Introduction to this document

Letter to sick employee confirming performance review

If an employee has been signed off work on long-term sick leave during the performance management process, there will come a point when you need to move forward with the performance review meeting.

Certified sick

If you’ve implemented a formal performance management process against an employee, in some cases you may find that, before the performance review meeting has taken place, they then produce a statement of fitness for work (fit note) certifying them as sick for a few weeks. If you’re faced with this situation, your first step should be to use our Letter to Sick Employee Postponing Performance Review to postpone the meeting until the employee is fit enough to attend. If their sickness absence is only going to be of a short-term nature, it’s fair to simply wait until they’re well enough to return to work. However, if the employee’s absence starts to look like it’s going to be prolonged, don’t let the situation drag on indefinitely. You must balance your need to conclude the performance management process in a timely manner whilst the poor performance issues are still fresh in everyone’s minds against the employee’s need to improve their health. So, the next stage is to use our Letter Offering Options for Performance Review Meeting to provide the employee with various alternatives for progressing the meeting. If they’re willing to accept one of your options, the meeting can then take place. Alternatively, you might receive no response whatsoever from them.

In their absence

Our Letter to Sick Employee Confirming Performance Review is for use as a last resort, and it covers the following two alternative scenarios: (1) you’ve had no response from the employee to your earlier options letter; or (2) they replied saying they wanted to attend the meeting personally but that they were still too ill, and so you sought advice from their GP/consultant on whether they were fit enough to attend but that medical professional confirmed they were indeed too ill for the foreseeable future. Our letter sets out that the postponed meeting will now go ahead, even in the employee’s absence, and it sets up a date and time for it. However, it does still offer them two options - either to submit a detailed written statement and/or to send a representative to act on their behalf. Plus, if the employee simply failed to respond to your earlier options letter, they do still have the option of attending in person.

Meeting format

If you do hold a performance review meeting without either the employee or their representative being present, it’s essential that you make it as fair and transparent as possible, so treat the evidence with care, go through everything in detail, don’t try to bring in any new performance issues that weren’t covered in your original performance review meeting notice and take minutes of the meeting. Also, ideally send those minutes to the employee for their comment before the chair of the meeting takes a final performance management decision. Finally, give the employee a right of appeal against any performance management sanction imposed.