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Can I dismiss an employee who continually takes sick leave?

You need to be careful. If the employee’s sick leave is caused by a disability, you need to make reasonable adjustments to allow them to continue working. This might include allowing them more flexible working arrangements.

If an employee regularly takes sick leave, you should make them aware that this is a problem for you. Let them know that continuing high levels of sick leave could lead to disciplinary warnings and ultimately dismissal. You can also take action if an employee is on long-term sick leave and unlikely to return to work within a reasonable time.

At the same time, you should investigate whether their work is contributing to any health problems and whether you can improve things: for example, if an employee is suffering from stress-related illness.

As with any dismissal, it is important to make sure that you follow the right procedures. An employee who has worked for you for more than two years, or who is claiming disability discrimination, could take you to an employment tribunal.

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