Dealing with Intermittent Absences – Tips for Employers

10 Jul 2023
Author: Jaime Lomas

Employers are increasingly dealing with intermittent absences in the workplace.  These absences are those that occur sporadically but over time can increase in frequency and cause issues in terms of business productivity and reliability. Dealing with situations in which employees are regularly absent involves a balanced and supportive approach to ensure the well-being of employees while maintaining productivity, and to make sure legal obligations, such as good faith, are being met. 

Having a plan in place for dealing with intermittent absences and following it is critical. Here are some general steps to address intermittent absences effectively:

  • Develop clear policies: Have clear policies and procedures in place that outline expectations regarding absences, including reporting procedures, notification timelines, and documentation requirements. It is important to ensure employees are aware of these policies.
  • Maintain open communication: Encourage open and ongoing communication with employees regarding their absences. Create a supportive environment where employees feel comfortable discussing their needs and any challenges they may be facing.
  • Understand the reasons: Seek to understand the reasons behind the intermittent absences. This may involve engaging in conversations with the employee, considering medical certificates or other supporting documentation, and taking into account any underlying health conditions or personal circumstances.
  • Documentation and record-keeping: Maintain accurate records of absences, including dates, reasons provided by the employee, any supporting documentation, and any communication or discussions that take place. This helps in monitoring patterns and identifying any potential issues.

  • Support and accommodation: If the intermittent absences are due to a medical condition or disability, engage in a process of reasonable accommodation. Explore options such as flexible work arrangements, modified duties, or additional support to assist the employee in managing their condition while maintaining productivity.
  • Seek medical advice if necessary: If an employee's intermittent absences become a concern or if there are questions regarding their ability to perform their duties, consider seeking medical advice or requesting an independent medical assessment to better understand the employee's condition and capabilities.
  • Review and monitor: Regularly review the situation and monitor the impact of the intermittent absences on the employee and the workplace. Assess whether any adjustments or additional support measures need to be implemented or if further actions are required.
  • Seek legal advice: If the intermittent absences become a persistent issue or if there are concerns about potential discrimination or unfair treatment, seek legal advice from an employment lawyer to ensure compliance with employment laws and regulations.

Employers are entitled to manage the intermittent absences of an employee at work, provided they are acting consistently with their good faith obligations, and in a fair and reasonable manner in all the circumstances.

The team of specialist employment lawyers at DTI Lawyers are experts in these areas and can assist you with advice on dealing with employee absences, drafting and review of workplace policy regarding absences from work, and managing associated leave requests. Please don’t hesitate to contact us on 07 282 0174, or

Dealing with Intermittent Absences – Tips for Employers
About the Author
Jaime Lomas
Jaime Lomas is a highly experienced, specialist employment and resource management Lawyer. Jaime is a Managing Director of DTI Lawyers. You can contact Jaime at