As flexible working becomes more commonplace, new trends are emerging in terms of absence management.

Employers are embracing change. Flexible working, working from home, working part time or job-sharing are all relatively recent developments in the modern workplace. As businesses battle to attract talented employees, some firms have started offering duvet days and hangover days too.  A duvet day allows an employee to take a day off, with no notice, on a day when they just can’t face getting out of bed.

This can be helpful for employees who are stressed due to heavy workloads and are in need of a break, in order to recharge.

A more recent trend is the hangover day. A hangover day allows staff members to work remotely or just take a day off, if they are feeling tired the morning after a night out. Recent press coverage saw one firm introduce such a policy in order to offer something different to “younger millennials who typically go out midweek.”

These policies are certainly different. However, businesses that introduce them should ensure that they do so in a way that isn’t seen to encourage heavy drinking, as this would be at odds with an employer’s duty to safeguard the health and wellbeing of staff.  Any such policy should also be set out in a way that doesn’t discriminate against certain groups of employees.

On the flip side, employers who introduce policies around duvet days, hangover days or flexible days off, could be seen as more forward thinking businesses. Introducing any such policy should be done in a way that encourages employees to maximise their productivity while supporting their need to enjoy life outside of work.

Finally, any business that introduces these policies should consider how they will manage the number of random days off each employee can take. Flexibility is a good thing but it is necessary to set reasonable parameters in order to ensure that employees are productive.