…and taking advantage of Coronavirus
We have had reports of absent employees calling in to work to report symptoms of continuous cough of high temperature in suspicious circumstances. It may follow reports of them saying in advance that they were going to take time off and take advantage of sick pay. Or someone reports them to have been seen out and about, clearly not self-isolating.
Employers might choose not to investigate further if they think they can reclaim SSP from the government. That may be a mistake.
The government places a limit on the number of weeks an employer can reclaim (currently 2 weeks). Employees who have not actually suffered coronavirus may well contract it at a later date. If the reclaimable SSP has been used up for a fake report and unnecessary absence, the employer will bear the burden when the absence for isolation is needed.
A false claim may also be a dishonest claim. Apart from the employee, in a worst case scenario an employer who seeks to reclaim SSP while having knowledge the employee was not sick could be exposed to allegations of wrong doing, potentially criminal.
For such reasons, as well as the obvious need to deal with apparent misconduct, employers should address suspicious circumstances. Sometimes it takes a fox to catch a fox invoking a disciplinary procedure immediately may not be the best course to avoid tribunal claims. Speedy and expert advice may prove invaluable.
For more tips and information, have a look at Coronavirus: expert employment law advice for employers or give us a call.
“Insurer’s advice to send employees home with pay was going to cost money we just can’t afford, even for more vulnerable employees. Thanks to you, we can understand why that was wrong and so can our staff.”
Director of medium size manufacturing business, getting through
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