STAFF SICKNESS AND ABSENCE MANAGEMENT POLICY

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1 STAFF SICKNESS AND ABSENCE MANAGEMENT POLICY AIMS To ensure that staff absence is managed in a way which safeguards the interests of the students and other staff whilst at the same time showing understanding to the individual. To ensure that all employees experiencing ill-health problems are treated in a fair and consistent manner and receive the necessary support whenever possible to enable them to improve their health and/or maintain their employment. The policy relates to staff employed at any level within the school. DEFINITIONS: Absence can be defined broadly as any time when an employee is not at his/her place of work during normal working hours, or at other times when he/she is contractually required to be at work. This encompasses the following: (a) statutory entitled absence: maternity leave and parental leave, jury service, trade union duties etc; (b) absence authorised by the organisation: approved annual leave, attendance at training courses, compassionate leave; (c) absence contractually provided for: sick leave (d) unauthorised absence: o failure to return from leave on time o taking annual leave without authorisation o leaving work early without authorisation o late attendance Unauthorised absence and absence for false reasons is regarded as misconduct. SICKNESS ABSENCE Headteachers, Governing Bodies, the Academy Sponsor and individual employees all have a part to play in the management of sickness absence. Ore Village Primary Academy will use the Bradford Factor to help monitor absence through sickness, and highlight patterns of absence particularly short term absences due to ill health. The Headteacher The Headteacher, supported by the Governing Body, is responsible for the attendance of teaching and support staff. This can be achieved by: o ensuring that all staff are made aware of the procedures regarding sickness absence and that they follow the requirements of sickness absence notification procedures. o reviewing each employee s sickness record in accordance with this procedure. 1

2 o identifying any trends (eg accidents or stress etc) from the school s sickness records to develop and implement policies which will reduce the health risks to employees. o acting fairly and consistently and legally. o establishing a clear action plan for a member of staff where it is decided that action is justified. o presenting a case to Governors where all actions taken to remedy a situation are exhausted. The Employee Individual employees have a responsibility to: o attend work when fit to do so. o comply with the school sickness absence recording procedures including the provision of medical certificates at the appropriate time. o ensure medical advice and treatment, where appropriate, is received as quickly as possible in order to facilitate a return to work. o ensure that whilst an employee is sick they do not engage in any activity which might delay their recovery or exacerbate their problem. o ensure that the Headteacher is kept advised of their progress and be available (medical fitness permitting) to discuss their absence if required to do so. The Governing Body The role of the Governing Body is to ensure that: o the school adopts a sickness management policy and regularly reviews it. o the Headteacher carries out his/her responsibilities. o the absence of the Headteacher is monitored and appropriate procedures applied when necessary. o it determines an appropriate course of action when a Headteacher refers a case when all actions taken by the Headteacher have failed to remedy the situation. o it considers the advice of TKAT. The elected HR Governor of the Governing Body will be responsible for addressing these issues. CONFIDENTIALITY All cases of ill health will be handled sensitively and constructively with due regard to confidentiality. The Headteacher will stress to staff that medical in formation about them will be treated in confidence and that any breach of confidentiality will be regarded as serious and potentially as a disciplinary matter. PROCEDURES Notification of Absence The employee should contact the following by a telephone call (NO TEXT, LEAVING VOIC AND IT MUST BE THE EMPLOYEE THAT TELEPHONES NO 2

3 PARTNERS, SPOUSE ETC). If the employee is unable to contact their specified person they should telephone the Headteacher. Teachers: o KS1 Leader if employed within KS1 o Headteacher if employed within Early Years and KS2 o Headteacher Senior Management Team Office and MDS: o School s Business Manager if office/premises/midday meals supervisor Learning Support Staff o Inclusions Manager All Learning Support Assistants including Individual Needs Support Assistants Contact should be made between 7.00 and 7.30am on the first day of sickness absence and every subsequent day of illness until such time that a medical note is required (7 days). A further telephone call should be made before 3.00pm on the day to advise if the employee will be at work the following day. It is important that the Headteacher knows of an absence as early as possible to arrange cover. It is reasonable for the Headteacher, or nominated manager, to enquire in a sympathetic manner about the nature of the illness and expected duration, but he/she must respect the right of the employee to withhold the nature of the illness. It is the responsibility of the person receiving the absence call to complete the sickness absence book held in the School Business Manager s room, make a note on the whiteboard in the staffroom and to arrange cover where necessary. Should the sickness absence extend to three days (including weekends and rest days), the employee should contact the school again to update the Headteacher or nominated manager of his/her condition, the treatment they are receiving (if any) and, if possible, some idea of when they will be returning to work. If the absence continues, or is expected to last for eight consecutive days or more, including weekends and rest days, the employee must provide a medical certificate from his/her doctor certifying that he/she is medically unfit for work. Where the absence has lasted eight days or more, the employee should not return to work until the medical certificate has expired or unless certified fit to do so by their doctor. RECORDING AND MONITORING One of the main advantages of recording and monitoring sickness absence is that it aids the correct and early identification of a problem. Absences for which ill health is given as the reason will normally fall into one of the following categories: (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) continuous long term absences resulting from one cause; an acute illness or injury or disability. A number of shorter term absences resulting from one continuing illness or injury. Frequent absences of one or more days for which a variety of reasons are given; these may form a pattern. Some illnesses may not fall into any of the above categories, for example, many shorter absences of two to five days for a number of different illnesses. 3

4 All the above require investigation, the extent of the investigation depends upon the pattern and length of absence and the circumstances. Following investigation it could be that (iii) and (iv) may indicate a conduct problem for which the disciplinary process may be appropriate. Handling Short Term Absences Due to Ill Health The Bradford Factor A series of short term absences can cause just as much disruption for the school as a longer period of sick leave. To ensure that a complete picture of absences is available, comprehensive sickness records will be kept for monitoring purposes. School will now follow the Bradford Factor for calculating short term absence. All records will be held confidentially by the School s Business Manager. THE BRADFORD FACTOR The Bradford Factor is a formula that measures absence in a manner that gives more weight to frequency of absence than to the total number of days of absence. The system works as follows: The formula S x S x D is used to calculate the absence points for an employee. Where S equals the number of spells of absence in the last 52 weeks D equals the number of days absence in the last 52 weeks. The formula gives a score which is classed as the value. Threshold values are as follows: 0-49 No action required Potential Action Verbal Warning Potential Action 1 st Written Warning Potential Action Final Written Warning 650+ Potential Action Termination of Contract These threshold values are not intended to penalise genuine sickness absence and exceptional circumstances will allow for absence not to be counted, this must be in agreement with the Headteacher. All absences will be counted over a 12 month period from September to August. No absences prior to this date will be counted. In these cases: o In the first instance the Headteacher or nominated manager will seek to establish whether the absences are related. The employee will be given the opportunity to explain before any action is decided upon. o If they are related to a single condition, the Headteacher, or nominated manager, in consultation with the individual, should consider whether this potentially constituted a long term health problem. If this is the case, the procedure for managing long term absences should be followed. 4

5 o If the reasons for the absences appear to be unrelated, and the level and/or frequency and pattern is causing concern, the Headteacher, or nominated manager, should try to identify through discussion with the individual if there are other problems of a domestic or work nature that may be affecting their attendance, if not already known. o If the cause for absence is not health related, counselling and support should be offered and a review date set (not more than one term). This should be confirmed in writing to the individual. The written summary of that interview should include: (i) the nature of the cause for concern; (ii) (iii) the agreed actions; the likely action that will follow in the event that the level of absence continues to give cause for concern. o At the end of the review period, the Headteacher, or nominated manager, should interview the individual to discuss what progress has been made. In the light of all the circumstances a decision must be made as to whether: (i) (ii) (iii) the level of improvement is acceptable, in which case the individual should be told that no further review if required and a note made to that effect on the employee s personal file; there has been some improvement but attendance is still not of an acceptable level and an extension of the monitoring period applied; attendance continues to give cause for serious concern and further formal action needs to be taken, then the disciplinary procedure may be invoked as this could now be a conduct issue. A note will be kept of what was discussed and agreed and a copy given to the individual. Notes will be signed and dated. Managing Long Term Sickness Absence Long term absence may be specific and clearly defined, or may be relatively non-specific and indefinite. Where an employee has, for example, a broken leg or has had an operation there is normally a predictable end date to the absence, after which the employee can be expected to return to work and resume a satisfactory attendance record. In such cases, it will not be normally necessary for the school to take action other than to remain in contact with the employee. The more difficult circumstances are those where the cause of the illness is less well defined and the timescale for a return to work is unknown. The following procedure will be followed in order to enable the school to deal fairly and reasonably in such cases. o When an employee is on sick leave for a period of time the Headteacher, or their representative, will keep in regular contact in order that the individual does not feel isolated and is supported and also that the Headteacher is able to maintain an accurate picture of the circumstances. There is also an obligation on the part of the employee to keep the Headteacher updated with regard to their health situation. o If absence is continuous for a period of 8-12 weeks referral may be made to the Occupational Health Adviser. The purpose of this is so that an independent 5

6 assessment can be made of the employee s condition and an estimation of when and if the employee will be fit to return to work. A meeting will be arranged prior to referral to the Occupational Health Adviser between the individual and the Headteacher, personal adviser and union representative or workplace colleague at an appropriate venue. o Where the employee or their doctor s certificate indicates absence is due to stress or depression resulting from work factors, the meeting will enable the school to address these work factors and hopefully result in a speedier recovery and return to work. o Should the Occupational Health Adviser require medical reports from an employee s GP, the Authority is legally bound to ask the employee s permission before requesting them. If the employee refuses to allow medical reports to be provided, the Headteacher will make an assessment on the strength of his/her knowledge of the employee s circumstances. o Where an individual has been absent for a considerable period, the Occupational Health Adviser may recommend a phased return to work. This would normally only be for a relatively short period of time, and would be with full pay. o However, where an employee requests a return on reduced hours this will be at a reduced pro-rata rate and will be accompanied by a variation in contract. o Any recommendation will need to be considered sympathetically although the Headteacher is under no obligation to act on such a recommendation where it is not practicable for the school. o Where however the Occupational Health Adviser recommends that the individual does not return to their normal duties, the following alternatives should be considered: (i) (ii) (iv) an indefinite reduction in working hours (with reduced pro rata pay) a change in duties suitable alternative work within the authority o Both Governing Bodies and TKAT have duties and responsibilities under the Disability Discrimination Act Where practicable, TKAT and the Governing Body may have to make reasonable adjustments to their employment arrangements or to the school premises so that a disabled employee or prospective employee is not at any substantial disadvantage compared to a non-disabled person. o If, after all the above steps have been taken; (i) (ii) (iii) the employee is unable to return to work within a reasonable period of time, or the Occupational Health Adviser has stated that the employee will be unfit to return to work within a reasonable period, or the employee s medical condition prevents him/her from returning to his/her original position and no alternative work is available, then dismissal on the grounds of capability due to ill-health can be deemed to be fair and reasonable. 6

7 o Any decision to terminate the employment on grounds of medical incapability will be the responsibility of the Governing Body at an ill-health capability hearing, taking account of recommendations from TKAT personnel based on advice from Occupational Health and any representative acting on behalf of the employee. The procedure to be followed in such cases is to be agreed with the TKAT HR Director. If the Occupational Health Unit has advised that you are medically unfit to do your job, and you no longer wish to continue working for TKAT, you may wish to consider taking early retirement on the grounds of ill-health. SICK LEAVE ENTITLEMENT Teaching Staff Periods of sickness leave for teachers are calculated in working days only. Teachers absent due to sickness continue to receive full or half pay as appropriate through weekends, school holidays and bank holidays, though these periods do not count towards sick leave entitlement. Under teachers conditions of service a new period of sick leave and sick pay starts from 1 st April each year. However, if a teacher is absent from work due to illness on 31 st March, the period of absence will continue to be calculated against the previous year s absence and the new sickness period will not start again until the teacher is back at work. Support Staff The rate of sick pay and the period for which sick leave shall be paid in respect of any absence due to ill-health is calculated by deducting from the period of sick pay appropriate to an employee s service on the first day of absence, the total amount of sick leave taken in the twelve months preceding the first day of absence. No account will be taken of any unpaid leave absence on sick leave. It is not necessary for an employee s sick leave entitlement to be exhausted before dismissal can be implemented. Sick Pay Administration Sick Leave Employees who are absent are usually paid their normal pay which consists of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Occupational Sick Pay (OSP). OSP is for a prescribed period based on length of service as indicated below. The Statutory Sick Pay Scheme gives employees who are too ill to work a right to a maximum payment from their employer. Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) Teachers Length of Service During 1st year of service Entitlement Full pay for 25 working days and, after completing 4 calendar months service, half 7

8 pay for 50 working days. During 2 nd year of service Full pay for 50 working days, and half pay for 50 working days. During 3 rd year of service Full pay for 75 working days, and half pay for 75 working days. During 4 th year and successive years Full pay for 100 working days, and half pay for 100 working days. Support Staff Length of Service During 1st year of service Entitlement 1 month s full pay for 25 working days and (after completing 4 calendar months service) 2 months half pay. During 2 nd year of service 2 months full pay and 2 months half pay During 3 rd year of service 4 months full pay and 4 months half pay During 4 th year and successive years 5 months full pay and 5 months half pay After 5 years service 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) is paid for up to 28 weeks of sickness absence after which period employees will revert to claiming sickness benefit from the DSS. The 28 weeks SSP received from TKAT as the employer is treated like a salary and subject to PAYE, Income Tax, National Insurance contributions and pension contributions. Sick Pay provisions apply to full and part time staff. When SSP ends, TKAT, as the employer, is required to send out Form SSP1 to the individual advising them of the cessation of SSP. Included with this is a form for them to claim sickness benefit which is paid by the DSS. 8

9 Dealing with Stress Teaching and working in schools can be stressful and the school is committed to promoting staff well-being and aims to ensure that measures are taken to reduce the effect of stress on the school s workforce. If symptoms can be identified at an early stage then measures can be taken to protect individuals from situations that exacerbate the situation. Measures that could be taken to protect a member of staff where practicable include: relocation of duties reviewing workloads and targets providing close support from a member of senior staff encouraging the individual to refer themselves for advice OTHER LEAVE Parental Leave Eligibility An employee, having completed one year s continuous service with the Council/TKAT will have a right to Parental Leave if they: (a) are the parent (named on the birth certificate) of a child born after 15 th December The entitlement will exist until the child s 5 th birthday; (b) are an adoptive parent of a child under the age of 18 whose adoption takes place after 15 th December This right exists for a period of 5 years from the date of the adoption, or until the child reaches the age of 18 whichever is earlier; (c) have acquired formal parental responsibility (as defined in the Children s Act 1989) for a child born after 15 th December 1999 who is under 5 years old. The entitlement will exist until the child s 5 th birthday; (d) are the parent of a disabled child, in which case some of the arrangements are different, see section 10 for details. Applications for Parental Leave should be made in writing to the Headteacher. Entitlement Eligible employees are entitled to take up to a maximum of 13 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child. For those working less than full-time hours this entitlement will be calculated on a pro-rata basis. Leave may be taken in blocks of one week at a time up to a maximum of four weeks per annum per child. The Parental Leave year will commence when the child is born or placed for adoption or as soon as the employee has completed one year s service with the Council/TKAT, whichever is later. A week is the period of 7 days from Sunday to Saturday. Part weeks of leave will be counted as one week s entitlement. 9

10 Requesting Parental Leave and Postponement of Leave An employee must give the Headteacher notice equivalent to twice the amount of leave requested (eg if 4 weeks parental leave is requested 8 weeks notice will be required), or 21 days notice, whichever is longer. In exceptional circumstances the Headteacher has discretion to agree to leave where a shorter period of notice is given. In the case of either a birth or adoption, where: a prospective father wishes to take leave straight after the baby is born, or prospective adoptive parents wish to take leave straight after a child is placed with them for adoption, leave will be granted providing the employee gives the Headteacher at least 21 days notice. The Headteacher may postpone leave should it be felt that the service will suffer as a result of the Parental Leave being taken at that particular time, eg. the need to complete a specific tasks, eg a project or contract within a reasonable timescale; where there is a requirement to maintain a service delivery during a period of staff shortages; to ensure the continuity of education. Parents of Disabled Children All arrangements are the same as specified within these procedures with the exception of the following: Eligibility For the purpose of parental leave, a disabled child is a child for whom disability living allowance is awarded. Entitlement Parental Leave of up to 13 weeks may be taken up until the child s 18 th birthday. The leave can be taken in days, to a maximum of 4 weeks (20 days) per year. Time off for Dependants Eligibility Employees have the right to take a reasonable amount of unpaid leave to deal with incidents involving a dependant. The governing Body have delegated the responsibility for unpaid time off to the Headteacher in conjunction with the Line Manager and each case will be dealt with on its own merits. 10

11 The Governing Body have agreed up to 2 days paid leave per rolling year to deal with incidents involving a dependant. Definition of a Dependant A dependant is defined as: o a husband, wife or partner who reasonably relies on the employee; o a child who reasonably relies on the employee; o a parent who reasonably relies on the employee; o a person who lives in the same household as the employee except lodgers and other non-dependants. A person can be said to reasonably rely on an employee of the employee is likely to be the sole or major provider of care. Rights to time off The employee has the right to take time off in order to take necessary action in the following circumstances: o to provide help when a dependant falls ill, gives birth or is injured or assaulted; o to arrange care for a dependant who is ill or injured; o where the arrangements for care of a dependant are unexpectedly disrupted or terminated; o when a dependant dies; o to deal with an incident involving the employee s child which occurs unexpectedly when he/she is at school The employee should notify the Headteacher or Deputy Headteacher that they need time of as soon as reasonably practicable and, in any event, no later than one hour prior to their normal start time. They should also state the reasons why time off work is necessary and give an indication of how long they expect to be away. Consideration should be given to other methods of taking time off which may not result in loss of pay for the employee, e.g. annual leave, flexible working where available, compassionate leave etc. Immediate release can be agreed when an emergency arises during the course of the school day. Compassionate Leave The Headteacher can approve up to 5 days paid leave of absence per rolling year or alternatively unpaid leave of absence can be granted. Special Leave There are a number of circumstances in which paid leave of absence is an entitlement. Individual members of staff should see the Headteacher for details of the entitlement within the following categories as appropriate: o Justices of the Peace o Local Authority Members 11

12 o Members of a Committee, Tribunal, Panel, Board of Prison Visitors or similar bodies o School Governors o Retained Fire-fighters o Election Duties o Training for Visually Impaired Employees o Leave for Examinations o Study (revision) Leave o Service in Non-Regular Forces o Reserved Armed Forces Unpaid Leave Unpaid leave can be approved by the Headteacher dependent upon the individual circumstances. This will normally apply where the employee requests a period of absence which cannot be managed within the annual leave provisions. Maternity Support Leave Five days paid leave of absence is to be granted to the child s father or the partner or nominated carer of the mother at or around the time of birth to provide assistance and support. A nominated carer is the person nominated by the mother to assist in the care of the child and to provide support to the mother at or around the time of birth. Subpoenaed Witnesses and Jurors (a) Employees should inform the Headteacher who will grant leave. Allowances should be claimed by the employee, these will then be deducted from pay. (b) The above provision does not apply when attending court in a professional capacity as an employee of TKAT. Interviews Paid leave of absence is to be granted as necessary for employees to attend interviews within local government. Medical Screening Necessary paid time off will be granted for the purpose of medical screening. Leave for Religious Observance When an employee applies to take time off during term time for reasons of religious observance, unpaid leave will be granted where practicable. For support staff employed on all year round contracts such time off should usually be taken as part of the employee s annual leave entitlement. 12

13 Time off for Medical Appointments All medical/dental appointments should be made outside of the school day, e.g. before or after school and during school holidays. Requests for Time Off Any requests for time off not covered above should be made in writing to the Headteacher at least 2 weeks before the required date of absence. A written response will be given within 5 days of the request. Adopted by Governing Body:21 st October To be Reviewed: September Signed: Chair Date: 13

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