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Sickness/Absence Record and Potential Employers


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Old 28-09-2011, 20:26
Good_boys
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Are employers allowed to ask applicants about their sickness/absence record, either at the application or interview stage? Could doing so count as discriminatory?
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Old 28-09-2011, 20:29
whackyracer
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Yes, they can and do. If your record is bad they will probably disregard you on that basis, but obviously they wouldn't tell you that was the reason.
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Old 28-09-2011, 20:31
Missjef
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Are employers allowed to ask applicants about their sickness/absence record, either at the application or interview stage? Could doing so count as discriminatory?
I've seen questions on application forms asking how many days sick leave have you taken in the past i think 6 months or a year it usually is. Apart from that i've never been asked in an interview. I guess the only problem would be if you lied on the application and then one of your references pointed out your sickness levels...
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Old 28-09-2011, 20:32
soulboy77
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Is someone really going to own up about having a poor sickness/absence record? An employer's reference isn't going to provide that detail.
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Old 28-09-2011, 20:34
whackyracer
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Is someone really going to own up about having a poor sickness/absence record?
They normally ask on application forms and then if they want you for the job, check with your employer to see if it is correct.
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Old 28-09-2011, 20:54
Good_boys
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What if it was someone who was signed off sick from a high stress graduate job who was applying for a lower pressure, non graduate job?
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Old 28-09-2011, 20:56
kleapatra
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My company don't say on references about sick days etc. Even if they are directly asked they won't disclose to anyone the answer. I imagine this is true of many employers.
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Old 28-09-2011, 20:58
chattamanuk
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Is someone really going to own up about having a poor sickness/absence record? An employer's reference isn't going to provide that detail.
Really? Most employers I am aware of now just provide the very basic information, employment period and sickness record and steer clear of providing a 'good' (or bad) reference.
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Old 28-09-2011, 21:02
whackyracer
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My company don't say on references about sick days etc. Even if they are directly asked they won't disclose to anyone the answer. I imagine this is true of many employers.
Not true. My friend works in HR and they do disclose this information, of course it has to be factually correct but it can and is provided.
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Old 28-09-2011, 21:02
rjb101
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What if it was someone who was signed off sick from a high stress graduate job who was applying for a lower pressure, non graduate job?
They wont get it, employers don't employ sickies.
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Old 28-09-2011, 21:03
whackyracer
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What if it was someone who was signed off sick from a high stress graduate job who was applying for a lower pressure, non graduate job?
Well the only people that know the answer to that are the people you've applied to the job for, no one here can give you a definitive answer to that.
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Old 28-09-2011, 21:05
soulboy77
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Really? Most employers I am aware of now just provide the very basic information, employment period and sickness record and steer clear of providing a 'good' (or bad) reference.
Employers I have come across just confirm that you worked for them and the period you were employed and not much else.
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Old 28-09-2011, 21:06
hugsie
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They wont get it, employers don't employ sickies.
Really? I have gained jobs even though I declared a six plus month absence for stress and depression.
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Old 28-09-2011, 22:41
Lushness
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No employers are not allowed to ask about sickness pre offer, post offer yes they can.

And I've seen plenty of references with hundreds of sick days on it, before we could reject these applicants quite easily, now with the Equality Act launched last year, that is not so straightforward, you can't judge on previous sickness, only current.
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Old 28-09-2011, 22:46
whackyracer
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No employers are not allowed to ask about sickness pre offer, post offer yes they can.
It's a standard question on a lot of application forms
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Old 28-09-2011, 22:47
Good_boys
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Really? I have gained jobs even though I declared a six plus month absence for stress and depression.
That's exactly what I've been signed off with.
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Old 28-09-2011, 22:48
whackyracer
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That's exactly what I've been signed off with.
As i've said before, no one here is going to know whether your sickness history will have a detrimental affect on your application, all you can do is apply and wait and see.
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Old 28-09-2011, 22:55
Lushness
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It's a standard question on a lot of application forms
Not anymore it is now breach of legislation to ask the question pre offer. Any employers who do it are subject to a hefty fine.
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Old 28-09-2011, 23:14
mcflooze
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If it's an ongoing problem, ALWAYS declare it on the Health Declaration form and, if applicable, state that it's a disability. Then they cannot penalise you.

If it does not qualify as a disability, declare it anyway and explain the circumstances. If they offer you the job and you go off sick for a pre-existing problem without having declared it, they can ditch you during your probation period.

NB - this is not legal advice, just my own experience. If in doubt, call ACAS.
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Old 29-09-2011, 09:07
whackyracer
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Not anymore it is now breach of legislation to ask the question pre offer. Any employers who do it are subject to a hefty fine.
When was this implemented?
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Old 29-09-2011, 12:09
logiegreen
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When was this implemented?
It relates to the 2010 Equality Act. See here or here.

I'm an HR advisor and we have taken out all questions re sickness absence from our references.
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Old 29-09-2011, 12:19
Roush
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It relates to the 2010 Equality Act. See here or here.

I'm an HR advisor and we have taken out all questions re sickness absence from our references.
The bottom three questions from that Q&A are crucial ones though.

Provided a conditional offer of employment is made you can ask for whatever you want in a reference, and it is perfectly acceptable to make the offer conditional on receiving a satisfactory reference, including their sickness / absence record from their previous employer.

If unsatisfactory references are received then the offer of employment can be withdrawn.
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Old 29-09-2011, 12:27
logiegreen
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The bottom three questions from that Q&A are crucial ones though.

Provided a conditional offer of employment is made you can ask for whatever you want in a reference, and it is perfectly acceptable to make the offer conditional on receiving a satisfactory reference, including their sickness / absence record from their previous employer.

If unsatisfactory references are received then the offer of employment can be withdrawn.
Indeed but experience is that there are so many potential opportunities for slipping up in relation to sensitive data or some of the protected characteristics that not asking is often the safer option.
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Old 29-09-2011, 16:47
Toggler
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The bottom three questions from that Q&A are crucial ones though.

Provided a conditional offer of employment is made you can ask for whatever you want in a reference, and it is perfectly acceptable to make the offer conditional on receiving a satisfactory reference, including their sickness / absence record from their previous employer.

If unsatisfactory references are received then the offer of employment can be withdrawn.
That's right. I'm a HR professional and when a reference or health delcaration comes through with a high sickness level I ask the employee if was a big op or ongoing condition we need to make reasonable adjustments for. No big deal. Employees are put on a 6 month probation with a week notice either side in any case, which can be extended, so if the ad hoc days creep in we can dismiss.
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Old 30-09-2011, 01:10
Good_boys
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Seemingly, a dimmer view is taken of people who have lots of days off here and there rather than a long term illness.
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