Too sick to come in, but not too sick to work at home…

If an employee calls in sick, but says they can work from home, so that they still get paid, what should you do?

If an employee isn’t well enough to come into work then it would be inferred that they are not in a right state of mind to undertaken any actual constructive work from home. It is at your discretion if you think you will still get a day’s work out of the employee for a day’s pay, however, it seems doubtful, if the employee has felt it necessary to call in sick in the first instance.

This will of course vary on a case by case basis, for example if someone has hurt their leg and can not drive into work, thus reporting in sick, but they are otherwise fully functional. It may, in this situation, be reasonable to allow them to work from home, provided it fits within the remit of their original job. Obviously a mechanic can’t fix cars from home, but admin staff could benefit from such discretion.

Ultimately, you hold a duty of care to your staff to protect them and provide them with a safe working environment. If you feel that home working may breach this duty, then you should refuse the request. Remember, that any action you take may set a precedent for other workers in the future.

Published: 21 Jul 2014

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