What do I do when someone rings in sick?

This is a tricky one as you want to show some genuine empathy for your team member but there are some basic things you really should do. Here’s a quick five-point checklist that will keep you on the right track and show real professional management (without making your team member feel undervalued!


1. Check out the reason for their absence and ask how they’re feeling:

“I’m really sorry to hear you’re not well enough to come in today, what is the problem?”


2. Then find out how long they think they might be absent:

“Can you give me an idea of how long you think you’ll be off work for? Is this a 24hr thing or longer?”


3. Have they been signed off by their GP?

This information can be helpful for two reasons; firstly, it may be an indicator as to how serious the illness is and secondly, your organisation may require a copy of the doctors note for your sickness recording procedures.


4. Check if they have any support, maybe they need some help:

“Is there anything we can do to help?”


5. Agree keeping in touch arrangements.

For example, if team member is telling you it’s a 24hr thing then ask them for an update the next morning or before the start of their next shift. If they’re going to be off long term then once a week should be enough and if it is short term then they should call you every day with an update. It is important you keep in touch with them and it is completely reasonable to ask them to keep you updated.

There’s no need to struggle with these issues, just follow the five-point plan and you’ll have it all covered.


Tips and advice from our Everyday Management course