You may have seen the article in the news last week about the Spanish civil servant, Mr Garcia, who failed to turn up for work for “at least” six years and it was only discovered after he became eligible for a long service award.

The boss of the water company had not seen Mr Garcia for years despite occupying an office opposite his. The water company thought he was supervised by the local authorities and vice versa. The deputy mayor noticed his absence when Mr Garcia became eligible to receive a plaque for 20 years’ service. Mr Garcia was fined £21,000 after the award brought his long absence to light.

At first this might seem funny, or even ridiculous, that nobody noticed he was not at work for 6 years. I know some employers however that certainly wouldn’t notice if an employee didn’t show up for work; some wouldn’t even bother to ask the employee when they returned if they were ok.

If you were off work for a few days and no one noticed how would that make you feel?
Would you feel valued by your employer? Probably not.
What if every time you were off work no one noticed or even said anything to you when you came back. Are you more likely to take more time off? Probably.

When staff are absent from work I recommend carrying out a return to work interview. You can get a guide here. Click here This lets the employee know you noticed they were absent and that you need to understand the reason why they were off work.

If they were sick you need to make sure they are well enough to return to work. This is your opportunity to explain the absence process and to ensure they understand what is expected from them. You may find that by carrying out this interview it may highlight other issues that you were not aware off. For example the employee may be being bullied and that is the reason why they are absent. On the other hand they may have just wanted to go on a ‘jolly’ and this is your opportunity to nip this in the bud. Don’t forget to download your guide. Click here