Capability dismissal following long term absence

Long term sick employees can be an expensive problem. Employers often find it difficult to determine how long to wait before dismissing on the grounds of capability. An employer should never dismiss before seeking evidence from medics. This might mean seeking a medical report AND asking the employee to attend an occupational health appointment to ensure that all steps have been considered to support the employee’s return.

Here are some important steps to take before dismissing:

1. Give employees time to gather evidence to support their return to work.
2. Take advice from the GP and occupational health on an employee’s ability to return.
3. Make reasonable adjustments for meetings, to ensure that the employee is able to attend.
4. Consider all alternatives to dismissal, such as reduced hours, amended duties, alternative jobs etc. Only once all alternatives have been exhausted should the capability dismissal be confirmed.

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