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Absenteeism Around St. Patrick’s Day

St. Patrick’s Day is imminently approaching and while the festivities are eagerly anticipated by many, the day after can often present a headache for employers.

This year St. Patrick’s Day falls on a Monday which for many employers will continue to be a normal working day so it is important to maintain normal productivity levels where possible and take necessary steps to deal with those employees who don’t turn up for work, arrive in late or just don’t pull their weight over the entire weekend.

Employers should seek advice from Peninsula Business Services when faced with any such issues that may arise as a result of St. Patrick’s Day celebrations. These tips, however, should assist you in dealing with any St. Patrick’s Day fallout:

Be Proactive!

  • Make it clear to employees before St. Patrick’s Day that absenteeism on or around the 17th March will not be tolerated under any circumstances.
  • Ensure all employees who are rostered to work on the 16th, 17th and 18th March are fully aware of this before finishing their shift prior to 16 March so there is no ‘misunderstanding’ or ‘misread’ rosters!
  • Assess in advance the number of employees you require to work on the 16th, 17th and 18th March and where possible allocate annual leave in a fair and consistent manner.
  • Where annual leave cannot be given, consider allowing flexible or later start times on in an attempt to be reasonable and meet employees halfway.

Dealing with Absences and Lateness

  • Where employees have been warned in advance that absenteeism will not be tolerated and their ‘illness’ quickly subsides without the need to visit a doctor, it may be reasonable to assume that such absence is not genuine so disciplinary action may be taken provided correct disciplinary procedures are followed.
  • Refer to the company sick pay scheme to check if the employee is entitled to sick pay as in many cases there may not be any entitlement to pay for such absences.
  • Employees who arrive late to work after a long night of celebration may potentially have their pay deducted for any time missed that morning.
  • Where there is a history/pattern of lateness it may be possible to discipline by following the correct procedures
  • If you have had to make arrangements to cover the employee’s shift because they have been excessively late without notification, it may be possible to send the employee home without pay as long as this is written into the employee’s signed terms and conditions.

Under-performing Hung-over Employees

  • Such employees should be confronted at an early stage.
  • Make it clear their behaviour is not acceptable and they are expected to meet their required daily targets before the end of their shift.
  • Explain to the employee(s) any potential consequences, such as failing to meet deadlines or targets may result in disciplinary action.
  • Consider setting targets for employees to achieve by the end of the day resulting in a small award such as a box of chocolates or ‘1 hour off work’ vouchers etc… as this may well result in an extremely productive day on one of the least productive working days of the year!

Health and Safety

Finally bear in mind any health and safety risks that may be associated with employees who turn up for work heavily hung-over or still intoxicated as it may be necessary to send the employee home (with or without pay depending on the individual’s terms and conditions) to avoid any accidents. Again this can be addressed with the employee on their return to work and could well result in disciplinary action.

Should you have any queries or concerns in relation to Public Holidays please don’t hesitate to contact our 24 hour advice service on 01 855 505 or learn more here.

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