medical practitioners.
  5. Establish what further information needs to be obtained at the meeting and consider, but do not pre-empt, possible outcomes.

Opening the meeting

  1. Introduce all people present and outline their role in the meeting.
  2. Remind the employee of their right to be accompanied at formal meetings.
  3. Clearly outline the purpose of the meeting and the format it will take, and let the employee know that an adjournment can be called at any time by either party.
  4. Ensure the employee has been provided with a copy of the Sickness Absence Management Policy and knows what stage of the procedure they are at.
  5. Check the employee’s understanding of the process that has been followed to date.

Discussing the issues

  1. Gain acknowledgement from the employee about the content and nature of their historic sickness record and attempt to fill in any gaps in the data.
  2. Emphasise the employee’s responsibility to regularly attend work.
  3. Outline why their absence(s) are causing difficulties for the department / service.
  4. Offer the employee an opportunity to outline the reasons for their absences, the underlying issues, what practical action they are taking to return to full fitness and what other support they are receiving.
  5. Discuss actions taken since the last review meeting (where applicable) and their impact on health / attendance. If there has been no improvement explore the reasons why.
  6. Discuss the improvements in attendance required and explore ways of improving attendance / assisting the employee’s return to work – e.g. temporary / permanent adjustments, medical support, lifestyle changes.

Identifying the outcomes

  1. Be clear about the level or nature of improvement in attendance and the timeframe the improvement must be achieved within.
  2. Confirm who has agreed to do what and by when.
  3. Identify any temporary arrangements to be put in place pending a return to full capacity, and timeframes for reviewing these arrangements and their impact.
  4. Set dates for monitoring meetings to review progress / amend plans as necessary. The dates will depend upon the actions agreed.

Concluding the meeting

  1. Confirm that notes of the meeting will be produced and circulated, where applicable.
  2. Inform the employee that a formal letter will be sent to them outlining the actions agreed and the decisions reached during the meeting.
  3. Check the employee’s understanding of the process that has been followed so far and their understanding of the next stage in the procedure, including the potential consequences of failing to improve their attendance (i.e. ultimately dismissal).
  4. Inform the employee what will happen after the meeting (see below).

After the meeting

  1. Produce and disseminate meeting notes.
  2. Write to the employee confirming the outcome/s of the meeting.
  3. Issue First / Second Notice of Concern (if appropriate).
  4. Formalise Return to Work Plan (if appropriate).
  5. Arrange a referral to Occupation Health (if appropriate).
  6. Implement agreed adjustments / actions.
  7. Put agreed review dates into diaries and book appropriate meeting rooms.
  8. Continue to monitor the employee’ absence and the impact of any adjustments made / support provided.

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Absence review meeting invitation letter template

Our Absence Review Meeting Invitation Letter Template streamlines the process, ensuring timely and structured discussions for improved attendance.

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Absence review meeting script
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Concern about absence letter template

Our Concern about absence Letter template assists employers in addressing and expressing concerns regarding an employee's absence from work.

Absence review meeting script
absence review meeting script