Someone where I work has suggested we give an extra days holiday to people who don’t take time off sick for that year.

Personally I thing this is a terrible idea but is there a legal basis that I can use to object (ie discrimination?)

any advice gratefully received.

thanks everyone. 

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  • Hi everyone,

    Thanks for the replys, it really helped to know my concerns were founded. I have put together some suggestions and will take them to the board. Praying they listen...

    Thanks again!

  • Hi Connie,

    We operate a recognition scheme for employees who have  not taken any time off sick. It is only a small monetary token because I really don't want to encourage people to be dragging themselves into work when they are ill as Sarah has pointed out. However what I have to do is to separate absence for a disability against absence for a non disability so any employee with a known disability will not be 'penalised' for being off work with their condition and still then eligible for the recognition bonus. 

    Having said this, we are even thinking of changing this and not going down the money route for recognition.

    Personally I don't like the idea of rewarding extra holidays either and would push back if our owners put this idea forward in my organisation. 



  • Hi Connie,

    I too had touched on this idea a while ago for my organisation, but decided against it quite quickly.

    I agree with the points Sarah's made. My first thought would be that those who have a disability or ongoing medical condition may feel demotivated by this sort of policy as it may be highly unlikely, if not impossible, for them to go a year without taking any sick days. Whether that counts as discrimination, i'm not sure, but I can certainly see it causing friction for those who feel they will never have a chance to benefit from the incentive. At worst they may feel like they're being penalised for taking sick days.

    Also, Sarah has made the point about people trying to come in when they are sick in order not to incur a sick day, not only is that a bad idea for their wellbeing, but it can also spread bugs around the workplace, potentially causing others to get sick.

    I agree that a sturdy absence management procedure is a better idea.

    Good luck,


  • Morning Connie
    Yes this is not an uncommon suggestion do you use the carrot or the stick?
    Some line managers take the view why reward what people are being paid to do i.e. turn up to work.
    So there are a couple of angles, as you rightly say discrimination being the first one e.g. if people with a disability who take time off do not receive the extra day, or where those with childcare responsibilities (who should be time off for dependants) but in my experience many people take the day off as sick themselves, as some are not aware of this statutory right for emergency leave.
    Maybe you could influence from a practical angle, as the cost to the business could add up especially if the day's leave is consolidated into holiday entitlement. That said I'm not sure on your level of absence and the cost to the business is it a significant cost? In addition it encourages employees to attend work when they are genuinely sick, which actually makes matters worse in terms of their wellbeing and also spreading sickness within the workplace.
    Schemes such as above can also be a challenge from an administrative perspective and keeping track of absence, eventually it may become custom and practice even where it is not an express term.
    I would try to understand what interests the MD is trying to satisfy as there may be a whole host of ways to achieve this without going down the above route.
    I have seen strong absence management procedures have greater impact in terms of changing behaviours as opposed to rewarding those who attend work.

    I hope this helps


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