Can you contact staff at home while they are off sick?

Can you contact staff at home while they are off sick?

A question often asked of us, is:  ‘Can we, as the employer, contact a member of our domestic or household staff when they are off sick?’

The answer, as almost always, is not simple.

The short answer is yes you can, but with reservations. In fact your right to maintain contact while staff are off sick should be written into the employees’ employment contract as part of your sickness absence policy.

However, if you do not have such a policy in place, and many who employ one or two people will not, here are some guidelines to help you overstepping the mark.

If the sick period is extended it is fine to contact and see how the recovery process if coming along, The main issue however is ensuring that the staff member does not feel intimidated by your call or calls. Remember, the issue isn’t whether or not you feel you are being intimidating, it is how the employee perceives it…..once a week is an acceptable level of contact, but avoid asking directly when they will be back at work.

Discuss how the member of staff is progressing and how they feel, what they are doing to get better, i.e taking the relevant medication, or seeing specialists as recommended by their doctor. you can also ask if there is anything you can do at their place of work, in terms of altering work routines or making other adjustments.

Remember that should you consider that the employee should be seen by and occupational healthy specialist, then their written consent is required before this can take place.

Above all, be considerate, don’t be pushy or try and force any issues.