Managing Sickness Absence Policy HR022

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1 Managing Sickness Absence Policy HR022 To be read in conjunction with section 14 of the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook Date Drafted: Oct 2008 Review Date: Oct 2010 Version: V1.0 Author of this version: Human Resources Document Owner: Director of Organisational Development and Corporate Support 1

2 Contents 1. Introduction 2. Objectives and scope of the policy 3. Roles and responsibilities: 3.1.Employee 3.2.Manager 3.3. Human Resources 3.4. Employee representative 3.5 Occupational Health 3.6 Confidentiality 4. Sick Pay 5. Compliance with notification / certification / provision of medical information requirements 6. Working during sickness absence 7. Short-term sickness absence Informal: Stage 1 Formal: Stages Long-term sickness absence 9. Rehabilitation/phased return 10. Redeployment 11. Disability Discrimination Act (1995) & Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Act (2005) 12. Termination of employment /early retirement 13. Appeals procedure 14. Further guidance/training Appendix 1 1. Notification of sickness absence 2. Certification 3. Sickness absences during annual leave 4. Holiday during long-term sickness absences 5. Accrued Annual Leave during long-term sickness absence 8. Overtime following a period of sickness absence 9. Medical and dental appointments 2

3 1.Introduction 1.1 This policy sets out NHS Barking and Dagenham s principles in managing sickness absence issues to ensure a fair, reasonable and consistent approach whilst enabling the Trust to provide a consistent, quality service. The Trust aims to promote good employment relations and practices that recognise and value the contribution and commitment of all our employees. The purpose of this policy is to ensure that arrangements are in place for handling absence from work in a manner, which minimises the impact of absence on the employee, colleagues, patient care and financial cost to the organisation. 1.2 Managers should endeavour to develop a relationship with their staff which allows for open discussion, support and counselling. Such a relationship, supported by regular one to one meetings, should help staff to appreciate the importance of their role within the organisation and be aware of the support that the Trust can provide to its staff, including during periods of sickness. 1.3 Managers will work closely with the employee, Human Resources (HR), professional organisation/trade union representatives and Occupational Health (OH) to ensure the appropriate support is provided in promoting the health and wellbeing of employees. 2. Objectives and scope of policy 2.1 This policy is designed to: provide a fair and consistent method of managing absence identify roles and responsibilities assist managers in effectively identifying concerns relating to attendance and providing a framework for advice and support in ensuring high attendance in the workplace and preventing avoidable termination of contracts due to ill health by formally considering at an early stage rehabilitation, phased returns from absence and redeployment ensure that every attempt is made to explore the nature of the staff member s illness and ability to perform in his/her post via Occupational Health Services and to provide support, training, assistance, work adjustments and advice where appropriate give staff in the case of short term absences, the opportunity to improve their attendance and enable them to carry out the duties of the job, providing a means for them to be formally advised of the effects and possible contractual consequence of their continued absence. ensure that a reasonable balance is found between considering a staff member s welfare and the efficiency and quality of service provided by the Trust. 2.2 This procedure covers all staff employed by the Trust, however, it is important that for medical staff, reference should also be made to the Maintaining Professional Standards in the Modern NHS document (Department of Health, 17/02/05). 3

4 3. Roles and responsibilities 3.1 Employee i) Staff are appointed to their jobs on the basis that they will maintain a level of attendance which will enable them to carry out their duties and responsibilities effectively. Excessive absence will mean that this cannot occur, and results in having a detrimental effect on service delivery. ii) Employees have a duty to: comply with statutory requirements and Trust guidance, policies and procedures to ensure a healthy and safe environment report any major change in their health, which may affect their ability to undertake their duties effectively to enable the Trust to make reasonable adjustments where appropriate, as specified under the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) comply with Trust procedures, notification of absence and provision of certification arrangements (see appendix 1) report to his/her manager to arrange a return to work meeting after every episode of absence engage in meetings as requested when his/her level of attendance has become a concern to help managers manage absence and explore options for return to work where applicable attend the Occupational Health department if reasonably requested by the manager keep in regular contact with their immediate manager, while they are absent due to illness, even if a no pay situation has been reached not undertake any activity that could compromise their return to work 3.2 Manager i) Managers should endeavour to develop a relationship with their staff which allows for open discussion and support to take reasonable steps to ensure that employees work in a supportive, healthy and safe environment. ii) Managers have a duty to: carry out their management responsibilities effectively support staff development and requests for flexible working as appropriate encourage staff to make full and effective use of welfare and counselling services provided by the Trust. maintain sickness absence records, sending appropriate forms to Human Resources and Payroll (see appendix 1) monitor sickness absence records and take action as appropriate ensure that pre-employment Occupation Health clearance has been received before new employees commence work ensure that the sickness absence policy, certification and local reporting guidelines are discussed as part of an employee s induction arrange an informal return-to-work meeting with employees on their return from each period of sick leave seek advice from Human Resources and refer staff to Occupational Health if an employee has levels of sickness absence which cause concern ensure compliance with the Disability Discrimination Act (1995) (see section 11). 4

5 3.3 Human Resources (HR) The role of HR is to: i) provide specialist information, support and advice to managers on managing sickness absence ii) advise members of staff on issues relating to this policy such as procedures and sick pay entitlements iii) attend any formal meetings held in accordance with this policy 3.4 Employee representative i) Staff have the right to be represented by a professional organisation or trade union representative, work colleague or friend from with in the organisation (not acting in an official or legal capacity) ii) The Trust positively encourages the involvement of the representative as he/she will be able to advise and support the individual. 3.5 Occupational Health (OH) i) The role of Occupational Health is to give impartial advice to managers and staff about issues such as an employee s fitness for work at the present or in the future, treatment, adjustments to the work, work patterns or work environment, redeployment, rehabilitation, phased return and ill-health retirement. The Occupational Health Service is responsible for obtaining further information from an employee s Specialist Medical Adviser or General Practitioner, when necessary, with the employee s consent. In circumstances where there is a conflict of medical advice, it is the Trust s policy to accept the opinion of the Occupational Health Department. In extreme cases, there may be a need to consult an independent third party for a medical view. ii) Employees who have concerns about their health in relation to their work or working environment, can seek confidential advice from Occupational Health. No report will be sent to managers unless there are extenuating circumstances regarding health and safety aspects. If it is necessary to send a report, the Occupational Health Department will fully discuss the situation with the individual and seek his/her consent as appropriate. iii) Managers can refer staff to Occupational Health ensuring that both OH and the employee are fully aware of the reason for referral prior to the OH appointment. The OH advice given will not contain confidential medical information unless it is essential in connection with the employee s work or in connection with patient safety. Employees will be given copies or sight of any formal reports sent to managers. 3.6 Confidentiality Information shared during the process to manage the sickness absence will be provided on a need to know basis, and managers and employees are responsible for maintaining the confidentiality of information associated with the case. Any breach of confidentiality may be investigated under the Trust s Disciplinary Procedure. 5

6 4. Sick Pay 4.1 Employees absent from work owing to illness will be entitled, subject to the conditions of this agreement, to receive sick pay in accordance with the scale below (see Section 12 of NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook for provisions governing reckonable service): during the first year of service one month s full pay and two months half pay during the second year of service two months full pay and two months half pay during the third year of service four months full pay and four months half pay during the fourth and fifth years of service five months full pay and five months half pay after completing five years of service six months full pay and six months half pay. The definition of full pay will include regularly paid supplements, including any recruitment and retention premia, payments for work outside normal hours and high cost area supplements. Sick pay is calculated on the basis of what the individual would have received had he/she been at work. This would be based on the previous three months at work or any other reference period that may be locally agreed. Local partnerships can use virtual rotas showing what hours the employee would have worked in a reference period had he or she been at work. 4.2 Managers, in conjunction with HR advice, will have the discretion to extend the period of sick pay on full or half pay beyond the above scale: - where there is the expectation of return to work in the short term and an extension would materially support a return and or assist recovery. Particular consideration should be given to those staff without full sick pay entitlements. - in any other circumstance that the employer deems reasonable 4.3 Individuals are generally entitled to Statutory Sick Pay and depending on length of service, Occupational Sick Pay, provided that they comply with the Trust s notification and certification requirements. Where a disease or injury has occurred at work, which is not due to an individual s own negligence, they may also be entitled to Temporary Injury Allowance in accordance with the NHS Injury Benefit Scheme regulations. 4.4 Payments may be withheld, terminated, suspended or reduced if an employee fails to notify the Trust of relevant facts with regards to the nature and cause of their absence. Advice from HR will be taken with regards to this. 4.5 Sick pay entitlement periods will not prevent the Trust from exercising its right to terminate an employee s employment before the contractual sick leave period has been exhausted. However, such action will only be taken after investigation, discussion and careful consideration. 4.6 Further information on the NHS sick pay entitlement can be found in the NHS Terms and Conditions of Service handbook (section 14). 4.7 Payment of NHS Temporary Injury Allowance for workplace injuries or disease will paid in be in accordance with the NHS Injury Benefit Scheme regulations. 6

7 5. Compliance with notification / certification / provision of medical information requirements 5.1 If an employee fails to comply with the Trust s notification or certification procedures (see appendix 1), this may result in the absence being regarded as unauthorised and therefore unpaid. Such breaches of procedure will be dealt with under the Trust s Disciplinary Procedure. 5.2 Staff are contractually obliged to attend occupational health and follow advice given at any time if required. If a member of staff does not co-operate in assisting the Trust to establish his/her true medical position, they should be told that a decision may have to be made regarding their continued employment on the basis of the information otherwise available. A refusal to attend Occupational Health for assessment may also be regarded as failure to carry out a reasonable instruction, which may result in disciplinary action. 6. Working during sickness absence 6.1 If it is established that the employee whilst on sick leave, has worked bank or continued or commenced work with another employer without the Trust s prior agreement, the situation will be dealt with under the Trust s Disciplinary Procedure and may lead to termination of employment with the Trust. 6.2 However, in the case of a part-time worker who works for another employer and can demonstrate that their condition does not restrict them from working in that other post, permission should be sought from the Human Resources Department to continue working for the other employer. Should there be a dispute over whether the condition does allow the employee to continue to work in the other post, the employee will be referred to OH for a final decision. 7. Short-term sickness absence 7.1 All staff returning to work after any period of sickness absence will have an informal return to work interview with their immediate line manager or supervisor. The meeting should take place as soon as possible (preferably on the day of return to work) and should take place privately and confidentially. If appropriate, this should be followed up in the regular one to one meetings. 7.2 The return to work meeting is an opportunity for the manager and employee to discuss the employee s absence reasons, likelihood of re-occurrence and if feasible, any steps that can be taken to prevent the sickness occurring again. It should also be an opportunity to discuss whether an Occupational Health referral would be beneficial, offer support as appropriate, update them on events in their absence and to generally welcome them back to work. 7.3 Managers should encourage staff to make full and effective use of Occupational Health service and respond sympathetically to an employee s request of maintaining a work/life balance. 7.4 In order for the manager to effectively manage sickness absence, absence data should be regularly reviewed and appropriate action taken when the following triggers appear, irrespective of whether the periods of absence are covered by certificates: 7

8 a) Five spells of un-certificated, self-certificated or certified absence in a rolling three month period b) Seven or more spells of un-certificated, self-certificated or certified absence in any twelve-month period, (rolling average) c) Where a combination of odd days, longer periods and patterns of absence exist which cause concern. 7.5 Procedure for managing short-term sickness absence I) Informal Stage: 1 i) Where an employee s absence record gives cause for concern, the manager should discuss with them and arrange an appointment for them with Occupational Health. ii) Once the OH physician s report has been received, the manager should discuss the matter further with the member of staff. The meeting should: establish the reasons for the absences offer any relevant support, assistance, training, development or work adjustments explain the impact of their absence on the provision of the service iii) Depending on the circumstances: it may not be necessary to take further action an improvement agreement is made. In this case the employee should be verbally warned that if an improvement is not made in line with the agreement, that formal action may be taken against them. This verbal warning should be followed by a letter to the employee to document the conversation. The letter should be kept on their staff file for six months. This is part of ongoing Absence Management and is not considered formal action, as such no right of representation or appeal is necessary. it may be necessary to proceed to the formal stages of the procedure II) Formal Stages: 2-4 General notes (it is important that this General section be read in conjunction with stages 2-4 outlined below) i) The manager should seek the advice of Human Resources before formal interviews are arranged and HR should always be present at such meetings. ii) Staff should be reminded, in writing, in advance of any formal meeting, of their right to be represented by their trade union or professional organisation representative, colleague or friend (not acting in an official or legal capacity). They should be provided with at least 5 working days notice of any such meeting. iii) The following areas should be discussed at formal meetings as appropriate: the employee s overall health, the reasons for the continuing absences and previous discussions the Occupational Health report (if available) and the arrangement of further appointments if necessary relevant support, assistance, training, development or work adjustments requirements 8

9 the impact of their absence on the provision of the service and possible consequences of continuing absence (move to the next stage of procedure and ultimately could end in dismissal due to capability) expected improvements in attendance at work iv) Where there is concern over the level of persistent short-term absenteeism, employees may be asked to provide a certificate confirming incapacity to cover every day of absence, guidance should be sought from HR before doing so. The cost of this will be reimbursed to employee as part of the agreement. v) The manager should confirm the outcome of formal meetings in writing to the member of staff and retain a copy on the personal file. Copies should also be sent to Human Resources and the employee s representative. This should be undertaken within 10 working days of the formal meeting. Stage 2 (important read in conjunction with formal stages General notes above) i) Following discussion at stage 1, if there is no significant improvement in attendance levels in line with the improvement agreement, a formal interview will take place at which the member of staff will be informed that his/her level of absence is not acceptable and that it will be monitored over a specified period (between two to three months). ii) The interview will be held by the person s line manager with HR support. The employee has the right to represented by their trade union or professional organisation, or a work colleague of friend (not acting in an official or legal capacity) iii) the employee should be advised that if there is not a significant improvement over the specified period it may be necessary to proceed to stage 3 of the procedure and could ultimately result in his/her dismissal. The employee will be written to explaining the required improvement and specific timescales. This constitutes a First Formal Warning. As formal action, the employee may appeal this decision by following the appeals procedure in the HR003 Disciplinary procedure. iv) A further appointment with Occupational Health should be arranged if appropriate. v) At the end of the monitoring period, a formal review interview will take place with those present at first meeting. If the required improvement has been achieved no further action will be taken. However, if attendance deteriorates again during the 6 months following the end of the review period, the procedure may be reactivated at the stage last reached. Where there has been some improvement in attendance, but the level of absence is still unsatisfactory, it may be appropriate to repeat stage 2 of the procedure without proceeding automatically to the next stage. Stage 3 (important read in conjunction with formal stages General notes above) i) If however, no significant improvement has been achieved in line with the improvement agreement, the member of staff should be informed at the formal review interview that his/her level of absence is still not acceptable and that the case will be referred to a senior manager review interview. ii) The senior manager review interview will be held by a senior manager wish authority to dismiss, with HR support. The line manager, with HR support and the 9

10 Employee will attend the interview and present what has happened to date. The employee has the right to represented by their trade union or professional organisation, or a work colleague of friend (not acting in an official or legal capacity). iii) If the senior manager is in agreement that there is no significant improvement, the absence will be monitored for a further specified period (between two to three months). The employee will be written to explaining the required improvement and specific timescales. This constitutes a Final Written Warning. As formal action, the employee may appeal this decision by following the appeals procedure in the HR003 Disciplinary procedure. ii) The employee should be advised that if there is not a significant improvement over this period, it may be necessary to proceed to Stage 4 of the procedure, which might result in the termination of their employment contract on the grounds of capability. iii) A further appointment with Occupational Health should be arranged. iv) At the end of the monitoring period, the employee will be called to a senior manager review interview. If the required improvement has been achieved no further formal monitoring will be required. However, if attendance deteriorates again during the 6 months following the end of the review period, the procedure may be reactivated at the stage last reached. Where there has been some improvement in attendance but the level of absence is still unsatisfactory, it may be appropriate to repeat stage 3 of the procedure without proceeding automatically to the next stage. Stage 4 - Dismissal (important read in conjunction with formal stages General notes above and termination of employment section of this document) i) At the senior manager review meeting a statement of case providing a summary of the absence records and details of previous meetings should be provided by the line manager. The employee should be allowed to explain their absence record and make representations. ii. Depending on the discussions of the meeting, the manager may: - take no further action, however make recommendations - make the decision to dismiss the member of staff on the grounds of capability where investigation has indicated some underlying medical condition, or misconduct due to a poor attendance record, where no medical explanation has been identified. 8. Long-term Sickness Absence 8.1 Long-term sickness absence can be defined as a situation where the employee is absent for a prolonged period of absence due to sickness exceeding 4 calendar weeks or recurrent periods of absence due to a serious health problem. 8.2 Employees must be treated with empathy and understanding with regard to individual circumstances and managers must involve the HR Department at the earliest possible opportunity so that appropriate advice and support can be obtained. 8.3 The following interventions should be considered at the latest within 4 weeks of the employee going sick: Occupational Health support and advice; rehabilitation; 10

11 phased return; redeployment and review and decision dates linked to the employee s sick pay entitlements. 8.4 It is of vital importance that if employees are absent from work for a prolonged period the manager keeps in regular contact with the employee. The frequency should be agreed between the manager and the employee. It is important that the employee is given the opportunity to receive regular newsletters, service or team updates and that the employee keeps the manager informed of progress. 8.5 After a maximum of 4 weeks, the manager should consult the employee and arrange an Occupational Health appointment and then formally arrange to meet with the individual and HR to discuss the situation. In the event that the employee is too ill to attend this meeting, the manager could write to obtain the information or offer to visit the home of the employee. During the meeting the following should be discussed: the Occupational Health report the broad nature of the medical condition, whilst respecting confidentiality at all times the support and/or assistance which can be offered by the PCT whether or not the incapacity is work related if a return to work can be expected with or without a rehabilitation plan Staff have the right to be represented by their trade union or professional organisation representative, work colleague or friend from with the organisation (not acting in an official or legal capacity) and should be reminded of this right in advance of each meeting. 8.6 Further meetings with the employee should take place at appropriate intervals, depending on the nature of the illness and medical advice, with HR attendance and the offer of representation, as outlined above. 8.7 In managing long-term sickness absence, the manager should consider: the needs of the individual and the service the length of time the employee is likely to be absent the nature of the employee s job and work environment reasonable adjustments that could be made to the work, work patterns or working environment whether training or development is required OH advice and recommendations 8.8 In complex cases in which it would benefit if all parties concerned were involved in general discussion as to how to progress the situation; a case conference should be arranged by the manager, involving him/herself, the employee and his/her representative, Human Resources and an Occupational Health representative/medical adviser. 8.9 In the event that the medical advice recommends that the employee is incapable of returning to work in the foreseeable future, or is permanently incapable of undertaking any work, or suitable alternative employment cannot be found, a meeting should be arranged to discuss the medical report and its implications. The employee should be advised of the likelihood of termination of his/her employment, including if applicable, the option of ill-health retirement. 11

12 8.10 The discussions at and outcome of meetings should be recorded and provided in writing to the employee and his/her representative, with a copy being sent to Human Resources. 9. Rehabilitation/phased return 9.1 The Trust recognises that it is sometimes beneficial to employees returning from a Period of sick leave, to initially return under a programme of rehabilitation, or a partial and gradual return to full contractual hours and duties. During the rehabilitation period employers should allow employees to return to work on reduced hours. Any such arrangements need to be consistent with statutory sick pay rules. 9.2 Where the individual returns to work for a period of 6 hours per week or less, they will continue to be regarded as off sick and will be requested to continue to provide medical certification. Where this is the case, Occupational Health, with the permission from the employee, will liaise with the individual s GP to keep them informed of the situation. 9.3 Upon the recommendation of Occupational Health, the Trust will support individuals during rehabilitation periods or on phased return programmes (those working more than 6 hours per week), for a maximum of 8 weeks on full pay - with employees normally, working up to a full return to contractual hours and duties at the end of this period. If the rehabilitation period required for a complete return to work exceeds this 8 week period, employees will be paid for the hours that they work or their sick pay entitlement, whichever is the greater. Rehabilitation programmes will normally be limited to one programme in any 12 month period. These timescales may be extended dependant on the case. 9.4 A return to work plan should be agreed by the employee and the line manager, and any other staff likely to be affected. The plan needs to include: a. the goals, the modified working pattern or job role b. the time period c. a statement about the new working arrangements d. the checks that will need to be made to make sure the plan is put into practice e. the dates when the plan will be reviewed by the employee and the line manager. 9.6 During the rehabilitation period, any time off needed to attend medical appointments, should be arranged during non-working hours/days, where possible. 9.7 At the end of the rehabilitation/phased period, the employee will be expected to return to his/her full contractual hours and duties. However, if this is not possible, then other options should be explored following advice from OH. 10. Redeployment 10.1 After assessment, the Occupational Health Department may recommend that the staff member seek reasonable alternative employment. 12

13 10.2 Employees will be considered for suitable redeployment opportunities for a period of 8 weeks although in exceptional circumstances this may be extended. Where an employee unreasonably refuses to undertake suitable alternative employment they may forfeit their right to sick pay Vacancies which may be suitable will be ring-fenced and the individual should meet with managers of the identified posts to establish if the individual meets all the essential criteria or if not, whether or not further training could be undertaken. An Occupational Health assessment will need to be carried out to confirm that the individual is fit to undertake the new post. Suitability will be assessed against status, duties, location, salary. In most cases the band will the same. Where an employee elects to apply for a lower banded post, ring fence will apply, but salary will not be protected. In cases of higher banded roles, the post may be open for competition. HR Advice should be taken at all times If this is successful, the employee will be given a four week trial period in the new post, with clear mutually agreed objectives defined at the outset by the new manager. This trial period may be terminated if there is an episode of sickness absence for the same reason as that which led to the redeployment period If the trial period is successful, both in terms of attendance and performance, the employee will be formally redeployed to the new post (lower graded posts will not be salary protected) If the initial trial period is unsuccessful, a further period of 4 weeks when redeployment will be sought will be entered. No more than 2 trial periods will be considered If appropriate, step down and wind down arrangements may be considered under the provisions of the NHS Pension Scheme If redeployment attempts are unsuccessful, proceedings will be initiated to review the employee s contract of employment on grounds of capability In some cases medical suspension may be applied while suitable redeployment opportunities are sought. A risk assessment will be undertaken to assess the need for suspension. This will be undertaken jointly with the employee and/or their representative. It is usual that medical suspension will be in full pay. 11. Disability Discrimination Act (1995) & Disability Discrimination (Amendment) Act (2005) 11.1 The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 makes it unlawful for an employer to treat a disabled person less favourably because of a reason relating to their disability, when applying for or during employment without a justifiable reason. Disability is defined under the Act as a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on a person's ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. In April 2005 the Act was amended, and extended the definition of disability to include HIV, Multiple Sclerosis and cancer, where they have a significant effect on an individual s life. There was also a change in the classification for mental illness, which now no longer needs to be clinically well recognised to be classed as an impairment. 13

14 11.2 Employers must make a reasonable adjustment to working conditions or the workplace where that would help to accommodate a particular disabled person. The types of adjustments that employers might be required to consider include: making physical adjustments to the workplace allocating some of the disabled person s duties to another person transferring the disabled person to another vacant post, with or without reasonable adjustments being made altering the disabled person s working hours through, for example, part-time working, job sharing or other flexible hours arrangements providing training or special equipment to assist the disabled person to perform his or her tasks. Advice on adjustments and in some circumstances funding may be sought from external agencies 11.3 Employees with disabilities requiring to attend regular hospital or therapeutic appointments in connection with their disability will not required to take this time as sick leave or annual leave. 12. Termination of employment/ ill-health retirement 12.1 Where there is OH recommendation and mutual agreement, early retirement, in accordance with the provisions of the NHS Pension Scheme, should be considered. Under arrangements which came into force on 1 April 2008, there will be tiered arrangements for the determination of ill-health retirement benefits, recognising that the different levels of benefits for members should be dependent on the severity of their condition and the likelihood of them being able to work again. The minimum qualifying service for ill health retirement will remain at 2 years In circumstances where the employee is not eligible or accepted for ill-health retirement, they need to be advised that they may be dismissed on the grounds of capability due to ill-health A decision to dismiss an employee on the grounds of ill-health should not be made until all other courses of action have been exhausted and the manager has fully considered: the employee s full sickness absence record (nature, length, frequency) the prospect of returning to work (or in the case of short-term absence, the likelihood of the continuation of sickness absence episodes) Occupational Health or other medical reports and advice the effect of the absence on the service and other employees opportunities for redeployment, retraining or suitable work adjustments if appropriate the employee s personal assessment in the ultimate decision outcomes of previous meetings and consultation with the employee including informing them of the possibility of termination of their contract of employment 12.4 The decision to terminate the contract may only be taken by a dismissing officer at a formal meeting where the situation is examined thoroughly and all options fully considered. An HR representative must be present and the employee has the right to be represented. 14

15 12.5 If the employee s contract of employment is terminated, he/she will be entitled to payment in lieu of their contractual notice period or statutory notice period (whichever is greater). The employee should also be advised on their pension and any other benefits to which they are entitled Following any formal hearing, a letter should be sent to the employee by the hearing manager, informing them of the outcome of the hearing and their right of appeal. 13. Appeals Procedure Staff dismissed under this procedure have the same rights of appeal as those dismissed for performance or conduct reasons 14. Further guidance/ training on the management of sickness absence Further guidance on the application of this policy is available from the Human Resources Department or professional organisation or trade union representative. All managers who have responsibility for staff, should attend appropriate courses relating to managing attendance organised by the PCT s Training & Education Department. The following websites: and 15

16 Sample notification procedure APPENDIX 1 1. Notification of sickness absence 1.1 Should an employee be too ill to come to work, they should telephone their Line manager. The timescale for reporting their absence should be in line with the local procedure communicated to the employee at induction. This is normally at least four hours prior to the commencement of the shift or within the first hour if office hours apply. They should explain: the reason for being unable to come to work indicate anticipated length of absence what actions they are taking to mitigate the illness what elements of work need to be addressed by colleagues during sickness absence indicate whether or not it is the result of an accident at work 1.2 Only in exceptional circumstances should a family member or friend telephone the manager. It is not acceptable to text, or to pass information relating to sickness absence 1.3 Employees who have reported for work but then need to leave work due to becoming unwell must speak to their immediate manager, or if not present, the most suitable manager in that department, prior to leaving the workplace. This applies for any absence of 2 hours or more. 1.3 An employee should contact their line manager on a regular basis to keep them updated on progress on their return to work date. Reasonable arrangements for regular contact can be made between the employee and line manager as more details of the reasons for the absence and likely duration become clear. 1.4 If an employee who fails to comply with the Trust s notification procedures, this may result in the absence being regarded as unauthorised and therefore unpaid. Breaches of the procedures for the notification of sickness absence may result in disciplinary action. 2. Certification 2.1 Staff are contractually obliged to provide certification as follows for periods of absence due to sickness: self-certificate to cover absence of between 4 and 7 calendar days (to be completed on the employee s return to duty) medical certificate to cover sickness absence of more than 7 calendar days. If sickness is continuous, medical certificates must run consecutively as payment cannot be made for days not covered by a certificate. 2.2 When there is concern over the level of persistent short-term absenteeism, employees may be asked to provide a certificate confirming incapacity to cover every day of absence. Human Resources advice must be sought prior to taking this action. 2.3 If the employee wishes to return to work prior to the expiry of a medical certificate, a medical certificate confirming fitness to return to full duties will be required prior a return to duty. 16

17 3. Sickness absences during annual leave 3.1 When an employee falls sick during annual leave they must notify their manager as soon as is reasonably practicable and must produce a medical certificate to confirm their incapacity. A self-certificate is not acceptable in these circumstances. If the employee is abroad and cannot obtain the normal type of medical certificate a statement must be obtained from a qualified medical practitioner and suitably endorsed to enable occupational sick pay to be paid. 3.2 Provided that the correct notification and certification is received as soon as possible, occupational sick pay will be paid and the annual leave affected reinstated. 4. Holiday during long-term sickness absences 4.1 In exceptional cases the employee s medical advisor may recommend a holiday to aid recovery or confirm that an employee is fit to take a pre-paid holiday (although unfit to attend work). The Trust will accept this recommendation if supported by a statement from the employee s medical advisor in advance of the holiday. 4.2 In such circumstances, they must request permission in writing to the manager, at least 14 days prior to the holiday and if permitted, this absence will continue to be treated as sickness absence and the annual leave entitlement will remain unaffected. Failure to gain the permission of the Trust prior to taking such a holiday will render the employee subject to investigation under the disciplinary procedure. 5. Accrued annual leave during long-term sickness absence 5.1 Entitlement to annual leave under the employee s Contract of Employment will accrue during any period of paid sick leave (where the employee is in receipt of full/half pay). 5.2 When the employee returns to work in a new holiday year i.e. after 1 April, they will only be allowed to carry over five working days (or pro rata for part time staff) of accrued annual leave entitlement from the previous year. 6. Overtime following a period of sickness absence 6.1 Where an employee has been absent due to sickness during a particular week, it is recommended that the employee does not participate in overtime or bank for the remainder of that working week. 7. Medical and dental appointments 7.1 In order to cause minimum disruption to the service, employees, whether full or part-time, are asked to book hospital/doctor/dental and other related appointments in their own time, giving as much notice as possible if time off work is required. 7.2 Where this is not possible, employees are required to book appointments either at the start or end of their normal shift. Where this is not possible, especially in relation to hospital appointments or emergency dental treatments, reasonable time off will be given following discussion with the line manager. Appointments cards / confirmation of an appointment must support any requests for time off during the working day. 17

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