Absence & Sickness Management

Our employment experts support businesses like yours to get employees back to work effectively, as soon as they are well enough. We can help you manage absence and sickness consistently, and avoid potentially costly employment tribunal claims.

Use our employment solicitors to get your sickness policies and procedures right from the startmanage short-term and long-term absence and be clear on medical conditions and disability legislationAccessing advice early can help avoid temporary staff costs, breach of contract and unfair dismissal claims. 

Understanding and implementing legally compliant absence and sickness management procedures

Our team of employment solicitors can support you with:

  • Drafting a clear and robust sickness absence policy. We draft robust absence procedures for employers, that align to your business needs, and produce accompanying documentation.
  • Collecting information from employees or medical professionals when staff are off sick. We’ll advise you on the process for contacting GPs and medical professionals and how to communicate with employees when they are off sick.
  • Drafting wider employment documentation. We can draft or review your other employment policies and contracts to help prevent grievances from arising in the first place. We believe that prevention is better than cure and so if your business has clear, easily accessible policies, this can avoid future problems.
  • Advice on what to do if an employee has been repeatedly absent for short periods of time. We will not only draft policy documents for you, but we will explain them to you and will be there to guide you on how to practically apply them.
  • Advice on medical conditions that come under the legal definition of a disability and consideration of reasonable adjustments. We can advise on how you make sure you’re meeting the needs of disabled employees and complying with equality legislation.
  • How to deal with a situation where sickness absence is not genuine. If you have concerns   that an employee’s sickness may not be genuine, we can advise on the best steps to take. We offer guidance on how to manage employees who are not following the sickness procedure as they should, including handling disciplinary action.
  • How to manage long-term absences and situations where a return to work is unlikely. We are experienced at looking at situations where employees may not be able to return to work, even with adjustments employers might be able to agree. We can advise you on the correct action to take.

What our clients say

We pride ourselves on delivering an excellent service for clients, but don’t just take our word for it.

What are the benefits of getting absence and sickness management right? 

Face fewer employment tribunal claims – A clear sickness absence policy and procedure minimises your chances of having to defend an employment tribunal. If you get specialist advice early on, particularly where an employee is or may be considered disabled, an uncapped compensation award under the Equality Act is also much less likely. Defending an employment tribunal claim costs your business stress, time and resources, so it is worth getting these processes right to avoid extra expense for your business.

Reduce your staffing costs – You can dismiss an employee on capability grounds if they are regularly off sick or have been off work sick for a long time, as long as your policy and procedures are fair and non-discriminatory. Following well-drafted employment processes can reduce the amount your business pays out in sick pay and temporary staffing costs. We can help you get this right, and the sooner you get advice, the better for your business.

Focus your time and money on running your business – Allow our experts to draft and update your staff documents, reduce the time you spend on this task and enjoy peace of mind. Our senior employment solicitors are vastly experienced and can take care of time-consuming drafting of policies, procedures and staff handbooks, letting you get on with running your business.

Maximise your business productivity – We can advise you on return to work strategies such as adjustments to employee duties, working times and phased returns. Workplace stress is often a cause of staff sickness and so an approachable contact within your business and an ‘open door policy’ can help to reduce staff sickness and increase productivity. If staff are happier and not distracted by other issues at work, they are more likely to be more productive, and less likely to take time off sick. Operating a clear and accessible sickness policy covering both short and long-term absence means your staff are more likely to understand what is expected of them. The consequences of not complying with your sickness policy should be made clear, including details of any disciplinary action.

Who we help: Employers of all sizes and from a variety of sectors all over the UK

We support a wide range of UK-based employer clients, but we do not represent employees. We advise clients from diverse sectors whether they are start-ups, SMEs or large multinationalsOur specialist employment solicitors can advise on contentious and non-contentious matters quickly and affordably. 

Why choose Harper James? Our sickness absence solicitors’ experience

As the law firm for entrepreneurs, our team of legal experts know their specialism inside out. Thanks to our track record of partnering with high-growth businesses, we understand the common and complex issues you face as owners and operators. Our team of remote-based and always accessible senior lawyers are the people to call when you need a second opinion, or specialist advice fast.

We have an experienced and empathetic employment team who are well-versed in dealing with legal matters arising from employee sickness and absence. Learn more about the team’s experience here:

Pricing plans

Our three transparent pricing packages are designed to give you the widest possible access to high-quality legal advice, whatever the size and nature of your business:


Straightforward access to senior solicitors at a competitive rate.

An affordable solution for businesses needing one-off legal support. Receive ‘City’ partner-level expertise at a fraction of ‘City’ prices.


Have legal peace of mind for £189 per month with additional support from £125 per hour.

A monthly subscription legal support package specifically designed for start-ups and smaller businesses.


Providing you with priority access to a dedicated panel of highly experienced solicitors.

Fully account managed quarterly subscription service for businesses with more complex legal needs.

What next?

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A national law firm

We mainly work remotely, so we can work with you wherever you are. But we can arrange face-to-face meeting at our offices or a location of your choosing.

Our commercial lawyers are based in or close to major cities across the UK, providing expert legal advice to clients both locally and nationally.

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