How to Arrange Absence Cover for Your Staff - Both Planned and Last Minute

Posted on Wednesday, October 23, 2019 by The Workplace AdvisorNo comments

As a top London temping recruitment agency, we’re no stranger to the desperate plea of businesses needing our help with absence cover. Staff absences can be both short and long term. They can be relatively planned (e.g. maternity leave or a sabbatical). And they can be sprung on an employer with little or no warning (e.g. sickness absence). The good news for employers is there are plenty of skilled individuals available for temporary jobs in London who are both capable and ready to help out.

Getting absence management right

Absence management is far from easy. Navigating the legal requirements while also meeting business objectives isn’t for the faint-hearted. Even with the best will in the world, there are eventualities you can’t plan for.

Your first concern should be having clear systems, policies, and procedures in place for managing absence. Many PAs will undertake this task for a team, or even for the whole business if it’s small enough to not have in-house HR.

  • Having organised records makes it easier to manage planned absence (annual leave and things like maternity).
  • It’s also worth being aware that if you employ parents, you will have a greater demand for annual leave during school holiday periods. Consider how you can manage this in terms of cover and flexible working.
  • In your leave policies, be honest with your staff if there are certain times of the year when you’ll need to restrict annual leave. For example, accountants typically restrict annual leave in March and early April.

At the time of absence

For short periods of planned leave, your first port of call will probably be existing staff. They know the business well and may be familiar with the role. They can usually follow clear instructions from the individual who is going on leave. As these absences are short and planned, they rarely cause much disruption.

With advance notice, you can plan for these absences using temps in London. Get in touch with a reputable London recruitment agency like Love Success, who specialise in providing office support temps. As you have time to plan, you can take care to recruit the right people to cover, even interviewing them and facilitating a handover period if you want.

Cover in a crisis

However, there can be a problem when planned leave is extended (such as maternity and paternity leave). It’s unrealistic to leave the additional workload on existing staff for a long period of time. Likewise, it’s more complicated when absences of an unknown length are sprung on you, which can happen in the early days of long-term sickness. We describe these as being “cover crisis periods”. Not being able to plan for the absence can lead to disorder and panic.

However, you have options. In the immediate short term, we can arrange individuals to turn up for temporary work in London on the day of request. That’s right, we have a Wait 4 Work service where individuals with office support experience can come to our Covent Garden premises from 8 am. Meaning they’re ready to be sent to you as soon as you need them.

In the longer term, we can help you flexibly cover unplanned and unknown absences. We have many skilled and experienced individuals available for temping in London, and they can provide the flexible cover you need. They’re also familiar with working in crisis situations, and they’ll add value and help you navigate this difficult period.

Get in touch on 020 7870 7177 and let us help you manage your absence cover so it doesn’t cause a headache.


Love Success is a leading PA and secretarial recruitment agency in London.
Our recruiters can help you find secretarial jobs, office support jobs, and top PA jobs in London.

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