Recording and tracking work absence

Before you start reporting and recording sickness absence, you should have a clearly defined attendance management policy that has been developed in partnership with your employees and their representatives.

As part of your sickness absence policy, your employees should know how to report absence and understand what’s expected from them during their period of absence.

As well as explaining how to report absence, you should also provide employees with an outline of your procedures for recording absence.

Find out more about sickness policies.

Why should I record absence?

Recording sickness absence can help you:

  • minimise the disruption caused by absences, for example, helping you to plan cover for absent employees;
  • identify patterns or causes of absence that could be work-related;
  • ensure accurate payment, whether statutory or contractual sick pay;
  • determine if reasonable adjustments are needed to help the employee return to work.

Legal requirements for recording absence

There is no law covering attendance management. However, if your employee’s absence has been caused by sickness or injury at work, you may have to report the accident or incident under the Reporting of Injuries, Diseases and Dangerous Occurrences Regulation (RIDDOR) 2013.

Before you begin to record absence, you must also make sure that you’re meeting data protection requirements under the Data Protection Act (DPA) 1998. As you are recording sensitive information, you need to ensure that you are following rules of good practice for handling information, and that all data is kept private.

More information on recording sickness absence can be found on the HSE website.