Small Firms Sick of Sloppy Sick Notes

I think we’ve all witnessed how perfunctory, if not illegible, many GPs’ sick notes can be. Such vagueness can become a significant problem for small business owners who face the …

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18th January 2007 at 2:37 pm

I think we’ve all witnessed how perfunctory, if not illegible, many GPs’ sick notes can be. Such vagueness can become a significant problem for small business owners who face the cost of Statutory Sick Pay and finding cover for prolonged absence.

According to the campaign manager for The Forum of Private Business (FPB), Victoria Carson:

… people seem to be getting signed off work for the vaguest of reasons, and hard-working business owners have to pay them Statutory Sick Pay when they don’t really know if they should actually be off work.

The FPB is therefore calling for a radical overhaul of the required content of doctors’ sick notes.

I agree, sick notes should be more explicit. The FPB in essence wants to reduce the impact of malingerers on small businesses. It claims that staff and GPs should be as responsible as business owner managers.

Perhaps. But there is more to reducing absence rates than making it more difficult for GPs and staff to ‘defraud’ small businesses. Answers may lie more uncomfortably close to home and business owners may need to re-examine their working environment, culture and recruitment policies.

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Alex is the founder and editor of SmallBizPod, the UK's first podcast dedicated to small business, start-ups and entrepreneurship. Alex writes about topical small business issues, entrepreneurs and anything else that catches his eye here on the small business blog. http://www.smallbizpod.co.uk

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  1. Stuart Bruce says:

    Cracking down on malingerers doesn’t just help small business owners, but also the rest of the works. The reality in many small businesses is that you don’t get a new person to cover, but that the other workers and business owners end up doing it. Malingerers should be reminded it is their colleagues they are exploiting, not just their employers.

  2. alex says:

    True. I think most serious malingerers, rather than people taking occasional sickies, are likely to have reached a point where they don’t give a stuff about their employer or their colleagues. Which may be why they’re malingering in the first place!

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