Little Firs Day Nursery. STAFF ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURE

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1 Little Firs Day Nursery. STAFF ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT POLICY AND PROCEDURE Little Firs is committed to promoting and encouraging the highest levels of attendance in order to maximise the use of both human and financial resources. The effects of low levels of attendance and thereby high levels of sickness absence are twofold. The first is a reduction in the levels of service and the effects on the workload and morale of colleagues who bear the burden of covering the duties of those who are absent. The other is the cost to Little Firs through higher levels of overtime. The purpose of this policy is to give guidance to The Manager in order to assist and actively manage situations relating to sickness absence. Equally the policy and associated procedures also inform staff of the positive approach taken by Little Firs in supporting them whilst either on sick leave or suffering from ill health. Aim. The aim of the policy is the Manager is required to take positive action in the management of sickness absence. In order to ensure fairness and consistency, The Manager is required to act within the agreed guidelines. 1. What is Little firs Day Nursery required standard of attendance? 1.1. All staff should of course strive to attend all of their scheduled shifts but realistically this will not always be possible as people will become ill from time to time. Therefore Little Firs requires a minimum attendance standard of 97% of scheduled attendances across a rolling 6 month period. Once attendance falls below this level, The Manager is required to begin the formal process of managing sickness absence. This fall in attendance may have been because the employee has had a number of short term absences or has been off sick for a longer period of time. 1.2 It must be stressed that no individual should assume that these criteria provide an absence entitlement. 1.3 During a time of an epidemic or pandemic, it is acknowledged that sickness absence is likely to rise and related absences may be discounted when reviewing an individual s attendance record. 2. Sick Pay and Benefits 2.1 In normal circumstances staff will not be paid for sick days, unless they qualify for statutory sick pay. 3. Management Responsibility 3.1 It is recognised that each individual has a particular set of circumstances which need to be taken into account. In all cases the employee will be dealt with in a fair and compassionate manner with the aim, at all times when possible, being a return to work.

2 3.2 It is not possible for any attendance management policy to deal with every eventuality or set of circumstances. The Management Team and Chair responsible for Human Resources will assist the manager through general guidance and specific advice and assistance. 3.3 It is the manager s responsibility to ensure that the employees are fully aware of the reporting procedures when unfit for work. Little Firs should have a clear procedure for notification which is simple, understood by staff, and meets the requirement of the service and that of Little Firs as a whole. Each member of staff must be made aware of these procedures during induction. 4. Employee Responsibility 4.1 Under the contract of employment an employee has a responsibility to Little Firs agreed attendance standard is 97% although staff should of course strive to achieve 100% attendance. The employee has a responsibility to help their own recovery. It is the employee s responsibility to be aware of the procedure to follow when reporting sickness or absence from work. The staff member should inform the Nursery Manager as soon as possible that they will not be attending work, so that the Manager can arrange cover. 4.2 It is the employee s responsibility to provide the correct medical certification to ensure receipt of sick pay entitlements. A self certificate is required for day 1 to day 7. From day 8 onward, a certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner. 4.3 The employee should maintain contact with their manager throughout their period of absence and attend any related meetings as requested, dependent upon circumstances. 4.4 The employee should not take employment whilst off work and if found to do so, this may be regarded as being fraudulent and disciplinary action may be taken and employment may be terminated on grounds of gross misconduct. 5. Notification of Sickness Absence 5.1 Staff who are unfit for work must notify the Nursery manager as soon as possible and by the required time on the first day of sickness (unless there is an exceptional and acceptable reason for not doing so). Staff must maintain contact at agreed regular intervals after the initial report. 5.2 Staff should notify the manager of the nature of their illness and likely duration of their absence. All information is treated in strictest confidence. 5.3 Staff should also notify their manager of their intended return to work. 5.4 During a period of sickness absence the Manager should maintain contact with the employee. In the case of long term absenteeism, the manager should agree how often contact should be made. This not only keeps the manager up to date with progress toward a return to work but also ensures that the employee knows they are still part of the team and are encouraged to return when they are well. 6. Certification 6.1 All sickness absence, from day 1 to day 7 must be covered by a self certificate. 6.2 From day 8 of any period of sickness absence, a medical certificate signed by a registered medical practitioner must be obtained. 6.3 With effect from 6th April 2010, the format of the medical certificate has changed. The new style certificate called Statement of Fitness For Work will advise that the employee is either: Unfit for work; or May be fit for work.

3 6.4 The G.P. will provide a may be fit for work statement if they think the condition of the patient/employee would not necessarily prevent them from returning to work and will advise on what support can be offered. 6.5 All recommendations should be considered but if it is not possible to provide the recommended support, the employee is regarded as unfit for work. The employee does not need to return to the doctor for a new statement to confirm this. 6.6 There is no requirement for the employee to be signed off as fit for work. The GP will indicate whether they require to see the employee again at the end of the period covered by the Statement. 6.7 The self certificate and the Statement of Fitness for Work must run concurrently if the absence continues for a prolonged period of time. Certificates issued retrospectively will not be usually be accepted by Little Firs unless there is good reason and sick pay may be withheld for the period in question. 6.8 Failure to supply either a self certificate and/or a Statement of Fitness for Work covering the whole period of absence will qualify as uncertified sickness absence meaning that the absence is unauthorised and disciplinary action may follow. 7. Recording 7.1 The manager is responsible for recording all occurrences of sickness absence within the Nursery, including part days. Absence should also be recorded if the employee attended for work but subsequently had to leave work early due to ill health. The Manager must also ensure that the end of the sickness absence is recorded and notified to Payroll. 7.2 It is imperative that the details of sickness absence including the reasons for it are recorded to assist in identification of trends in absenteeism along with resultant costs and risks to Little Firs Nursery. Details of sickness absence will be provided on a monthly basis to the Manager who will analyse and interpret these figures and any actions emanating from them as required. 8. Return to Work Interview 8.1 Every employee must be have a return to work interview following every absence from work, no matter how short the duration of the absence. In most cases this will be done quite informally and confidentially as soon as possible after their return to work and need not be formally recorded. 8.2 The aim of the Return to Work interview is to: Show concern about the individual s welfare and offer support if necessary Identify and explore any underlying problems at an early stage Reinforce with the individual the impact their absence has on colleagues and the service Show that their attendance and contribution is valued Highlight where the individual is in the formal absence management process 8.3 A Return to Work interview may also highlight information that gives the manager cause for concern. It may transpire that the employee is not coping well with work or has personal issues which may require additional support. It is also an opportunity to discuss any identifiable patterns of absence. 9. Managing Sickness Absence 9.1 Differing Types of Sickness Absence This policy distinguishes between two different types of sickness absence: 1. Short Term Sickness Absence or Absence with No Underlying Health Problem This is defined as periods or patterns of sickness absence for which there is no common underlying health cause. This will normally present itself as short term or persistent

4 occurrences of sickness absence. The absences may be unconnected, consisting of a variety of minor ailments or complaints. There may also be a pattern apparent in the spread of periods of sickness absence. For instance absences may occur regularly on a Monday or Friday. Such patterns are not always easy to identify and may require monitoring over a period of 6 to 12 months. 2. Long Term Sickness Absence or Absence with An Underlying Health Problem This is defined as a period or pattern of sickness absence for which there is a common underlying health cause. This type of sickness absence will normally present itself as long term sickness a long period or periods of sickness absence normally with a high number of days absence but over few episodes. However it can in some cases present in a different pattern, e.g. a number of short periods of sickness absence. 9.2 In using this guidance, The Manager should use their discretion in deciding which path to follow depending on the particular circumstances of the individual employee. 10. When Should Sickness Absence Be Managed? 10.1 Formal management of an individual s sickness absence should begin when one or more of the following circumstances have been identified: Absences may have been caused by either work or home situations and absence levels may be reduced with appropriate help and support. Where in discussion with the manager this has indicated that there is no underlying health problem contributing to the absences. Where in discussion with the manager this has indicated that there is an underlying health problem contributing to the employees absenteeism. Where an identifiable pattern of absences has been identified. Where an individual has failed to meet the required Little Firs Day Nursery standard for attendance. 11. Procedure A (Appendix 1) 11.1 Managing Short Term Sickness Absence or With No Underlying Health Problem 11.2 Stage 1 Attendance Management Meeting - The manager will meet with the employee to formally highlight that their attendance has fallen below the minimum level required by the Nursery. The purpose of this meeting will be to discuss the employee s attendance record, taking a supportive approach toward their health and to agree any remedial action to support them to achieve the required standard. The meeting will be led by the manager, who may be supported by a member of the committee if required. The employee will be entitled to be accompanied by a friend who is employed by Nursery or by a Management team representative. The meeting will be handled with sensitivity and compassion but the need for sickness absence to be managed will be made clear to the employee. The employee will be advised that their attendance is unsatisfactory and that during the next 6 month period they will be expected to achieve a minimum attendance level of 97% of their scheduled shifts. It should be made clear to the employee that the purpose of this target setting is to encourage more regular attendance in order to meet the basic requirements of their job. However it should also be made clear to the employee the consequences of failing to make an improvement. 12 Stage 2 Attendance Management Meeting - At the end of the formal review period, a further meeting will be held. Once again the manager may be supported by a member of the management team/committee and the employee has the right of representation as outlined above.

5 If the employee has achieved the required standard of attendance, the manager should advise and congratulate the employee upon this improvement and discuss the importance of maintaining this improvement. The manager will confirm that the formal process is now over and their attendance will be monitored as with all other staff. This will be confirmed in writing to the employee If there is a repetition of poor attendance within 6 months of achieving the target set during the 1st formal meeting the formal procedure will begin again at Stage 1, 12.2 If however the level of attendance has not met the required minimum standard, the manager will discuss the reasons for this during the meeting and any further support that may be needed A further target of 97% attendance will be set for the following 6 months. Also during this meeting the employee will be advised that they will be given a formal written warning that their attendance does not meet the Little Firs Day Nursery requirements. This warning will advise that should there be no sustained improvement that demonstrates they are able to regularise their attendance to the level required; Little Firs may have to give consideration to terminating their employment under their Disciplinary Policy on the grounds of capability. 13 Stage 3 Attendance Management Meeting - At the end of the 2nd formal review period a further meeting will be held. As previously, there may be a member of the Management team in attendance and the employee has the right of representation as outlined above If the employee has made the required improvement during the review period the manager should advise and congratulate the employee on the improvement of their attendance and discuss the importance of maintaining this standard. The manager will confirm the formal process is over and their attendance will be monitored as with all other staff. This will be confirmed in writing to the employee. The employee will be advised that if during the next 12 months their attendance falls below the required standard in any rolling 6 month period, the process would recommence at Stage If the employee has again failed to meet the 97% attendance target during the second formal 6 month review period, the manager must advise the employee of their failure to meet the target and the matter will now be referred to the Trustees/Committee with authority to dismiss for their consideration. 14. Consideration for Dismissal 14.1 Before a manager refers the matter to the relevant Trustee there must be clear documentary evidence that the attendance targets have been set correctly in line with this policy. The completed case will be forwarded to the relevant member of the management team The will invite the employee to a hearing which will follow the process outlined in the Little Firs Day Nursery s Disciplinary Policy. Outcomes from this hearing may include, but are not limited to: A further written warning and/or The setting of a further attendance target of 97% attendance to be achieved during the following 6 months. Dismissal for persistent short term sickness absence on the grounds of capability, i.e. their inability to attend regularly for work and failure to meet the previously set targets Previous warnings related to poor attendance may also be taken into account when considering appropriate action. This must be made clear to the employee from the outset and the relevance of such previous warnings should be considered by the Management Team. 15. Procedure B (Appendix 2)

6 Managing Long Term Sickness Absence or With an Underlying Health Problem 15.1 This section of the policy refers to where there has been a sustained period of sickness absence or there have been shorter periods which are the result of an underlying health problem. It should be emphasised however, that each case should be judged on its particular circumstances, especially if there are health problems of a serious or terminal nature. In these cases, Medical advice should always be sought. It may be appropriate in some cases to move straight to an application for ill health retirement if the qualifying criteria are met or alternatively to consider another post within the Nursery that matches the employees capabilities Formal Sickness Absence Meeting - On receipt of advice from the G.P. that the absence has an underlying health cause, the manager should arrange a formal sickness absence meeting with the employee. The manager may be supported by a member of the Management Team and the employee has right of representation as outlined above The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the advice from the G.P. and (other than a straight forward return to work) the prospects for the employee s return to work. This will include, if appropriate, the consideration of which of the options below are the most appropriate in the light of the GP advice. The options include: Rehabilitation Dismissal on health grounds A return to the employee existing post with reasonable adjustments or modifications 15.4 Given the time it may take for a clear diagnosis of the employee s condition or for a review of the effectiveness of the treatment it is likely that a number of meetings will need to occur before final advice is given from the GP and a final set of actions can be implemented During the period of absence the manager will be expected to maintain regular contact with the employee. The manager should consider a home visit if the employee is unable to come to work but the individual circumstances should be taken into account However, whilst Little firs will take all reasonable steps to assist the employee s return to work, it cannot wait indefinitely for an employee s condition to improve. The Manager should endeavour to ensure that appropriate action in line with the options listed above is actioned as soon as possible and normally within 1 year of the start of the sickness absence Part of the management of sickness absence is how to manage the service in the absence of one or more absent staff. The Manager should consider a range of options to cover the absence including: Re-allocation of duties within the department Overtime or additional hours Use of Bank or Agency staff Employment of temporary staff 16. Rehabilitation 16.1 It may of course be likely that an employee can return from long term sickness absence without the need for a rehabilitation programme or adjustments to be made to the post However, rehabilitation can be offered at the manager s discretion and as an option to assist the return to work. The manager will need to consider this when GP considers the employee is fit to return to work but is not yet capable of assuming full contractual duties but will within a given timescale be fit to assume the full range of duties of their post.

7 17. Termination of the Contract of Employment on the Grounds of Capability Ill Health 17.1 Termination of the contract of employment on the grounds of capability ill health will normally be considered when after investigation, consultation and consideration of other alternative posts and where there is no reasonable prospect of the employee returning to work. It must be noted that this part of the procedure is distinct from the process that applies to short term sickness absence with no underlying health problem as outlined previously in this policy Before terminating an employee s contract all options for managing sickness absence will have been fully considered as follows: A return to the employees existing post A return to the employee existing post with reasonable adjustments or modifications Dismissal on health grounds Only when all options have been examined and found not to be possible will an employee s employment be terminated on the grounds of capability due to ill health. 18. Sick Pay and Benefits 18.1 In normal circumstances staff will not be paid for sick days, unless they qualify for statutory sick pay. 19. Accrual and Use of Annual Leave 19.1 Employees on sick leave continue to accrue annual leave even though they are not actually at work. If, after annual leave is exhausted, the employee remains on sick leave, normal sick leave arrangements will resume If the employee does not return to work for reasons such as dismissal on grounds of ill health, resignation, retirement any outstanding annual leave should be taken during the employees contractual notice period. THIS POLICY WAS ADOPTED AT THE MEETING OF THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE HELD ON... SIGNED ON BEHALF OF THE MANAGEMENT COMMITTEE.. Review Date: January 2012 Next Review Date : January 2013

8 Appendix 1 Managing Attendance ~ Procedure A Employee has met trigger point for formal action No Yes Yes refer to Procedure B Underlying Health Problem? No Formal Stage 1-Set attendance target and review in 6 months Fprmsl Formal stage 2 Has attendance target been achieved? Yes-Process complete monitor as normal No-reset attendance target and issue formal written warning Formal Stage 3 Has further attendance target been met? Yes - Process complete. Monitor as normal. If attendance falls within 12 months restart process at stage 2 No-Refer completed case to relevant management team to consider. Possible outcomes further warning and or target, or dismissal on grounds of capacity.

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