MANAGING ATTENDANCE INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYEES

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1 MANAGING ATTENDANCE INFORMATION FOR EMPLOYEES

2 1 BOARD POLICY The Western Education and Library Board has recently adopted a policy and procedure for managing attendance at work. The policy and procedure have been developed to establish a clear framework to assist Principals/Line Managers in the management of attendance and to ensure all staff are treated fairly, consistently and with sensitivity during times of genuine illness. Frequent or prolonged absences of colleagues can have a negative effect on staff morale, on the quality of the service we provide, and on the learning experiences of children in our schools. It is intended therefore that the policy should promote and encourage an attendance culture which recognises the importance of sustaining attendance at work. The policy and procedure applies to all Board employees and covers all aspects of managing attendance including the roles of both Principal/Line Management and Employees. Copies of the policy are available from your Principal/Line Manager or the Human Resources Division, Telephone (02882) Those aspects of the policy which are particularly relevant to employees are summarised below for guidance. 2 EMPLOYEE WELFARE AND SUPPORT SERVICES The Board recognises that from time to time staff may require support in resolving health and welfare difficulties. The following facilities are available to assist and support staff:- Paid Sickness Leave; Special/Compassionate Leave; Career Break Scheme; Job Share Scheme; Independent Counselling Service (up to four paid sessions maximum 200); Referral arrangements in cases of addiction for assessment and treatment. Employees who wish to obtain more information about any of these facilities may contact either their Principal/Line Manager or Human Resources Staff in Board Headquarters. 2

3 3 EMPLOYER RESPONSIBILITIES The Principal/Line Manager is responsible for:- Informing staff of Procedures; Monitoring individual and total absence levels; Maintaining contact with employees; Conducting absence interviews; Maintaining appropriate records; Offering help and support if appropriate; Advising staff on Support Services; Devising and supporting rehabilitation programmes; Discipline of staff for misuse of the time off or payment facilities; Maintaining all records and discussions on a strictly confidential basis. 4 EMPLOYEE RESPONSIBILITIES The following are the key responsibilities of employees:- To provide regular and reliable attendance at work; To advise Principal/Line Management of any illness, physical or mental, which is impacting or could impact on work performance or behaviour; To report all sickness absence in line with the procedures; To maintain regular contact with Principal/Line Management during periods of absence; To maintain appropriate standards of conduct during absence; To co-operate with Principal/Line Management in the medical review process. To follow advice and warnings. More specific advice on these key responsibilities is given in the following paragraphs. 3

4 5 CONTACT DURING ABSENCE (i) (ii) (iii) (iv) Employees should adhere to the arrangements specified by their Principal/Line Manager for reporting absence. In the absence of specified arrangements, employees should make every effort to notify their Principal/Line Manager one hour before work starts, and in any event no later than 9.30 am or 1 hour after start time. Employees should initially provide an explanation of the absence and if possible, an estimate of its likely duration. Thereafter, regular informal contact is required to ensure the Principal/Line Manager is kept fully informed of their progress in order that alternative arrangements can be put in place. Employees should also notify their Principal/Line Manager in advance of the date of return to work. If the absence has been for 4 weeks or more duration the Principal/Line Manager, should, where possible, be given one week's notice of intention to return to work. Employees should provide appropriate documentation promptly to their Principal/Line Manager in support of any absence from work due to sickness as follows:- Up to 7 calendar days - a self certification form must be submitted on or before the 7th day of absence. (Teaching staff are required to self certify the 4th - 7th day inclusive of absence). More than 7 days - a Doctor's statement must be submitted before the end of the second week of absence. Where the original doctor's statement covers a period exceeding 14 days, or where more than one statement is required, the member of staff must, before returning to work, obtain a final statement certifying fitness to resume duties. (v) (vi) Employees must attend absence review meetings if required to do so. Employees must attend medical appointments and observe the directions of the Board or the Board appointed medical officer. 6 CONDUCT DURING ABSENCE The Board provides a supportive occupational sick pay scheme which is designed to alleviate hardship and anxiety during periods of sickness. Paid sickness absence is designed to facilitate a full and proper recovery. Sickness absence is not an extension of leave, an alternative to special or unpaid leave or an entitlement to a certain number of additional leave days per year. In all cases of sickness or injury which necessitates taking time off work, it is expected that staff will do their utmost to facilitate a speedy return to fitness and to work. The following are examples of activities which could be considered inconsistent with genuine sickness or injury:- 4

5 participating in any sport, hobby or other activity which is, inconsistent with the illness or injury, or which could cause or aggravate illness or injury, or which could delay recovery; undertaking any other employment, whether paid or unpaid; altering or causing to have altered any details on a medical statement, eg. dates or signature; failing to respond to requests to attend absence meetings or medical examination without good reason; taking holidays during sickness absence unless there is acceptable evidence that the holiday is required as part of treatment or necessary for recuperation. Staff contemplating taking holidays should discuss the matter with the Principal/Line Manager in advance and act on any advice given. The above list is illustrative only. The type of behaviour expected of staff will depend upon the individual case and the nature and severity of the illness. Behaviour which appears to be inconsistent with the illness/injury will be investigated and if substantiated could result in either withdrawal of sick pay and/or disciplinary action up to and including dismissal. 7 ABSENCE DUE TO INJURY CAUSED BY NEGLIGENCE OF A THIRD PARTY An employee who is absent from work as a result of an injury attributable to the negligence of a third party should, as soon as is practicable following the injury, notify the Board about the accident. Where a claim for damages is to be made the employee should include in any such claim a specific amount for loss of earnings, and sign an undertaking to refund to the Board, the sick pay received during the absence. More detailed information is available in Circular TNC 1998/2 (for teaching staff) and Section 5, Paragraph 50 (4)(f) of the NJC Scheme of Conditions of Service (for non-teaching staff). 5

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