ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT POLICY

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1 ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT POLICY CONTENTS 1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES 2. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES 1.1 EMPLOYEE 1.2 MANAGER 1.3 HUMAN RESOURCES 1.4 HEALTH & SAFETY SERVICES OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH 1.5 TRADE UNION RESPRESENTATIVES 2. EMPLOYEE S GUIDE 2.1 NOTIFICATION & REPORTING OF SICKNESS ABSENCE CONTACT DURING SICKNESS ABSENCE 2.2 SICKNESS ABSENCE CERTIFICATION 2.3 SICKNESS PAY PROHIBITED ACTIVITIES WHILST OFF ON SICKNESS ABSENCE 2.4 SHORT-TERM ABSENCE FIRST ATTENDANCE REVIEW MEETING SECOND ATTENDANCE REVIEW MEETING THIRD ATTENDANCE REVIEW MEETING FINAL ATTENDANCE REVIEW MEETING 2.5 LONG-TERM ABSENCE FIRST LONG-TERM ABSENCE REVIEW MEETING SECOND LONG-TERM ABSENCE REVIEW MEETING RETURN TO WORK PROCESS TERMINATION ON THE GROUNDS OF CAPABILITY ILL HEALTH EARLY RETIREMENT 3. MANAGER S GUIDE 3.1 TYPES OF ABSENCES SHORT-TERM ABSENCE FIRST ATTENDANCE REVIEW MEETING SECOND ATTENDANCE REVIEW MEETING THIRD ATTENDANCE REVIEW MEETING FINAL ATTENDANCE REVIEW MEETING LONG-TERM ABSENCE FIRST LONG-TERM ABSENCE REVIEW MEETING SECOND LONG-TERM ABSENCE REVIEW MEETING RETURN TO WORK PROCESS TERMINATION ON THE GROUNDS OF CAPABILITY 1

2 ILL HEALTH EARLY RETIREMENT UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE 3.2 MONITORING & RECORDING OF SICKNESS ABSENCE 3.3 CRITERIA FOR REVIEWING ATTENDANCE RECORD 4. GENERAL 4.1 UNIVERSITY SUPPORT SERVICES 4.2 REFERENCE TO OTHER POLICIES 4.3 CONFIDENTIALITY 4.4 TIME OFF FOR MEDICAL AND DENTAL APPOINTMENTS 4.5 SICKNESS ABSENCE & ANNUAL LEAVE 4.6 THIRD PARTY CLAIMS 4.7 FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE REQUIREMENTS OF THIS POLICY 4.8 TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT 4.9 MONITOR & REVIEW 5. APPENDICIES 5.1 ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT FLOW CHART 5.2 SELF CERTIFICATE 5.3 RETURN TO WORK FORM 5.4 ILL HEALTH RETIREMENT APPLICATION FLOW CHART MANAGEMENT GUIDE AVAILABLE VIA THE MANAGER S SECTION ON THE STAFF DEVELOPMENT WEBPAGE SAMPLE LETTERS EFFECTIVE RETURN TO WORK INTERVIEW GUIDE CAL/FEB11/V1 2

3 1. GENERAL PRINCIPLES Bangor University is committed to promoting the health, safety and well being of all staff. This policy is designed to promote good practice, and to provide a framework for the effective management of sickness absence. Its objective is to minimise absence levels whilst maintaining a fair, sensitive, timely and consistent approach for handling staff sickness absence. In operating this policy, Bangor University is committed to creating and maintaining a working environment in which the dignity of all employees is respected and to this end managers will ensure that they adopt a reasonable and supportive approach when implementing the requirements of this policy. This policy will operate in conjunction with the necessary employment legislation, including the requirements of the Equality Act 2010 and related Codes of Practice and guidance, the Data Protection Act 1998 and Access to Medical Reports The Attendance Management policy applies to all employees of Bangor University. Staff on secondment to the University will be required to observe the reporting / notification requirements of this policy. 2. ROLES & RESPONSIBILITIES 2.1 The Employee Employees have a contractual responsibility to attend work unless prevented by illness or personal circumstances. If sickness prevents attendance at work, employees are required to: Follow the Sickness Absence Notification and Certification Procedures Respond constructively to fit for work medical advice Ensure their manager is aware of any future need to take time off for hospital or other medical appointments When long term health issues require physical adjustments to the workplace, the individual will need to apply for access to work advice and funding Inform their manager of any health issues affecting work attendance / performance At any time during the implementation of the attendance management policy it may be appropriate to refer to other Bangor University procedures such as the suite of family friendly policies, health and well being policies etc. These documents may be accessed via the HR and / or Health and Safety Services web pages or may be obtained from Management or the HR / Health and Safety Services Department in printed form. 2.2 The Line Manager Ensure that awareness of the sickness absence policy and procedures is raised amongst all staff 3

4 To apply the sickness absence policy and supporting procedures fairly and consistently to all employees Where possible, be the first point of contact for employees reporting in sick and when this is not possible, ensure alternative arrangements are made known to people Make suitable arrangements to cover the period of absence and to ensure that key tasks and responsibilities are dealt with in an appropriate manner Managers are not expected to make contact with staff whose absence is within the self-certification timeframe. In the event of 3 recurrent short term absences within a 12 month time frame, managers are expected to meet the employee and discuss what steps, if any, can support future health and attendance at work. A date should be agreed to review the effect of that meeting Managers are expected to keep in contact with the long term sick at a minimum of 6 weekly intervals. This contact is a key factor to help a return to work Undertake return to work interviews following each episode of absence, following fit for work guidance from GPs where appropriate. This may include: a phased return to work plan, adjusting hours of work and workload; temporary alternative tasks; redeployment and reasonable workplace adjustments. Phased returns (usually for a period of up to four weeks; however an extension may be agreed on a case by case basis) do not result in a reduction in pay. Ensure self and medical certificates are sent to Health & Safety Services for health supervision and payroll purposes. Managers must retain a copy of these certificates and handle the information within the requirements of the data protection act Liaise with HR for guidance and advice to address cases of repeated short term absences 2.3 The Human Resources Department HR will promote consistency in the management of sickness absences and act as a focal point for advice on how individual issues should be handled HR may refer individual cases for advice from external specialists Give advice on redeployment, early retirements and ill-health terminations Provide advice to employees and staff representatives on the interpretation of the policy Deliver training for all those with responsibility for managing and supervising staff in the use of this policy and procedures along with signposting to other relevant HR policies and procedures Ensure the effectiveness of the policy and procedures by regularly reviewing their impact, and develop them in line with review findings, new legislation and examples of best practice 4

5 2.4 Health & Safety Services The Health & Safety team provides advice to employee and managers on all health and safety issues, ensuring compliance with statutory obligations for the reporting of injury, disease or untoward occurrence for investigation by the HSE. The Occupational Health Practitioner: Undertakes welfare contact with staff whose illness extends beyond short term Supports those with health problems to access and interact with the healthcare system May recommend the services of external specialists ( e.g. Access to work, CAIS, etc) Maintains the confidential nature of individual health issues Provides managers with advice about the outlook for future health and actions that can be taken to support a successful return to work. Gains, with consent, access medical advice from an employee s GP or treating specialist. Assists with the process of early retirement on the grounds of ill health (see appendix) Assists with the training of managers in sickness absence procedures 2.5 Trade Union Representatives The role of the union representative is to ensure that the employee understands the procedures and the reasons for the action being taken, and to assist the employee in making their case to management. 5

6 3. EMPLOYEE S GUIDE 3.1 Notification and Reporting of Sickness Absence You should follow the agreed procedure within your College / School / Department for the reporting of sickness absence. In all cases, if you are unable to attend work through sickness must notify your manager (or appointed deputy), and inform them of: The nature of the illness. Any steps you are undertaking to assist your recovery e.g. making an appointment with your GP. When you will contact your manager again with an update. Any important work which may need actioning by someone else or diary appointments that may need to be rescheduled. When you envisage returning to work Depending on the reasons of absence and likely length of your absence, you may wish to request copies of any important information to be forwarded from your Line Manager, or request to have your pay-slips sent to your home address. In the event of you not having local departmental procedure you must telephone your Line Manager (or appointed deputy) in person, no later than half an hour after your normal start of work on the first day of absence. Should you fall sick at work you must notify your Line Manager (or appointed deputy) before leaving Contact during Sickness Absence Depending on the anticipated length of absence, you should maintain regular contact with your Line Manager. Where possible the regularity of contact will be agreed on receipt of the initial call. Where telephone contact is not possible alternative arrangements for continuing contact should be agreed. These arrangements should be agreed in advance and you should not wait until the first absence occurs. Where you fail to maintain regular contact your Line Manager may contact you at home to ascertain the reason why and to receive an update or to arrange a home visit to discuss issues associated with the absence and / or to discuss a return to work strategy. Contact in such circumstances should be reasonable to the situation and not excessive or intrusive. Home visits will normally be undertaken by management and / or the Occupational Health Practitioner / Human Resources. Should you prefer not to receive a personal visit your wishes will be respected, however progress will continue but via other means i.e. telephone. 6

7 3.2 Sickness Absence Certification You are required to submit relevant documentation to support the period of sickness absence. In general, absences and certification are classified as follows: Short-term absence 5 episodes of absence or 20 days within a rolling 12 month period Long-term absence 20 continuous calendar days Unreported absence If you do not notify your Line Manager that you are absent or fail to send in certificates on time, the absence will be regarded as unauthorised and you will be absent without pay. Where you have been unable to comply with these procedures, your Line Manager should be informed of the reasons why. Your manager should consult with Human Resources and it will be decided whether or not payment should be reinstated. Unauthorised Absence Misrepresentation of reasons for absence or unauthorised absences may result in the use of the Disciplinary Procedure, which ultimately, may lead to dismissal. Absence up to 7 calendar days - A self certificate must be completed on your return to work. Absence of 7 calendar days or more - A Statement of Fitness for Work (Fit Note) is required from your doctor. It is your responsibility to ensure that all sickness absence documentation is submitted promptly to your Line Manager (or appointed deputy). 3.3 Sick Pay Entitlement The University is responsible for paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in accordance with the legislation in existence at the time of the sickness absence. Occupational Sick Pay, payable by the University, is related to your length of service with the University. This entitlement is as follows: Length of Service Full Pay Half Pay First year (after 3 months) 2 months 2 months Second & third year 3 months 3 months Fourth & fifth year 5 months 5 months Five years plus 6 months 6 months The calculation of sick pay is the responsibility of the Payroll Department. Human Resources (HR) will write to you in advance of your pay being reduced to half or nil pay. Should absence continue, HR will give advice on where to claim incapacity benefit and the implications for those who are then unable to maintain their contributions to the universities pension schemes. 7

8 You do not have the right to exhaust your entitlement to sick pay if a reasonable decision regarding your fitness to resume work can be made sooner. A failure to submit sickness documentation may result in sickness payments being stopped or suspended Conduct during sickness absence The following guidelines concern an employee s conduct and/or activities during any period of sickness absence that are unacceptable and may be considered to be an abuse of the pay scheme and subsequently result in disciplinary action being taken. The University would not normally expect any employee who is absent from work due to sickness to: Participate in any sports, hobbies or any other activities which are in any way contrary with the employees certified illness; healthy exercise as an aid to recovery would of course be sensible and would cause no concern on managements part. Undertake any other employment whether paid or paid or undertake voluntary work which is incompatible with the nature of the illness. 3.4 Short-Term Absence The aim for dealing with such absences will be to identify the reasons for the absences and agree measures to improve attendance where appropriate. Short-term absences are defined as 5 episodes or a total of 20 days within a rolling12 month period. In summary, you should complete a self-certificate (Appendix 6.2) immediately on your return to work following every period of absence and forward this to your Line Manager. Upon its receipt, your Line Manager will arrange to meet with you following each and every period of absence and undertake a return to work meeting. Your Line Manager will discuss the reasons for absence and ensure you are fit to return to work. In considering your record of sickness absence, account will be taken of the reason(s) and pattern as well as the total amount of days. Should there be concerns over the level of absences, your Line Manager will discuss and confirm action to be taken, which could include consultation with Human Resources and / or the Occupational Health Practitioner. You both complete the return to work form, following which it is either passed to the College / School / Departmental administrator for filing on the departmental staff file, or, should advice from Human Resources / the Occupational Health Practitioner be required a copy will be taken and your Line Manager will forwarded to the relevant Department. First Attendance Review Meeting Where the levels of absences are a matter for concern your Line Manager may ask you to attend a first attendance review meeting. The purpose of the review is to discuss the absences and to identify any support that can be provided to assist in you either returning to work, or in achieving an improved level of attendance. 8

9 Depending on the nature of the absences, and whether there may be an underlying reason for the absences, your Line Manger may suggest that you seek advice from the Occupational Health Practitioner. It is for you to decide whether you wish to peruse these options; however it should be noted that your Line Manager will have to come to a decision about how to progress with your absence case and may have to do so on the basis of the information s/he has at the appropriate stage. Second Attendance Review Meeting Your Line Manager may set a period of review and monitoring of your absence and ask that you attend a second attendance review meeting within a given period. Your Line Manager reserves the right to request medical certification for all future sickness absence within this review period. At this meeting you will be advised that a medical report from your GP or medical specialist will help to establish the outlook for your future health. For this purpose a meeting with the occupational health practitioner will be arranged. Should a charge be made by your GP for sickness documentation this can be recovered from your Line Manager. Third Attendance Review Meeting Following a review of your absence record, if your attendance has not improved sufficiently, or is not sustained then your Line Manager will invite you to a third attendance review meeting. At this meeting, provided no new information has been received you will be issued with a written warning detailing the level of improvement expected, the time scale for review and the implications of further absence. Final Attendance Review Meeting If, following your written warning, there is no improvement in your attendance record of if attendance is not sustained, your Line Manager will either issue you with a final written warning or arrange for a dismissal hearing whereby a panel of Senior University Officers will review your attendance record, support offered and sought, medical information available at the time etc and take a decision as to whether you should be dismissed. The panel that will undertake a sickness absence dismissal comprise of a Pro Vice Chancellor (chair of the panel), your Head of School / College / Department, a Senior Officer external to your School / College / Department and a representative from Human Resources. Final points: If at any time during the course of the attendance review meetings an underlying chronic and or long term medical condition is identified advice from the Occupational Health Practitioner will help to establish how your health condition can be supported at work and he outlook for your future health and attendance at work. 9

10 Your Line Manager will arrange for notes to be taken of the meetings and set timescales for improvement. Your Line Manager will also confirm in writing the outcome of the meeting and the points set out above. You have the right to be accompanied by a friend, colleague, or trade union representative to all formal attendance review meetings. There will be a right of appeal against warnings, to the Director of Human Resources, and against dismissal, to a Pro Vice Chancellor or his/her nominated representative who has not been involved in the case. Appeals should be made in writing c/o the Director of Human Resources within 10 days of the warning or dismissal. Please see Appendix 6.1 for a supporting flow chart for short-term absence. 3.5 Long-Term Absence For long-term absences, the aim is to try and return you to work as soon as possible. Sometimes this means making adjustments to your job for a period as an aide to your return. Your Line Manager will work with both you, the Occupational Health Practitioner and Human Resources in discussing your return to work plan. Sometimes it may not be possible for you to return to your job, if this is the case your Line Manager will work with both you, the Occupational Health Practitioner and Human Resources in exploring next steps. Long-term absence is defined as 20 continuous calendar days within the past 12 months. In summary, you will present to your Line Manager your fit notes as and when received from your GP. Should you remain not fit for work no further action is taken, although it is expected that you keep your Line Manager regularly updated of your absence as per the requirements of the policy. Where you may be fit for work, your Line Manager will arrange to meet with you at the earliest opportunity to discuss the possibility of a return, taking into account any advice / guidance noted on the fit note: 1. If a return is not possible following this discussion then you are treated as not fit for work and remain on sickness absence. Both you and your Line Manager will agree date for a formal long-term sickness review and revisit this process at that point. Your Line Manager will make a note for the departmental staff file and inform Human Resources of this decision. Depending on the length of absence and the absence reason, your Line Manager will consider the details of the fit note. At this point it may be suggested for you to meet with the Occupational Health Practitioner for a confidential review of your health in relation to a return to work. 2. Should a return to work be possible, you should notify your Line Manager at the earliest opportunity. Your Line Manager will discuss the options with you at your return to work meeting, seeking advice from Human Resources or the 10

11 Occupational Health Practitioner if appropriate. A return to work plan will be formulated and an agreed return to work date confirmed. At various stages your Line Manager will arrange for formal attendance review meetings, at which your absence reasons, the support you may have been offered / received, next steps etc will be discussed and appropriately recorded. In summary: First Long-term Attendance Review Meeting The purpose of the first formal review meeting with your Line Manager is to establish the nature of your illness, your expected duration of absence and general outlook in relation to full recovery. You have the right to be accompanied by a friend, colleague, or trade union representative to all formal attendance review meetings. Your Line Manager will arrange for notes to be taken of the meetings will confirm in writing the outcome and the details discussed. Second Long-term Attendance Review Meeting Prior to the second long-term review meeting your Line Manager will consider the details of your most recent fit note and any information received from the Occupational Health Practitioner. Based on this information, your Manager will decide as to how best manager either your return to work, or where this is unlikely, alternative options to pursue. It is accepted that there may be exceptional cases where the procedure is not followed precisely, based on advice received from the Occupational Health Practitioner and in agreement with both you, your Line Manager and HR. Any such decision will not adversely affect your employment rights Return to Work Process When you are declared fit to return to work, you should contact your Line Manager to discuss the arrangements for your return. If, after receiving medical advice, it is not found to be possible for you to return to your previous post, where practicable your Line Manager will explore the following options: 1. Redeployment 2. Alternative duties / change to the working practices including hours of work You will receive full support from your Line manager, Human Resources and from the Occupational Health Practitioner during your return to work. Termination on the Grounds of Capability 11

12 Where medical evidence suggests a return to work will not be possible or not be possible in the near future, where the duration of absence is unknown, or if there is evidence to show that you are unlikely to resume work and maintain a sufficient level of attendance, your employment may be terminated on the grounds of illhealth. You have a right of appeal of the decision taken and this should be made in writing c/o the Director of Human Resources within 10 days of the decision. Ill Health Early Retirement Ill health early retirement (IHER) may be an option if you are a member of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) or the Universities Pension Scheme. Please see Appendix 6.1 for a supporting flow chart for long-term absence which explains in more detail the process and actions that are to be followed. 4. MANAGER S GUIDE From managing sickness absence to encouraging attendance. 12

13 Monitoring the health of your team through their attendance at work; addressing the causes and reasons for absence; and facilitating an early return to work, all show that you value the individuals that make up your team. This advice and guidance will help you to manage the attendance of your team so that the effect upon services is minimised and that staff are assured of a prompt, fair and consistent process. 4.1 Types of absence Absences can generally be categorised into three different types: Short-Term Absence (self-certificated) 5 episodes or 20 days within a rolling 12 month period Long-Term Absence (certificated) 20 continuous calendar days Unreported Absence Each needs to be managed differently and guidance follows for each but, before you start trying to manage absence and encouraging attendance either generally or individually, you need to ensure that you and your team are clear about the principles of the Attendance Management Policy and any local practices and arrangements. It is your responsibility to make your team aware of what is expected of them, in terms of reporting non-attendance, standards of attendance and co-operating with management in resolving problems of non-attendance. This guide will show you how to achieve these aims Short-Term Absence The University recognises that most employees will have some sickness absence at one time or another. However, given the effect that this has on the ability to run services and on the workloads of other staff, you have a duty to ensure that sickness absence is kept to a minimum. Trigger levels (as noted above in 4.1) are set by the University to assist in the management of sickness absence to ensure consistent application of the policy and as a clear standard to all University staff. Trigger levels are indicative only and should not prevent earlier management intervention where necessary. The steps which you need to take in beginning to control short-term absence are covered in the return to work meeting. The nature of these meetings will depend on the employee s sickness record. Detailed guidance on preparing for and conducting return to work meetings can be found in the Manager s Guide, a copy of the return to work form can be found at Appendix 6.3 In summary, each and every absence must be followed by a return to work meeting. Although this meeting may take up your time, bear in mind that it could save you a lot more time in the future. Where appropriate, a return to work meeting may be conducted via telephone i.e., due to limited availability or exceptional travel between work locations. Good attendance is the responsibility of us all. 13

14 Should non-attendance continue to be a cause of concern, should a pattern of non-attendance become evident and / or the trigger points reached the following steps should be followed: First Attendance Review Meeting Where the levels of absences are a matter for concern you should arrange an initial attendance review meeting. The purpose of the review is to discuss the absences and to identify any support that can be provided to assist the employee either returning to work, or in achieving an improved level of attendance. Second Attendance Review Meeting You should invite the employee to attend an attendance review meeting with you. The purpose of the review meeting is to formally discuss the employee s sickness absence record and any problems they may have. The meeting is intended to be helpful and supportive in tackling and being sensitive to any problems and to help remove any barriers to achieving good attendance.. At this stage no further action may be required beyond the monitoring of the employee s sickness record. You should confirm the monitoring and review period and indicate what steps are likely if improved attendance has not materialised. As part of managing attendance, you can ask the employee to provide a medical certificate for all future sickness absences for the monitoring period. If a charge is made by their GP this can be recovered from the employing College / Department / School. You should always remind employees that the Occupational Health Practitioner may be able to support their health in relation to work and / or signpost appropriate support services. It is for the employee to decide whether they wish to peruse this option. A record will be made of the meeting, with a copy being sent to both the employee and to Human Resources. Third Attendance Review Meeting Following the period of monitoring and a review of the employee s absence record, if the objectives set in the above stage have not been met, you should invite the employee to a follow-up review meeting. Where possible, a representative from Human Resources should also be present at this meeting. At this stage it is important to receive a medical report about the outlook of health in relation to work. Should the employee not wish to see the Occupational Health Practitioner, they should be invited to give consent for a report from their GP who will be asked whether a full and complete recovery can be expected and within what timescale. 14

15 Should you not have received any new / further information regarding the employee s health, or should the employee decline the support of the Occupational Health Practitioner and / or decline consent for a medical report then a decision must be taken based on the available information at the date of review. The employee should be issued with a written warning detailing the level of improvement expected, the time frame for review and the implications of further absence. A record will be made of the meeting, along with confirmation of the written warning. A copy should be sent to both the employee and to Human Resources. Final Attendance Review Meeting If there is no improvement or if attendance is not sustained, you should invite the employee to meet with you to discuss the outcome. Either a final warning will be given or a dismissal hearing be convened. Please note that if an improvement in attendance has taken place you should still meet with the employee, so as to communicate that they are no longer under review and that no further meetings will take place. In the case of a final written warning, you will need to revisit action taken to date, inclusive of any support offered / accepted, medical information provided etc. A further monitoring and review period will be set and this final stage will be revisited. In the case of a dismissal hearing, it is advised that you contact HR for advice in relation to convening a dismissal panel. In summary, the panel will be chaired by a Pro-Vice Chancellor (or his/her nominated representative), and consist of the Head of College / School / Department, a Senior Officer external to the School / Department and an advisor from HR not previously involved in the case. Arrangements for a note taker will also be made. Appeals should be made in writing care of the Director of Human Resources within 10 days of the warning or dismissal. An appeal against dismissal will be to a Pro Vice Chancellor (or his/her nominated representative) who has not been involved with the case. For all meetings you should arrange for notes to be taken and confirm in writing with the employee the outcome of the meeting and the details discussed. A copy should be forwarded to your HR Representative for information. At all formal meetings the employee has the opportunity to be accompanied by a friend, colleague, or trade union representative. It is also advised that you arrange a note-taker to be present. For sample letters of the above stages please refer to the Manager s Guide. 15

16 4.1.2 Long-Term Absence A key part of the process in managing a person on long-term absence is to ensure that regular contact with the employee is maintained. The timing and nature of that contact will be appropriate to the situation of the member of staff and their medical condition (see 3.1.1). However, it is expected that at no point in the absence will more than 6 weeks elapse without telephone or personal contact being made with the employee. The purpose of these contacts is to reassure the employee about their job and to enquire about their welfare. You may wish also to provide information, discuss the likely length of absence and/or enquire as to whether any support can be provided that would assist the recovery of the employee. Once the trigger for long-term absence has been met and there is an indication as to the likely length of absence you should consider whether arrangements for cover of workload will need to be made and request Payroll direct future payslips to the home address. First Long-term Attendance Review Meeting You should arrange a long-term absence review meeting with the employee when the trigger of 20 continuous days is reached, or earlier if it is anticipated that the absence will continue beyond 20 continuous days. The purpose of this meeting will be to establish the nature of the illness, the expected duration of the absence and general outlook in relation to full recovery. Consideration should be given to the details of the fit note submitted whether a review by the GP has been noted or whether it is for a specific period. You may wish to seek clarification via the Occupational Health Practitioner prior to the meeting as to whether there is likely to be an imminent return and if not, the anticipated duration of the absence. At the meeting you should take the opportunity to remind the employee that the Occupational Health Practitioner may be able to support their health in relation to work and / or signpost to other appropriate support services. It is for the employee to decide whether they wish to pursue these options. At the end of the meeting a further review meeting should be arranged, a recommendation would be for this to be scheduled within 6-8 weeks. Second Long-term Attendance Review Meeting Prior to the second long-term review meeting you should consider the details of the employee s most recent fit note and any information received from the Occupational Health Practitioner. Should the fit note confirm that the employee is still not fit for work a referral to the Occupational Health Practitioner should be recommended, unless s/he has already attended. Should the offer be declined you should request the employee s consent for the Occupational Health Practitioner to obtain an updated medical report from their GP / Consultant. 16

17 Should the employee have attended a welfare meeting with the Occupational Health Practitioner you should discuss with them the outcomes of the management report provided by the Practitioner, including the likelihood of a return to work in the foreseeable future and how a return to work will be managed or, the options available in the event of a return not being likely. The employee has the right to withhold consent for the GP/Consultant to be approached. The employee has the right to withhold the report from the University also. However this limits the information available to the University to make decisions about the employee s ability to return to work. Should support from the Occupational Health Practitioner be declined and / or consent for a medical report be declined, management reserve the right to make a decision based on the information available at the time. It is accepted that there may be exceptional cases where the procedure is not followed precisely, based on advice received from the Occupational Health Practitioner and in agreement with both you as the manager, your HR Representative and the employee. Any such decision will not adversely affect the member of staff s employment rights. For all meetings it is advised that you arrange a note-taker to be present. You should confirm in writing with the employee the outcome of any meetings and the details discussed. A copy should be forwarded to your HR Representative for information. At all formal meetings the employee has the opportunity to be accompanied by a friend, colleague, or trade union representative. Return to work process When the employee is declared fit to return to work, the employee should contact you to discuss the arrangements for their return. This meeting will cover: training required on any new processes, updating the employee on any news or changes in the College / School / Department, planning hours and workload for the initial return and / or, where the Occupational Health Practitioner has advised a phased return plan (if hours are to be built up gradually) or making arrangements for any reasonable adjustments / retraining. An initial phased return to work is individually generated following the advice of the Occupational Health Practitioner and discussion with you. This will usually be for a period of up to four weeks; however an extension may be agreed on a case by case basis. If upon expiry of the agreed period the employee is unable to resume full duties you should seek advice from the Occupational Health Practitioner as to whether a reasonable extension of the phased return should be considered. A phased return to work will be on full pay. If, after receiving medical advice, it is not found to be possible for the employee to return to their previous post, where practicable the following options will be explored: 17

18 1. Redeployment into another area of work within the same College/School/Department or elsewhere within the University if practicable. 2. Alternative duties or change to the working practices according to the needs of the College/School/Department. 3. If full-time work is not possible, even following a phased return to work, then consideration of a permanent part-time post with part-time remuneration will be made. It is expected that you will provide full support during the absence and return to work process. Termination on the Grounds of Capability Where medical evidence suggests a return to work will not be possible or not be possible in the near future, where the duration of absence is unknown, or if there is evidence to show that the employee is unlikely to resume work and maintain a sufficient level of attendance, the employee s employment may be terminated on the grounds of capability. This route will be regarded as a last resort and only progressed after all above options have been explored and exhausted i.e. redeployment to alternative role, reduced hours, ill-health early retirement (if an option). This is not a disciplinary issue, but a termination of employment on the grounds of ill health. It is advised that you contact HR for advice in relation to this stage. In summary, you should arrange to meet with the employee so as to provide an opportunity for them and/or their representative to put forward their case and to provide any other medical information. In the event of conflicting medical opinions, the University will seek a third opinion from an independent consultant. A decision will be made on the case. The employee has a right of appeal of the decision by writing to the Director of Human Resources within 10 days of the decision. In the case of an appeal an appeal hearing panel will be convened. The panel will be chaired by a Pro-Vice Chancellor (or his/her nominated representative), and consist of the Head of College / School / Department, a Senior Officer external to the School / Department and an advisor from HR. Arrangements for a note taker will also be made. Ill Health Early Retirement Ill health early retirement (IHER) may be an option if the employee is a member of the Universities Superannuation Scheme (USS) or the Universities Pension Scheme. Should this be an option the employee wishes to consider they should have an informed discussion with the Pensions Officer who will also issue them with: The relevant factsheet that describes eligibility and Financial information about ill health retirement and other options if available. 18

19 A flow chart detailing the process for those in the USS Pension scheme can be found in Appendix Unauthorised Absence It is your responsibility to ensure staff are aware that misrepresentation of reasons for absence or unauthorised absences may result in the use of the Disciplinary Procedure, which ultimately, may lead to dismissal of the staff member. 4.2 Monitoring and Recording of Sickness Absence In order to ensure that this policy is applied effectively, thereby developing a fair and consistent managerial approach to work attendance, it is essential that monitoring procedures exist. You have a responsibility to continuously monitor staff attendance levels including absences for which either self-certificates or fit notes have been provided. Self-certificates and fit notes / medical certificates must be sent to you or, if agreed local arrangements determine otherwise, to the person who has been nominated to record absence for the School/Department. It is imperative that you send all medical documentation to Health & Safety Services as soon as they are received in order that the details are recorded on the HR / Payroll system and confidentially stored. The details assist in the calculation of sick pay entitlement and also in the case of referrals to Occupational Health. 4.3 Criteria for Reviewing Attendance Record Where an employee has a high level of sickness absence i.e., when the trigger points are reached, which is causing concern for the University, either you or your nominated representative should carry out a review of their sickness record and the reasons for absence. Each case must be handled on an individual basis, being sensitive to the particular circumstances / health problems. 5. GENERAL 5.1 UNIVERSITY SUPPORT SERVICES Heads of Departments, other senior colleagues and Human Resources staff may refer a member of staff who suffers from ill health for specialist advice. Reference to the Occupational Health Services, external counselling service or access to work for those with a disability is a normal process, especially in cases of longterm absence. 19

20 The University also works closely with Access to Work, a government organisation providing advice and practical help for disabled people in or about to start work. Access to Work provides grants towards costs associated in helping people with disabilities to be able to function effectively at work. The University benefits from their specialist advice and assistance with the costs of making reasonable adjustments to the workplace. 5.2 REFERENCE TO OTHER POLICIES On occasions, an employee may need to be absent from the University not due to his/her own personal illness or injury. In such circumstances, an individual may wish to consider the appropriateness of one of the other University policies, which can be obtained via their Line Manager or found under the HR Intranet site: &subid=0 5.3 CONFIDENTIALITY All discussions and any records must be treated in total confidence. It is recognised that some absences may arise from personally sensitive circumstances which may be difficult for the employee to discuss openly with their line manager. Should this be the case then the employee may discuss the matter, confidentially, with a member of the HR Department, so as to seek advice on appropriate support. Sickness absence can raise issues in respect of equal opportunities e.g. gender specific conditions, stress, harassment, disability issues etc. Managers must ensure that such issues are responded to or referred appropriately and managed in a confidential and sensitive manner. It is the responsibility of management to ensure that personal/sensitive information about employees is treated as confidential and stored in a secure place as per the requirements of the Data Protection Act Please refer to the University s Data Protection Policy or further guidance on the Data Protection Act 1998 in relation to the handling, storage and disposal of confidential information. 5.4 GENERAL PRACTITIONER, DENTAL, OPTICIAN & OTHER ROUTINE APPOINTMENTS The University expects individuals to arrange GP, dental, optician and other routine appointments in their own time. This includes appointments for a purpose which is chosen by them e.g. donating blood etc, and those which are necessitated by a condition e.g. to discuss treatment with a GP. Where it is not possible for individuals to arrange an appointment outside normal working hours, and time off work cannot be avoided, the appointment should be 20

21 made at a time that is least disruptive to their work wherever possible, for example at the beginning or end of the working day. Individuals will be granted a reasonable amount of time off dependant in the type of appointment; however, due to operational requirements and if reasonable to do so, the line manager reserves the right to request an alternative date / time of appointment. Time off for appointments will normally be with pay, provided line management have been informed within a reasonable timeframe and provided an appointment and / or other appropriate medical statement is presented, if requested, as evidence of the appointment. HOSPITAL APPOINTMENTS The University accepts that it is not always possible to arrange hospital appointments with a consultant or specialist outside of normal working hours. Where treatment results in individuals becoming unfit for work, this absence should be recorded as sickness absence in the normal manner SICKNESS ABSENCE AND ANNUAL LEAVE If an individual is absent due to long-term sickness they are entitled to their annual leave on return to work. If this return to work occurs after the previous leave year they may only carry over up to 5 days. If an individual is ill whilst on annual leave they should notify their manager (or appointed deputy) and forward their fit note / medical certificate at the earliest opportunity. If there is a charge made for the fit note for a period of less than 7 days this can be recovered from the employing College / School / Department. Days covered by a fit note will be reimbursed by the College / School / Department. 5.6 THIRD PARTY CLAIMS If individuals are making a claim against a third party (e.g, following a car accident) included in the claim must be the cost of both Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) and Occupational Sick Pay received as a result of the injury or illness. When such a claim is successful the individual must reimburse the University the appropriate costs of sick pay. 5.7 FAILURE TO FOLLOW THE REQUIREMENTS OF THE POLICY If individuals fail to follow the requirements of the attendance management policy or their manager doubts the integrity of the evidence provided, the University Disciplinary Policy may be applied. 5.8 TRAINING & DEVELOPMENT All supervisory managers will be expected to attend training on Managing Sickness. The HR Department will ensure attendance requirements are met. 21

22 5.9 MONITOR & REVIEW It is the intention that the implementation of these procedures be reviewed periodically in conjunction with the recognised trade unions to: ensure quality of implementation, the member of staff s experience, developments in employment legislation or good employment practice, and if necessary revised to ensure continuing relevance, quality and effectiveness. The results of the monitoring will be presented to the HR Task Group and the Health and Safety Committee. Questions and/or comments on these procedures from a member of staff should be addressed in the first instance to his/her Head of Department/School /College who will deal with them, or ensure that they are passed on to the Human Resources Department for consideration. APPENDIX 6.1 LONG-TERM OR RECURRING SHORT-TERM SICKNESS ABSENCE The manager is notified about the health problem preventing a person from attending work Record the reason, date(s) and duration of sickness absence and the barriers preventing a return to work Dealing with documentation Take a copy for your records and immediately forward the original certificate to Health & Safety Services for payroll purposes 22 Managers should

23 Short term sickness absence The self certification period lasts 6 calendar days. Managers are not expected to contact employees who are off work with short term illnesses. It is the responsibility of the employee to inform the manager they are unable to work and to inform then when they expect to return work Repeated short term and medium term sickness absence Managers should conduct a formal return to work interview with those who have suffered a 5th episode / reached 20 days of short term absence within 12 mths and those returning from medium term sickness absence (7-20 days). Should absences continue warnings will be given as per short-term procedure. Managers will keep HR involved. This could lead to a final written warning / dismissal on the grounds of capability. Long-term absence could lead to discussions around redeployment, alternative duties, retraining etc. Should Ill Health Early Retirement not be an option, all other avenues for a return to work explored and / or the employee is not likely to return to work in any capacity in the foreseeable future then ill health dismissal will result. Managers will work with and take advice and guidance as to how best to proceed from both HR and the Occupational Heath Practitioner. APPENDIX 6.2 BANGOR UNIVERSITY SELF CERTIFICATE FOR SICKNESS ABSENCE Please complete this form in capital letters: 23

24 Full Name: School/Department: Home Address: Date of Birth: Payroll Number: National Insurance Number: Period of Absence: Number of working days absent: Date from: (1st day of absence): Date to: (last day of absence): Date returned to work: Reason for Sickness Absence: If your absence was the result of an accident at work, have you completed an Accident Report form? YES / NO These forms are available from Health & Safety Services Declaration by the Employee: I declare that I was sick during the period above and that the information given is true and correct: Signed:... Dated:... This form must be completed if you are absent from work due to sickness between 1 and 6 consecutive days (including Saturday, Sunday and Bank and/or University Holidays). This form must be given to your line manager at your return to work interview. It is a disciplinary offence to knowingly give false information. APPENDIX

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