Leave is a period during which employees take time off work. The employment terms set the framework for the leave. Employees are not always entitled to leave, but employers are obliged to give employees leave under certain circumstances, e.g. parental or care leave.
When your employees are on leave, there is one thing you should be aware of:
The connection to the workplace is weakened when the employee is not in touch with their workplace for a long time.
Leave is often the start of something new. Whether it is for continuing education or to have a child. During such times, employees will often find themselves reconsidering their choices because of the change they are going through. Sometimes this will result in the employees looking for “something new” and they may end up resigning. Employees rarely go for the same “something new”, but the reasons for the desired change can include: a lack of opportunity for flexible working hours and workplace, feeling guilty for not spending more time with their family, a long commute to the workplace and a feeling of not belonging.
How many times have your employees or colleagues resigned while on leave? And how much does it really cost to lose employees?
During the notice period, an employee is often not as efficient as they were before. At the same time, a new employee will often be less productive during training, and it can therefore take several months before a new employee achieves full efficiency. Overall, recruiting, training and integrating new employees costs a lot of money. There is also no guarantee that the new employee can live up to or exceed expectations. Did you know that the cost of recruiting and hiring can be as high as DKK 1.2 million?
We are now seeing more companies following up on their employees. Not only when they are at work or have become ill, but also during long periods of leave. Targeted employee development, the ability to accommodate employees and not least invest in them will help bind them more closely to the company. It is all about staying “close”.
What do you do as a manager when you receive an enquiry about parental or educational leave?
It is common for employers to plan a good onboarding process for new employees. But it is just as important to establish a procedure that employees who are going on leave can rely on. A follow-up plan for the period of leave, as well as a plan for the employee’s return are often overlooked tools for retaining employees.
We recommend that you prepare a general follow-up plan, so that all managers in your company can use the same tool. For example, the follow-up plan must include:
- The number of follow-up talks planned before, during and after the leave
- A reminder to save the employees’ private contact information, so that invitations to summer and Christmas parties can be sent out
- Agreements on how employees can stay up to date on the company’s development and achievements
- Agreements on reporting working hours, if necessary
The follow-up plan for the leave period must include all the activities and follow-ups that you are responsible for as a manager, as well as all the requirements that are made of employees during the leave period. Keep in mind that the goal of the plan is to ensure that the employee continues to feel a strong connection to the workplace for the duration of the leave period. The plan for returning to work should be put into place as soon as possible and well before the employee goes on leave.
Workplaces are dynamic
It is important to keep in mind that leave gives the employee the right to be away from work for a limited period of time, and they have both the right and the duty to return to work when the leave ends. Therefore, it is important that the employee is informed if the nature of their work changes during the leave period. Workplaces are dynamic and change all the time, and the tasks that the employee was used to before the leave are not necessarily the same as the ones they may be faced with when they return from leave. An employee responsible for several customers can transfer the working relationships to a colleague during their leave period, and in some cases, such transfers will be permanent to ensure that the tasks are performed without any interruptions or complications. The employee may therefore have to rebuild their customer portfolio. Conversations about such situations should be included as part of the return plan, so that you make sure both you and your employees agree on how the return should take place.
Remember, you can always contact Azets' consultants in HR Legal. They deal with all legal matters relating to employment law, personnel law and employee relations on a daily basis, and they have many years of experience in handling legal HR challenges, including sick leave and terminations.
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