There have been two developments relating to sickness absence matters over the summer:

The ACAS Sickness Absence Toolkit also contains some useful flowcharts and tips under the ‘assets’ section here: ACAS Sickness Absence Toolkit

  • The ICO has published detailed ICO Workers’ Health Information Guidance entitled Information about Workers’ Health which explains an employer’s data protection obligations when they process health data concerning their workers.  Health data is categorised as special category personal data and is granted enhanced protection under the UK GDPR.

The first part of the ICO guidance explains how the UK GDPR and Data Protection Act 2018 applies to the employer, and works through the essentials of:

Complying with the stricter statutory requirements for processing special category data.
Providing employees with information about the employer’s processing of their data.
Performing a data protection impact assessment before processing any health data.
Data minimisation and security.

The second part focuses on how data protection law applies to specific workplace scenarios such as managing sick absence records and occupational health schemes, conducting drugs and alcohol testing, and how to approach sharing employee health data. The ICO confirms the legal requirements the employer must comply with for each aspect of employment practice covered and sets out recommended good practice that it expects should be adopted by the employer to comply with legal requirements.

Most useful from this ICO guidance is the set of Checklists included to give employers an overview and quick guide to help run through their data protection considerations whenever they need to process workers’ health information. These can be viewed here:  ICO Workers’ Health Checklists