Conducting conversations concerning absenteeism is difficult. This starts with the sick leave itself – for example, as a manager, you are not allowed to formally ask about the nature and cause of the illness and the employee has the right not to mention the illness. And if the employee does – which is often the case – then nothing can be recorded. It becomes even more difficult if the sick leave has to do with psychological problems (for example, “burn-out” or “bore-out”), a labor dispute underlying the sick leave, or when there is a suspicion of unjustified absenteeism.
How do you conduct a good discussion about absenteeism and avoid potential pitfalls and obstacles, while still giving the employee the attention they deserve and contributing to their recovery and successful reintegration?