Absence after a social event

Nov 24, 2014 | Good Management

If you’re organising a Christmas party for your team this year, one of the things you may be worried about is absence the next day. A combination of late nights and merriment with alcohol inevitably increase the risk of attendance issues the following day.

So how can you minimise it?

Clearly the best approach to dealing with this issue is to try and avoid it occurring in the first place. Here are some things you could try:

  • Allow people to come in late the next day, on the grounds that if they can legitimately have a lie in, they are more likely to come into work than if they have to drag themselves out of bed at 6am.
  • Reduce the amount of alcohol available
  • Ensure the event doesn’t finish too late
  • Remind people prior to the event that normal office hours apply the following day, and unless they have taken annual leave, they are expected at work as usual.
  • Remind staff that unauthorised absences will be treated as a disciplinary issue

What about phoning in sick?

Realistically, rather than just not turning up, the majority of absences following a social event are likely to be staff ringing in sick.

You could remind staff in advance that sickness absences must be supported by a self-certification or doctor’s certificate, and that a hangover is not a legitimate reason for absence. If you offer any company sick pay you could make it clear in your policy that alcohol-related absence will not qualify for this enhanced pay.

But ultimately, even if you suspect a hangover is the reason for the absence, unless you have real evidence, you are unlikely to be able to discipline someone for one day’s sickness absence as long as reporting and certification procedures have been followed.

If you have any further queries and need some advice, do get in touch.