Experts are predicting a rise in people calling in sick after their Christmas parties this year. With government officials advising against cancelling office Christmas parties this year, many workers will still be celebrating the festivities with their teams over the next week.
With employees facing a dilemma as to how much they should enjoy the event, employers are being urged to let their employees work flexibly after the party to avoid an influx of absences, particularly as some employees may wish to isolate after the event.
“Companies often see an increase in sick days after Christmas parties” George Miller, Employment Lawyer at Richard Nelson LLP commented.
“If an employee is unfit for work because they are unwell, they can take a sick day. If an employer thinks their employee has called in sick and is not genuine, they can investigate and even take disciplinary action over unauthorised absence. The employer would have to prove this and should be careful not to jump to conclusions from anything they saw at the party.”
“Employers should check the absence history of their employee, perhaps assess whether others have accounts of the evening and the employer should consider carefully if they wish to take any accusations further.”
With many employees still working from home because of the pandemic, it could mean companies are more open to flexible working hours after the party than in previous years.
George added, “While employees can make a request to work flexibly after the Christmas party, there is no right to flexible working in the UK currently. However, it would not be uncommon for an employer to turn a blind eye to employees starting later or clocking off early after the Christmas party, particularly if they are working from home.”