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Letters of the week: horsing around with herd instinct

first_imgLetter of the WeekIt is vital to track absence record Of course absence and illness reasons should be treatedconfidentially and staff concerned be assured that this will be so.Quite apart from the issues raised on the front page ofPersonnel Today, “Data rules could curb staff absence records” (16 January) andthe fact that employers pay staff to come to work and to actually be at work,if employers are not able to keep records of absence then they couldunwittingly be discriminating.How are they to distinguish between pregnancy-related andnon-pregnancy related absence, for example, or, say, a disability-relatedillness?Also, any employer worth its salt will want to tracksickness absence to ensure that all its employees are fit to be at work –absence reasons, if carefully studied, often highlight underlying problemswhich any responsible employer will want to ensure are tackled, or at least tobe able to offer help to the employee. Someone who has a series of “nebulous” sickness reasons, forinstance, with perhaps a pattern to the absences may be suffering from stresswhich may or may not be work-related.Employers need to be able to pick up these indicators andreview the apparent problem with the employee.Employers are not collecting the information just for thesake of it or because they are nosy. Employers have much better things to do with their time (and that oftheir staff) and money. Any responsible employer needs to know not only when and howoften the absence is occurring but for what reason(s) for good, practicalreasons.Susan Austin-BurrHR manager, Human Resources& Quality DepartmentIrwin Mitchell Solicitors I do not feel that employers should require consent fromtheir staff to keep sickness records.The records are needed for: Calculation of SSP/SMP etcCalculation of Company Sick Pay entitlement.It is also needed to alert senior staff of any developingproblem that may need Occupational Health support.Janice PartridgePersonnel officerSolihull Sixth Form College Related posts:No related photos. So Manchester Business School has moved into horsewhispering “Forget taming stallions…(News, 16 January).My simplistic understanding of horse whispering is that itplays on the herd instinct, with the whisperer feigning rejection of therecalcitrant animal from the herd. Fear of being left out of the action thendrives the horse into meek compliance in order to become or remain part of thegroup. Has MBS hit on the next big idea in HR management?Robert ClarkeDirector of Human ResourcesKeighley College Might it be an idea for Personnel Today to introduce a“Pseuds Corner” and might I propose the first quote from the article abouthorse whispering, I would suggest the following is a prime example of somemeaningless flannel.“The metaphor is that managers have to think less in termsof taming wild stallions and more in terms of seeing the horse as a vulnerablecreature that can be calmed by good leadership and gentle persuasion,” statedProfessor Tudor Rickards.Really, does he think we are all mad? I’m not sure where theadded value is in introducing and teaching this metaphor. Amanda PerryEuropean HR managerVia e-mail Comments are closed. Previous Article Next Article Letters of the week: horsing around with herd instinctOn 23 Jan 2001 in Personnel Today There should be time limit on filesI think the proposal that employers should have to getconsent from staff to record sickness absence is a real step forward in theData Protection Act. Working for a public sector company which recently became aPlc, details of absence are recorded on file, including all sickness absence,funerals, industrial action and any other reasons – marital problems forexample. I have written to my personnel department requesting a copyof my personnel file but am still waiting for it four months on.I feel this type of information should not be held on filefor an indefinite period of time and that all employers should ask for thewritten consent of employeesas to what is recorded on their file.Nick PriceVia e-maillast_img read more