During the tribunal hearing Mr Honey accepted he visited his friend Janet's cottage in Llanteg, Pembrokeshire, but did not think the period he was being questioned about in the return to work interview
included the weekend.
It found part of the authority's absence policy includes return to work interviews
, yet the scrutiny research team revealed that 17% of non-manual and 14% of manual employees have never received one.
Return to work interviews
are seen as being particularly useful in managing absence levels with eight out of ten respondents using them.
Hywel Jones High levels of sickness absence have plagued the authority for years, with councillors and officers expressing determination to increase the number of return to work interviews
, which currently stands at 85%.
However, in this case a high level of engagement with the employee through dialogue, return to work interviews
and further discussions with the GP are all steps which are likely to satisfy a Tribunal that a business has acted reasonably in investigating the extent of any illness.
Mr Orders said: "The rate of improvement is insufficient and has highlighted a degree of noncompliance with the corporate policy in regard to return to work interviews
and trigger stage interviews.
In addition, return to work interviews
used as part of an absence management procedure are always a useful tool as they allow an employer to ask important questions about the absence in a sympathetic manner - which often leads to an early intervention on key issues affecting staff.
Return to work interviews
, phased returns and agreed rehabilitation plans can be valuable in achieving a smooth return to work, Fellows adds.
To address the issue, companies are increasingly taking action through return to work interviews
, line manager training, stretching absence targets and providing occupational health services.
Speaking about the general sickness issue, he added: "We ensure there are return to work interviews
and the intention is to find out any problems they have and remind them of the amount of sickness they have had and the impact it has had on the services the council provides.
At nine institutions which carry out return to work interviews
only 16% of staff reported actually having an interview following their most recent absence.
MANY businesses put detailed policies in place to monitor and manage sickness absence, with references made to absence reporting, return to work interviews
, "trigger levels" for formal action and cautions where absence is excessive.