Policy Document Control Page. Title: Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy And Procedure

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1 Policy Document Control Page Title Title: Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy And Procedure Version: 4 Reference Number: HR7 Supersedes Supersedes: Version 3 Description of Amendment(s): nd paragraph added to make clear the that HR should be present at stage 1 meetings, that individuals should be referred to the OHS before a stage 1 meeting takes place and to clarify the rolling monitoring period as 6/12 months preceding the most recent episode of sickness absence. Removal of the words except where it is not deemed appropriate as HR recommend the meeting always take place even if is decided a formal warning is not given. Change to appendix 2 removal of words but no formal action to be taken from the tick box so it now reads Triggered. Change to appendix 4 exceptional circumstances are to be considered at the stage 1 meeting, advice from HR to be taken if manager does not want to give a formal warning. Appendix 6 - Updated Occupational Health Department Contact Details Originator Originated By: Charlotte Layton Designation: Head of Human Resources Equality Impact Assessment (EIA) Process Equality Relevance Assessment Undertaken by: Charlotte Layton ERA undertaken on: ERA approved by EIA Work group on: 16/01/2009 (CC) Where policy deemed relevant to equality- EIA undertaken by: Charlotte Layton EIA undertaken on: EIA approved by EIA work group on: (CC) Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 1 of 23

2 Integrated Governance Group Referred for approval by: Charlotte Layton Date of Referral: 21 st June 2010 Approved by: JCNC Approval Date: 28 th June 2010 Date Ratified at IGG:10 th August 2010 Executive Director Lead: Director of Operations and Nursing Circulation Issue Date: 12 th August 2010 Circulated by: Corporate Governance Issued to: All Staff Policy to be uploaded to the Trust s External Website? YES Review Review Date: March 2011 Responsibility of: Charlotte Layton Designation: Head of Human Resources An e-copy of this policy is sent to all wards and departments (Trust Policy Pack Holders) who are responsible for updating their policy packs as required. This policy is to be disseminated to all relevant staff. This policy must be posted on the Intranet. Date Posted: 12 th August 2010 Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 2 of 23

3 Contents Page Sickness Absence Policy 1. Policy Statement 4 2. Objectives 4 3. Roles and Responsibilities 4 Sickness Absence Procedure 4. Absence Notification Procedure 7 5. Maintaining Contact during Sickness Absence 8 6. Absence Recording and Monitoring 8 7. Return to Work Interview 9 8. Sickness Absence Review Process 9 9. Short Term Sickness Absence Review Process Long Term Sickness Absence Review Process Absence due to Industrial Injury Disability Discrimination Act Phased Return to Work Review Monitoring and Compliance 17 Appendices: Appendix 1 Sickness and Absence Notification Procedure 18 Appendix 2 Return to Work Interview Form (also Self Certification Form) 19 Appendix 3 Record of Contact Form 20 Appendix 4 Flow chart summarising the short term sickness absence review process 21 Appendix 5 Flow chart summarising the long term sickness 22 absence review process Appendix 6 Contact Details of Occupational Health Department 23 Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 3 of 23

4 Sickness Absence Policy 1. POLICY STATEMENT High levels of attendance are vital to achieving the effective and efficient provision of quality services. Absence is detrimental to the efficient provision of services and has a negative impact on staff morale and overall costs. Effective monitoring and management of attendance will help to: Improve the health and morale of the workforce Enhance the quality of service provision Identify and address factors in the workplace, which may be affecting employee attendance Reduce costs Pennine Care NHS Foundation Trust is committed to establishing a culture of high attendance through the development of a number of Human Resources strategies. In addition the Trust is committed to providing a working environment and staff support facilities, which promote staff health and well-being. 2. OBJECTIVES The objectives of the Sickness Absence Policy are to: Provide clear guidance to managers and employees. Ensure sickness absence is managed fairly and consistently across the Trust. Ensure employees whose sickness absence has become unsatisfactory are dealt with in a supportive and compassionate way, whilst ensuring the service to patients is not adversely affected as a consequence. Assist managers in handling short and long term sickness absence. Ensure employees understand their responsibilities in regard to attendance at work and the effects and consequences of poor attendance. Comply with all relevant legislation. Encourage a culture of good attendance. 3. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES 3.1 Role of the Manager The main responsibilities of line managers are to: Check references of prospective employees for information about previous attendance level before making an offer of appointment. Seek advice from Human Resources where there are any concerns regarding previous levels of attendance. Inform employees of the importance of maintaining regular attendance. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 4 of 23

5 Ensure employees understand their responsibilities in terms of the sickness absence notification procedure and required certification as detailed in the Sickness Absence Procedure (see Section 4). Provide all existing staff and all new staff at their induction with a Sickness and Absence Notification Procedure, detailing how to report occasions of sickness (see Appendix 1). Maintain contact with employees who are absent. (See Section 5) Conduct Return to Work Interviews with all employees following sickness absence. Monitor and take action to address unacceptable levels of sickness absence. Conduct sickness absence meetings in line with the short term and long term sickness absence review process. Apply the Sickness Absence Procedure fairly and consistently. Offer appropriate support to employees during and following a period of sickness absence, offering advice on alternative sources of help such as Occupational Health and Staff Counselling Services. Refer employees to Occupational Health in line with the Sickness Absence Procedure and, where possible, action any recommendations made. If a manager has reason to believe that an employee is not fit for duty when they report to work, they should take appropriate action, which may include finding alternative duties or sending the employee home. Advice should be sought from Occupational Health and Human Resources. 3.2 Role of Human Resources The staff of the Human Resources Department are available to: - Help managers dealing with sickness absence matters, including the provision of advice and support in the application of the procedure in individual cases. Provide comprehensive statistical information regarding sickness absence for the Trust Board or committees, senior management teams and line managers as required Monitor the effectiveness of Occupational Health Services in the performance of their role Provide regular training and guidance as part of competence development for managers 3.3 Role of Occupational Health Service Employees may be referred to the Occupational Health Department for the following reasons:- Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 5 of 23

6 Where their manager has reasonable grounds to be concerned that the employee s health may constitute a risk to themselves, other staff, service users or the public. To obtain a report on the employee s fitness to perform the duties of the post. To identify whether the employee is suffering a physical or mental impairment that is having an adverse effect on their normal activities To identify any adjustments that may need to be made to the employee s post To provide clear advice as to the employee s expected/likely return to work. It is a condition of their employment that staff attend the Occupational Health Department when asked to do so, unless confirmation is received from the individual s Medical Practitioner that the individual is too unwell to attend. 3.4 Role of the Employee The main responsibilities of the employee are to: Make every effort to maintain a high level of attendance at work. To be aware of and to follow the notification procedure when reporting sickness absence (see Section 4). Ensure the timely provision of certification to cover sickness absence (see Section 4). Regularly update their manager or other agreed officer with regards to their absence. Co-operate with management attempts to keep in touch during periods of sickness absence. Attend Occupational Health appointments as required, unless confirmation is received from the individual s Medical Practitioner that the individual is too unwell to attend. Attend meetings with management and Human Resources as required with appropriate representation at all formal stages of the procedure, unless confirmation is received from the individual s Medical Practitioner that the individual is too unwell to attend. Employee s are able to refer themselves to the Occupational Health Department at any time. The contact details of the Occupational Health Departments for each Borough are appendix 6. Attend an appointment at Occupational Health before returning to work following a prolonged absence to ensure Occupational Health clearance is obtained. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 6 of 23

7 Sickness Absence Procedure 4. ABSENCE NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE 4.1 It is important that employees notify their line manager as soon as possible of their absence and its anticipated duration, where known. This enables the manager to rearrange the work and/or arrange alternative cover where necessary, ensuring service delivery is not affected. 4.2 Sickness absence must be reported at the earliest opportunity. An individual should contact their department prior to or at the shift start time. If an individual does not contact their manager on the first day of absence the manager is expected to make contact with them to establish the reasons for non attendance. 4.3 Employees must report absences direct to the nominated manager (as detailed in the Sickness and Absence Notification Procedure in Appendix 1) or the nominated deputy. Employees should contact their manager themselves. A friend or relative should only telephone on their behalf if absolutely essential and should always provide the employee s direct contact details. 4.4 Employees must provide brief details of their ailment and how long they expect to be absent. More details of the ailment may be required at the manager s discretion. 4.5 All absences of over 7 calendar days must be covered by a medical certificate and all absences of 7 calendar days or less must be covered by a self-certificate (see Appendix 2). They should be forwarded to the line manager at the earliest opportunity and at the latest, within 7 days of the start of the period of sickness/expiry of the current sick note. (Note that sickness over weekends and bank holidays counts as days absent in this calculation even if the employee only works Monday to Friday.) Managers and employees are expected to maintain contact throughout the duration of the period of absence in particular towards the expiry of the medical certificate to in order to establish and facilitate a return to work. 4.6 Employees will be required to participate in a return to work interview with their line manager or nominated deputy for all periods of sickness (even if absent for only one day). The Return to Work Interview Form incorporates the employees self-certification where the absence is for up to 7 days. 4.7 In the event that an employee is unwilling to comply with the absence notification procedure without proper justification, occupational sick pay may be withheld and action may be taken under the disciplinary procedure. 4.8 Staff who attend for work and are subsequently unable to complete their shift due to sickness will not be recorded as absent through sickness provided they have worked for at least 3 hours of their shift. Should they not have completed at least 3 hours of their shift they will be recorded as absent through sickness for the whole shift. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 7 of 23

8 5. MAINTAINING CONTACT DURING SICKNESS ABSENCE 5.1 It is acknowledged that many employees will keep in contact with work colleagues and friends during their absence from work but management has a responsibility to maintain contact with them also. In all cases, employees should be treated with support and sensitivity by management. Any informal discussions or telephone conversations should be noted by the manager for reference purposes. 5.2 Employees are required to co-operate with all reasonable attempts to remain in contact with them during periods of sickness absence. This is in order for managers to provide employees with the appropriate support and make plans for covering the absence. Where appropriate this may involve contact over the telephone, a meeting or by a home visit. The employee has the right to agree/refuse a home visit. 5.3 The manager should only contact the member of staff if the member of staff has not made/is not maintaining contact with the department themselves to report their intended absence or have provided insufficient information regarding their absence, where there is an urgent work query that the employee can help resolve, or, to impart/obtain urgent information regarding the employee s role/place of work. 5.4 Where it is not appropriate for the manager to contact the employee on the phone or via a home visit, a nominated person should make the appropriate contact. 5.5 When managing long-term absence, the manager/a nominated person, should maintain regular contact. Contact should follow guidance in 5.1 & ABSENCE RECORDING AND MONITORING 6.1 Accurate record keeping is an integral part of each manager s responsibilities and will help to develop a fair and consistent managerial approach to attendance. It will also help raise staff awareness of management action in the area whilst highlighting to each individual their own standard of work attendance. 6.2 Attendance patterns are recorded on the computerised HR and payroll system for the purposes of monitoring and of correct payment of employees. 6.3 Statistical information will be collated by the HR Department within the Trust and monthly reports provided to Trust Board, OMG, senior management teams and line managers reviewing monthly and yearly cumulative levels of absence in line with Trust targets. 6.4 Human Resources Business Partners will take Trust and Divisional reports to monthly Divisional Management Meetings to review actions plans to manage sickness absence within that area. Service Managers are responsible for taking forward any actions that may be required following the reports working closely with the HR Department. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 8 of 23

9 7. RETURN TO WORK INTERVIEW 7.1 Managers should arrange for all employees must participate in a Return To Work Interview with themselves following any period of sickness absence. This should be conducted at the earliest opportunity in a private location. 7.2 The Return to Work Interview Form (see Appendix 2) should be completed and retained by the manager in a secure, confidential place for future reference. It should be signed by both parties in agreement of the discussion that has taken place. The manager must ensure the information is recorded on the smart system. 7.3 The purpose of the Return To Work Interview is to confirm the reason for the absence, confirm with the employee that they are fit to return and identify any support that can be provided to prevent a recurrence, where possible. The manager should consider if it is appropriate to refer the member of staff to Occupational Health. The interview should also provide an opportunity to acknowledge good attendance where appropriate or emphasise the importance of good attendance. Any concerns about an individual s level of attendance should be highlighted during the interview and the employee should be reminded of the Trust s trigger points for the formal stages of the Sickness Absence Procedure. (See sections 9 and 10). 8. SICKNESS ABSENCE REVIEW PROCESS 8.1 Managers are responsible for reviewing employee s sickness absence in relation to the trigger points defined within the Sickness Absence Procedure and initiating the formal stages of the review process where appropriate An employee s previous attendance record should be taken into consideration only where the absence was of a similar nature or where the circumstances are of a significantly serious nature. Any cases where an employee has reached the trigger points, yet it is not felt appropriate to initiate the formal stages of the Sickness Absence Procedure should be discussed with Human Resources to ensure consistency. Where the employee has a Trade Union Representative, HR will involve the representative in the decision. A written justification for the decision will be made by the HR representative, this will be stored on the employee s personal file. 8.2 Prior to any absence meetings the employee will be made aware of their right to representation at the sickness absence meetings within the formal procedure by a Trade Union representative, or workplace colleague. 8.3 The employee should be given a minimum of 5 working days notice by way of a letter from their manager, from the date of the confirmation in writing, of the formal sickness absence meeting and told the purpose of it. 8.4 The manager, in conjunction with the HR Department, is expected to send a summary letter of discussions that have taken place at any formal meetings, Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 9 of 23

10 following the closure of the meeting to the individual and maintain a copy of the letter for reference purposes on the individuals personal file. 9. SHORT TERM SICKNESS ABSENCE REVIEW PROCESS Short Term First Stage Sickness Absence Meeting 9.1 To initiate the formal stages of the procedure, a stage 1 sickness absence meeting should be arranged by the manager between the employee and the manager in the event of an employee being absent from work for either: 5 instances of sickness absence within a rolling 12 month period or 3 instances of sickness absence within a rolling 6 month period Whichever trigger is reached first. The rolling period will begin on the first day of the most recent episode of sickness absence and will include any instances of sickness absences in the 6/12 months preceding this date. The individual should be referred to Occupational Health Department before this first stage meeting takes place. The individual may be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative or work place colleague. A representative from Human Resources should be present at this and subsequent stages of the process. 9.2 The purpose of the meeting will be to: a. Discuss the reasons for the absences. b. Identify any underlying cause for the absences. c. Discuss with the employee the need/benefit of referring him/her to the Occupational Health Service to assess for any long-term condition. See Section d. Explain to the employee in a sensitive manner the effect that the absence has upon the service in terms of: Service delivery. Implications for colleagues workload and morale. e. Explore what support/assistance can be offered to the individual to help improve their attendance. f. Where the absences are related to a disability, as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act, it may be appropriate to explore the option of redeployment to a suitable alternative post, subject to a medical recommendation from Occupational Health. g. As part of the sickness absence meeting, the circumstances around the sickness absence should be taken into consideration. In exceptional cases, managers may take the decision not to proceed with the formal sickness absence review process but will be expected to review this in the light of further sickness absence. This decision should be discussed with Human Resources to ensure consistency. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 10 of 23

11 h. If no extenuating circumstances are revealed regarding the sickness absence and the decision is therefore taken to proceed with the formal sickness absence review process, the trigger points outlined in section 9.3 should be explained and a review period of 6 months should be established. The employee should be formally warned about the consequences of further sickness absence i.e. that the employee would move to the next stage of the procedure if the trigger points were reached. This constitutes a first stage formal warning and should be confirmed in writing. The warning remains on file for a period of 6 months. If the trigger points are not reached during the review period, a meeting will be held to confirm the successful completion of the 6 month review period and no further action will be taken. Further sickness absence will continue to be managed in line with the Sickness Absence Procedure. i. Please refer to Section 12 Disability Discrimination Act with regards to trigger points for employees who are absent due to a disability. Short Term Second Stage Sickness Absence Meeting 9.3 In normal circumstances, a stage 2 sickness absence meeting should be arranged, and confirmed in writing, between the employee and the manager if during the 6 month review period the following trigger points have been reached: 5 working days sickness absence or 3 instances of sickness absence 9.4 The stage 2 sickness absence meeting will be held as soon as the trigger points are reached. 9.5 The content of the stage 2 sickness absence meeting will be as detailed under First Stage Sickness Absence Meeting. The individual may be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative or work place colleague. A representative from Human Resources should be present at this and subsequent stages of the process. The trigger points outlined in Section 9.7 should be explained and a review period 6 months should be established. The employee should be formally warned about the consequences of further sickness absence i.e. that the employee would move to the next stage of the procedure if the trigger points were reached. This constitutes a second and final stage formal warning and should be confirmed in writing. The level of seriousness of this stage of the procedure should be clearly explained i.e. that a failure to improve their attendance would trigger the third stage sickness absence hearing and may lead to their dismissal. The warning will remain on file for 12 months. If the trigger points are not reached during the review period, a meeting will be held to confirm the successful completion of the 6 month review period and no Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 11 of 23

12 further action will be taken. Further sickness absence will continue to be managed in line with the Sickness Absence Procedure. 9.6 Please refer to Section 12 Disability Discrimination Act with regards to trigger points for employees who are absent due to a disability. Short Term Third Stage Sickness Absence Hearing 9.7 In normal circumstances, a stage 3 sickness absence hearing should be arranged between the employee and the manager if during the second 6 month review period the following trigger points have been reached: 5 working days sickness absence or 3 instances of sickness absence 9.8 The stage 3 sickness absence hearing will be held as soon as the trigger points are reached. 9.9 Arrangements and notification periods for the hearing and any subsequent appeal will be the same as those within the Trust s Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure. The panel will consist of a manager with authority to dismiss and will be advised by a Human Resources representative. The manager who conducted the formal sickness meetings with the employee will not be a member of the panel but will be asked to present the facts surrounding the case. The employee will be entitled to give any explanation he or she wishes. General Notes to Short Term Review Process 9.10 At each sickness absence meeting, management should reassess if recurring instances of absence are indicative of a long-term medical condition or disability and therefore being managed appropriately. Please see later section on the Disability Discrimination Act The trigger points for each subsequent stage in the procedure should apply from the date the individual returns to work, having triggered the first/second/third stage of the procedure An employee will be entitled to appeal against any formal action taken under the Sickness Absence Procedure. This appeal will normally be to a higher level than the manager taking the action. The purpose of the appeal process is to review the fairness of the original decision in all the circumstances. In order to appeal the employee should write to the People and Development Director within 10 working days of the meeting/hearing stating the reason for the appeal The short and long term sickness absence review processes are parallel processes and employees at any particular stage of either review process can transfer to the same stage of the procedure under either review process, according to the nature of their sickness absence. 10 LONG TERM SICKNESS ABSENCE REVIEW PROCESS 10.1 Long term absence is continuous sickness absence, which exceeds 4 weeks. During the period of sickness absence, managers should maintain regular Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 12 of 23

13 contact with employees on an informal basis in addition to the formal process outlined below. See Sections 4 and 5. The purpose of the contact is to ensure employees feel supported and are offered all appropriate assistance After 4 weeks absence (or earlier if it is known before hand that the absence will last 4 weeks), employees should be referred to the Occupational Health Service. Individuals may be referred at an earlier stage. The employee must be informed in advance by the appropriate manager that they are being referred to Occupational Health. Long Term Sickness Absence Review Meeting 10.3 On receipt of the occupational health report, a sickness absence review meeting should be arranged between the employee and the manager and confirmed in writing. The individual may be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative or workplace colleague. A representative from the HR Department may be present if required and the individual will be advised of this and of the meeting date and time by way of letter from their manager The purpose of the meeting will be to: a. Discuss the reason for the absence and the occupational health report. b. Establish a likely return to work date, if possible. c. Identify any work-related issues that may be associated with the sickness absence and how these can be effectively addressed. d. Discuss whether any support can be offered to enable the employee to return to work. This may include workplace controls or adjustment that may have been identified by Occupational Health or throughout management discussions with the employee. e. Explain to the employee in a sensitive manner the effect that the absence has upon the service in terms of: Service delivery Implications for colleagues workload and morale. f. At the meeting the following options may be considered, subject to a medical recommendation by the Occupational Health Service: Phased Return to Work see Section 13 on phased returns. Redeployment Ill Health Retirement. Note: Redeployment and Ill Health Retirement should only be considered where Occupational Health advise that the individual is unable to return to their substantive post or is unable to provide a reasonable date for their return. Explain to the employee that should their absence continue they would progress to the first stage of the procedure and that the first stage may result in a first written warning being issued. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 13 of 23

14 Long Term Stage One Sickness Absence Meeting 10.5 A stage one sickness absence meeting will be arranged two months after the first sickness absence review meeting, and will be confirmed in writing The meeting will be as described above under Sickness Absence Review Meeting. A representative from Human Resources should be present at this and subsequent stages of the process. The employee can be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative or workplace colleague Should the individual remain unable to return to work, or provide a return to work date within a reasonable timescale, and if none of the previous options discussed are appropriate, a first written warning may be issued. This will be confirmed in writing and remain on file for 6 months. Long Term Stage Two Sickness Absence Hearing 10.8 A stage two sickness absence meeting will be arranged two months after the stage one meeting. The format of the meeting will follow the process set out in Should the individual remain unable to return to work, or provide a return to work date within a reasonable timescale, and if none of the previous options discussed are appropriate, a second and final written warning may be issued. This will be confirmed in writing and remain on file for 12 months The employee should also be warned that should their absence continue they would progress to the third and final stage of the procedure, whereby their employment with the Trust may be terminated on the grounds of incapacity. Long Term Stage Three Sickness Absence Hearing A stage three sickness absence hearing will be arranged two months after the second stage sickness absence meeting At this stage of the procedure, if the employee remains unable to return to work and there is no return to work foreseeable within a reasonable time scale (as supported by Occupational Health advice), nor are the previous options discussed appropriate, a sickness absence hearing will be arranged to consider their continuing employment on the grounds of incapability due to ill health Arrangements and notification periods for the hearing and any subsequent appeal will be the same as those within the Trust s Conduct and Disciplinary Procedure. The panel will consist of a manager with authority to dismiss and will be advised by a Human Resources representative. The manager who conducted the formal sickness meetings with the employee will not be a member of the panel but will be asked to present the facts surrounding the case. The employee will be entitled to give any explanation he or she wishes Where there is medical evidence that an employee is no longer fit to fulfil the requirements of the job, the Trust reserves the right to terminate employment Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 14 of 23

15 before the expiry of contractual sick pay, in accordance with the procedure for dealing with ill health. General Notes to Long Term Review Process If an employee is unable to attend a formal sickness absence meeting due to ill health, despite an offer to delay the meeting once, the meeting should take place in their absence and the employee should be informed in writing of the outcome. A representative may attend if the employee wishes and/or the employee may provide a written statement. Failure to notify their manager of their inability to attend or to provide adequate justification may result in occupational sick pay being withheld Should an employee return to work after a sickness absence meeting has been arranged but before it actually takes place, the meeting should still be held Should an employee attend a sickness absence meeting and subsequently return to work but is unable to maintain a reasonable level of attendance during the following 12 months the procedure would be resumed at the same stage of the procedure An employee will be entitled to appeal against any formal action taken under the Sickness Absence Procedure. This appeal will normally be to a higher level than the manager taking the action. The purpose of the appeal process is to review the fairness of the original decision in all the circumstances. In order to appeal the employee should write to the People and Development Director within 10 working days of the date of the letter confirming the outcome of the meeting/hearing stating the reason for the appeal The short and long term sickness absence review processes are parallel processes and employees at any particular stage of either review process can transfer to the same stage of the procedure under either review process, according to the nature of their sickness absence. 11. ABSENCE DUE TO INDUSTRIAL INJURY 11.1 Where an employee is absent from work due to industrial injury, their sickness absence should be managed through the Short Term and Long Term Sickness Absence Review Process detailed above Managers should ensure the reason for the absence i.e. industrial injury is properly recorded for Payroll to ensure the correct payment scheme is used and occupational sick pay entitlement is correctly calculated Following an industrial injury the manager must ensure the correct procedure is followed for reporting an industrial injury in order for the Trust to comply with any necessary Health and Safety requirements. 12. DISABILITY DISCRIMINATION ACT 12.1 The Disability Discrimination Act makes it unlawful to unjustifiably discriminate against a person with a disability. Discrimination occurs when a disabled Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 15 of 23

16 person is treated less favourably than someone else on the basis of his or her disability The Disability Discrimination Act defines disability as a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities Managers should therefore ascertain if the employee is classed as disabled as defined by the Disability Discrimination Act through consultation with Human Resources and the Occupational Health Provider. The Disability Discrimination Act requires an employer to make reasonable adjustments to accommodate a disabled employee. Reasonable adjustments may include: Seeking to redeploy to an alternative post. Job redesign (including hours and/or working pattern) either on a temporary or permanent basis. Adaptation of the working environment. Agreement to a higher level of sickness absence (which may involve adjustment of the trigger points in this procedure). An assessment must be made about whether the adjustment is reasonable and will take account of the following: Practicality/cost of the adjustment. Disruption to the service provision. Size and resources available to the employer. Impact on work colleagues. Managers should always seek advice from both Human Resources and the Occupational Health Provider in cases involving disability In cases of disability or long standing illness the Human Resources Representative should contact the Disability Employment Advisor at the local Job Centre Plus to obtain information on assistance that could be provided from Access to Work or other such schemes. 13. PHASED RETURN TO WORK 13.1 A phased return to work after a long term period of sickness absence can be beneficial for both the organisation and the employee. The purpose of this approach is to facilitate an earlier return to work than may otherwise be possible. The following conditions should apply to any phased return to work: 1. A phased return to work must be recommended or approved by the Trust s Occupational Health Provider. If the Occupational Health Physician feels that gradual return to work would be beneficial to an employee s recovery, they will discuss this with the employee concerned and consult with the employee s manager about its feasibility. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 16 of 23

17 2. It will usually be for a period of up to four weeks, during which time the employee will receive full pay for a maximum of four weeks. Where it is recommended by the Occupational Health Department, a longer period may be agreed by the Manager. 3. The employee must be signed off by his or her GP as fit to work or his or her latest medical certificate must have expired prior to the return to work. 4. The pattern of attendance on reduced hours and/or reduced duties and responsibilities should be agreed in advance with the employee. However, it is expected that the employee will increase their working hours and/or duties during the phased return with a view to resuming their full contractual hours and duties at the end of the four week period. If the employee is unable to return to their full contractual hours and/or duties after four weeks, a referral to Occupational Health will be made. 5. If feasible and with agreement from their manager the employee may continue to work fewer hours than contracted for longer than 4 weeks but will only receive payment for the hours actually worked after the first 4 weeks. It is also open to the manager in agreement with the employee to use annual leave, TOIL, accumulated flexitime to cover the shortfall. 6. It may be that Occupational Health recommends that the employee is able to return to work but not to undertake the full duties of the post at first. Occupational Health will advise on which duties the employee can undertake. Any such return to work or limited or alternative duties will be at the employee s normal salary and will be temporary and subject to Occupational Health review. Employees are expected to cooperate with Occupational Health advice and not to unreasonably refuse limited or alternative duties on a temporary basis. 14 REVIEW This policy will be reviewed in 2 years time 15 MONITORING AND COMPLIANCE The HR department will produce a monthly report on sickness absence trigger levels to Service Managers and Directors via Trust Board, OMG, and monthly Divisional Management Meetings which will highlight any concerns in relation to attendance, Divisional HR Business Partner or HR Officers will arrange to meet with Service Managers to agree on actions that need to be taken and provide support to ensure compliance with this policy The purpose of the HR support is to ensure and provide advice regards maintaining contact with employees, planning and facilitating return to work plans, planning and facilitating workplace controls or adjustments as necessary, and communicating the analysis of sickness absence data. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 17 of 23

18 Appendix 1 SICKNESS AND ABSENCE NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE On the first occasion on which you are sick, you must yourself if possible, telephone and speak to: (leaving a message will not do) If therefore, should ask for is unable to come to the telephone, you and, if you can be telephoned, leave your number If you do not have a telephone, you should tell your Manager now. At the time of absence use a public call box or a friend s telephone. If the use of a telephone is not possible then, you must ensure that a message is sent to the person mentioned above. The message must contain the following information: date you became unfit for work nature of illness/reason for absence (simply saying Unwell or Sick is not sufficient) how long you expect to be off work when you will be in contact again (your Manager will want to agree this with you) If you refuse to co-operate in providing an explanation of your absence then, your Manager will have to make a decision based upon the information available. If you have to be absent from work, due to sickness you must submit a completed self-certification form to as soon as you return to work, or with your medical certificate if you are absent for more than 7 days. If you are absent for more than seven calendar days, you must obtain a doctor s certificate to cover all further absences in your spell of sickness. These certificates must be submitted to as soon as possible but at latest within five calendar days of the certificate being due. When you are able to return to work please let advance, preferably 24 hours before you return. know in Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 18 of 23

19 Appendix 2 RETURN TO WORK INTERVIEW FORM/SELF CERTIFICATION FORM DIVISION EMPLOYEE ABSENCE COMMENCED WARD/DEPARTMENT/UNIT INTERVIEWER ABSENCE ENDED HOURS/DAYS LOST IN THIS OCCURANCE TO BE COMPLETED BY EMPLOYEE The reason for my absence from duty was I consider that I am now fit to return to work. TO BE COMPLETED BY INTERVIEWING MANAGER Summary of key points of discussion CUMULATIVE ABSENCE:.hours/days lost over.occasions in last 6 months.hours/days lost over.occasions in last 12 months Confirm with the employee whether a formal sickness meeting is necessary. (See sickness absence procedure for trigger points.) Not Triggered Triggered Stage 1 Stage 2 Stage 3 ACTION AGREED Please detail any action agreed, including any acceptable attendance levels, support arrangements, occupational health referral etc. Is the absence due to an industrial injury/accident?(delete s appropriate) If yes, ensure the incident has been reported under RIDDOR Yes/No Signed (Employee): Signed (Manager): Date: Date: Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 19 of 23

20 Appendix 3 RECORD OF CONTACT DURING EMPLOYEE S SICKNESS ABSENCE Name of employee Name of manager Date Type of contact i.e. telephone or visit Summary of discussion Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 20 of 23

21 Appendix 4: MANAGING SICKNESS ABSENCE - Short Term Absence Employee is absent from work. Employee hits the trigger point of 5 spells absence in 12 months/ 3 spells in 6 months. YES Return to Work Interview should be conducted on their return by their manager. If the employee s absence is causing some concern, this should be highlighted, discussed and documented during the Return to Work Interview. The manager should consider if a referral to Occupational Health is appropriate. See Section 9. Stage 1 sickness absence meeting to be held. Consider the employee's previous attendance record and any exceptional circumstances regarding the sickness absence. Under normal circumstances, a review period of 6 months should be set and trigger points of 5 days/3 instances established. Confirm in writing. If decision is not to give a formal warning this must be discussed with Human Resources and reviewed in the light of further sickness absence. Issue first stage formal warning. Under normal circumstances a stage 2 sickness absence meeting should be conducted. Review period of 6 months to be set. Trigger point of 5 days/3 instances established. Issue second & final formal warning. Confirm in writing. Employee hits trigger? YES NO No further action continue to monitor absence as per normal management responsibilities. Under normal circumstances, a stage 3 sickness absence hearing should be conducted to consider the individual s continued employment. Decision to dismiss taken? YES NO Employee hits trigger? YES NO Termination of employment with notice. Right of Appeal. The panel at the sickness absence hearing will determine the appropriate monitoring period and trigger points for the employee. Managing Attendance - Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure Page 21 of 23

22 Appendix 5 : MANAGING SICKNESS ABSENCE - Long Term Absence Employee is absent from work for 4 weeks? YES NO Conduct Return to Work Interview and manage their attendance under the short-term sickness absence review process. See Section 10. Explain to the individual that a referral to Occupational Health will be made and contact Occupational Health to refer. Employee remains absent from work? YES NO Conduct Return to Work Interview. On receipt of occupational health report a sickness absence review meeting would normally be arranged and conducted. Employee remains absent from work for a further two months. YES NO Conduct Return to Work Interview and monitor their attendance over the next 12 months. Under normal circumstances a stage one sickness absence meeting should be conducted. A first written warning may be issued. Employee remains absent from work for a further two months. YES NO Conduct Return to Work Interview and monitor their attendance over the next 12 months. Under normal circumstances, a stage two sickness absence meeting should be conducted. Second and final warning may be issued Conduct Return to Work Interview and monitor their attendance over the next 12 months. Employee remains absent from work for a further two months. YES NO Conduct Return to Work Interview and monitor their attendance over the next 12 months. Under normal circumstances, a stage three sickness absence meeting should be conducted to consider the employee s continued employment. If the employee is a member of the Pension Scheme, it may be appropriate for Occupational Health to assesses whether they may qualify for ill health retirement. Managing Attendance - Sickness

23 Appendix 6 Borough Occupational Health Site Contact Details Borough Contact number Address Manager Bury Tel: Mediscreen Occupational Health Department Amra Beedaysee Rochdale Fax: North Manchester General Hospital, Delaunays Oldham TBC Road, Crumpsall, Manchester Tameside Tel: Fax: Stockport Tel: /4056 Fax: M8 5RB Occupational Health Department Tameside General Hospital Fountain Street Ashton-Under-Lyne OL6 7SR Centre for Occupational Health Stepping Hill Hospital Poplar Grove Stockport SK2 7JE Halina Greer Elizabeth Richards Managing Attendance - Sickness

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