Managing Sickness Absence by VF5d6e2I

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									   SECTION 7



Managing Sickness
    Absence
                             Managing Sickness Absence
7.1
Where can I find detailed guidance on managing sickness absence?

7.1.1
Comprehensive guidelines for managers on managing sickness absence were distributed in March 2000 and
you can find them on the School’s intranet:

http://intranet/business/documents/HTMFiles/sicknessmgrs.shtml


7.1.2
If you do not have easy access to the intranet, and cannot find the hard copy in your Unit, you can contact
Personnel who will provide you with a copy.


7.1.3
Section 10 of this strategy contains a poster which sets out for you a step by step guide to improving
attendance and managing absence.


7.1.4
However, set out overleaf is a checklist which highlights the main points to consider:
7.2
Action checklist for Manager’s Sickness Absence

                             Action                                         Timescale          Done

All employees aware of notification procedure if they are absent   Induction Check at annual
from work                                                          performance
                                                                   management review
                                                                                                √

When employee notifies sickness, complete absence                  First day of absence
management form (see guidance notes in 6.1.2).                     Fourth day of return         √
If employee returns to work, undertake Return to Work Interview    Day 1 of return
and monitor attendance.                                                                         √
Maintain contact with the absent employee, either by phone or      Weekly
home visit.                                                                                     √
Contact Personnel and discuss the absence. Unless the              Week 4 – 6
absence has a defined date for return, eg surgery, agree a visit
to the employee to discuss referral to Employee Healthcare
                                                                                                √
Unit.

Work with Personnel to ensure that relevant and full information   Week 6 - 8
is forwarded to the Healthcare Unit including absence history,
current diagnosis, treatment details, disability issues, other
                                                                                                √
issues raised with employee, eg performance, alcohol, drugs
and more importantly, nature of duties of the post.

Note appointment date for Employee Healthcare and consider         Week 14 – 16
response from Occupational Health Nurse or Physician.              (timescales to be reduced
                                                                   subject to staffing
                                                                                                √
                                                                   increase)

Discuss medical recommendation with employee but seek              Week 13 - 15
advice from Personnel and senior manager as appropriate, eg
continuing absence, redeployment.
                                                                                                √

If absence continues without clear forecast, consider further      Week 18 onwards
Formal Absence Management Interview to agree appropriate
way forward, eg redeployment, ill health retirement, termination
                                                                                                √
or predicted timescale for return.
7.3
Why do I have to undertake a Return to Work Interview as
soon as my employee comes back to work?

7.3.1
Research suggests that having a brief discussion with the employee on their Return to Work
Can be a crucial step in improving attendance.

It   lets the employee know they have been missed

It   makes it clear that you are genuinely interested in their health and well being

It   shows them you are monitoring attendance

It   also makes it clear that their absence has made a difference to workflow and productivity

It   gives you the opportunity to let them know you are pleased to have them back

It provides an informal chance to find out if there are any issues that may be having an impact on
    your employee’s health and to identify ways of offering support and of avoiding further absence.


7.4
If my employee stays off sick, when should I refer them to the Employee
Healthcare Unit (EHU)?

7.4.1
First of all, it helps if you are clear about what you want from the Employee Healthcare Unit. If you know what
the matter is with your employee and also know when they are coming back to work e.g. broken leg – 6
weeks, then there may not be much to gain from a referral.


7.4.2
However, if there is some uncertainty about the nature and impact of the illness or of when they might be
getting back to work, a referral can be very useful to help you make your management decisions.


7.4.3
Some managers have expressed concern about the length of time it takes to get an employee referred to the
Employee Healthcare Unit. This is being addressed through an analysis of the resourcing of the Unit.


7.4.4
However, you can help to avoid delays by asking Personnel to flag up the need for a referral interview early
on in the process of managing the employee’s absence. Between weeks 4 - 6 of an employee’s sickness
absence, you should be planning to see your employee, either through a home visit with
Personnel or if possible, by getting the employee to come and see you, either in the office or at an alternative,
neutral place. This will depend on the nature of their illness.
7.4.5
At this stage, you should be fairly clear whether or not a referral to the EHU may be necessary. It may be
possible to make a provisional medical appointment for your employee at the EHU prior to the home visit if
specific information is already available. You should contact the EHU directly to discuss the booking. If the
home visit produces information which indicates that the medical opinion may not be necessary, then you
must ensure that it is cancelled.


7.4.6
As described in the Action Checklist in section 7.2, it is crucial to prepare effectively before referring an
employee to the Employee Healthcare Unit to see the Occupational Nurse or Physician.


7.4.7
If you are clear about the reason for referral and the issues you want addressing, it is much more likely that
you will get a clear response back. Appointments will not work unless the referral documentation is complete
and so it is advisable to spend time making sure that all the details have been recorded and complete the
Head’s referral form (Appendix N).


7.4.8
Remember, the Occupational Nurse or Physician will not address with your employee any issues that you
have not already addressed with the employee first. For example, if you think your employee’s frequent short
term absences may be related to an alcohol or drugs problem, you need to explore this with the employee
before referral. You cannot expect Employee Healthcare staff to do this for you. They will pursue it in greater
depth however, if you have already explained your concerns to the employee.


7.4.9
Personnel will complete a referral form on your behalf. They will be able to provide a full absence history for
the employee to pass on to the Employee Healthcare Unit. You will need to work with Personnel to record
everything you know about what is wrong with the employee and how it has been treated so far. If the
employee is disabled, then details of discussions and actions taken regarding reasonable adjustments should
be included. You will also need to submit a Head Teacher’s report form.


7.4.10
If you have any other concerns that you have brought to the employee’s attention such as performance,
alcohol, drugs or any other concerns, the EHU should be aware of such as disciplinary action or a Dignity at
Work case. These should be identified in the referral.


7.4.11
Personnel will also ask you to describe ‘A day in the life of’ your employee. This will enable the Occupational
Nurse or Physician to get a clear understanding of the type of work the employee does, the environment in
which s/he works and the kinds of pressures and risks that may be impacting on their health.
7.4.12
You should agree some specific questions for the EHU with Personnel. For example:

Given  the symptoms, treatment, etc (7.4.9 and 7.4.10), do you think the employee will be fit to return and
    undertake the duties of the post?

In your opinion is the employee likely to be disabled within the meaning of the Disability
    Discrimination Act?

What adjustments would you suggest that Management might consider for this employee?

Can you cover the work for the post for the next 6 weeks but after that the disruption will be     acute; in your
    opinion, is the employee likely to return by then? If not, when do you anticipate their return?

Should the employee be considered for medical redeployment? If so, can you explain why?

 If you are recommending medical redeployment, what should be avoided when seeking suitable
    alternative employment and would you recommend any reasonable adjustments for the employee in a
    new post?

Ifthe employee is considered permanently incapable of carrying out the duties of their
    post/comparable employment, would they be eligible for ill-health retirement?


7.4.13
Keep the questions you want answering and information you send to the EHU factual and evidence based.
Bear in mind that anything you write could be accessed by the employee at a future date.


7.4.14
Once the referral has been made and the appointment date confirmed, the Employee Healthcare Unit will
write to the employee to explain about the appointment. You may also want to check with the employee if s/he
has any questions about the arrangement.


7.4.15
Following the appointment, you will receive a response from the EHU and answers to your questions .You
should discuss the letter with Personnel and agree any actions. If you need any clarification, you can speak to
the Occupational Nurse or Physician or the EHU Manager, or you could have a round table discussion with
Personnel and the EHU colleagues.


7.4.16
Your employee will also receive a copy of the letter and you should communicate your plan of action as soon
as possible. It is also important to feedback to the Employee Healthcare Unit what action you plan to take
before any follow up assessment.
7.5 Case Studies
Case Study 1
Case Study 1
ase Study 1

An employee has been referred to the Employee Healthcare Unit and has been diagnosed with an upper limb
disorder (Repetitive Strain Injury). This condition is preventing him from carrying out a substantial part of his
job. The employee has gone to see his GP and has been advised that there is a 5 month wait to see a
consultant. The manager talked to the Employee Healthcare Unit manager and agreed that a referral to a
private consultant would be cost effective in getting the employee back to work quickly.
Case Study 2
 Case Study 2




A teacher is told that he will be subject to a disciplinary investigation for activities related to a private
business he is engaged in outside his school work. When approached by the Head about the impact this is
having on school he goes off sick. The teacher speaks to another colleague when he reports in sick and
avoids talking directly to the manager.

The employee phones the colleague again on Day 4, and on Day 7 a medical certificate arrives signing the
employee off for 7 days with ‘work related stress’.

The Head speaks to Personnel and agrees that the disciplinary investigation should start. An investigating
officer is commissioned. At the same time, a referral is made to Employee
Healthcare to clarify the following points:

 if the teacher is fit to work

explains his concern about the   delay in the disciplinary hearing, he notes that the case will probably be
    having a significant impact on the reported stress and that it is unlikely that there will be an improvement
    until the matter is sorted out

seeks clarification on setting a reasonable hearing date, and

whether the teacher will be fit enough to attend a disciplinary hearing, or

 if not, whether the employee is fit enough to brief a representative or to   produce a written
    submission for the disciplinary hearing.

The Head then identifies another officer to take on the welfare role as part of the sickness absence
management procedure. She then phones the employee and makes it clear that she wants to discuss
sickness absence. She seeks to establish what support can be given and tries to identify what effect the
disciplinary case is having on the employee’s health. A referral is made to the EHU.

The employee fails to turn up at the EHU appointment.


Further sick notes for 14 days are received and contact is maintained by the other officer. The Head then
decides to set a date for the disciplinary hearing and sends a letter to the
employee advising him of the date. Again the employee fails to attend. The Head re-sets a date and advises
by letter that the hearing will proceed without the employee unless a date can be agreed.
The teacher is advised that a written submission will be accepted in their absence.

The teacher does not respond and the welfare officer is unsuccessful in making contact.

The Head writes a further letter stating that in the absence of any contact, he understands that the employee
has resigned – repudiatory breach of contract.

Throughout the case, the manager keeps accurate records of every attempt to make contact; this will
demonstrate that he has acted reasonably throughout.


 Case Study 3



Case Study 3
An employee has been diagnosed with a cancer - related illness. The manager is advised that the treatment
is likely to take 5 months with a further period of recovery. However the prognosis is positive and the
employee hopes to return when fully recovered.

The manager supports the employee throughout the illness and the employee returns after 10 months
sickness absence.

Advice and support is given regarding support/phased return to work or appropriate reasonable adjustments.
7.6
What can I do to support an employee back to work after a prolonged period
of absence?

7.6.1
Research suggests that the longer an employee is away from work with sickness absence, the likelihood of
return diminishes proportionately.

  It suggests that:

  After 3 months, 25% of employees won’t return.
  After 6 months, 75% won’t return
  After 12 months, 99% won’t return irrespective of the illness




7.6.2
An important factor in supporting an employee to return speedily is keeping in touch. This can be done either
by phone or through home visits. You should always keep a note of any contact you have made.


7.6.3
Some employees like to be kept informed about what is happening at work. You should ask your employee if
s/he would like to be kept up to date; if so, you can talk about any developments and you can send out
current newsletters and team minutes. Some employees who are off sick long term may even want to come
into work for a team meeting on a voluntary basis. If this is arranged, the employee should sign the visitors’
book for insurance purposes.


7.6.4
Some employees don’t want to talk about work; this is most likely in stress related illnesses. That’s fine too.
Having established that work is not a topic, restrict your discussions to more personal matters. You will need
to check on progress and anticipated return dates though.


7.6.5
In some cases, there is a communication breakdown between the manager and the employee. This may arise
in stress related absence, particularly where an employee has gone off sick following a disciplinary issue
being raised, where a complaint under the Dignity at Work has been made or where a grievance has been
lodged.


7.6.6
If this situation arises, the employee or the employee’s partner may ask you not to contact them at home. If
this occurs, you should take the following action:
7.6.7

i.    Explain, either verbally or in writing that you need to keep in touch with the absent employee to plan the
      work normally covered by them and to make sure that appropriate support is in place to ensure a speedy
      recovery and return to work.

ii    If the employee or their partner still insists that you should not contact the employee, then offer a
      mutually acceptable alternative representative from the School. This could be another member of staff
      from your School (1st choice), your Personnel officer (2nd choice), or, if available, an Employee
      Healthcare representative (3rd choice).

iii   If this proposal is rejected, then you should insist on a representative chosen by the employee, e.g. a
      trade union representative or personal contact.


7.6.8
Do not accept ‘no’ for an answer. You must maintain contact in some form.

7.6.9
While the employee is off sick, you can offer a range of support to help them recover quickly. Support will vary
subject to the nature of the illness. These include:

Referral to the Employee Healthcare Unit (EHU)

Referral to the Heal scheme

Referral to CareFirst

Referral to Counselling

Private medical referral (see 7.6.10)

Personnel help in planning the return to work

 Mediator input in discussing fears and concerns      about returning to work (contact EHU or Personnel for
      an officer to help here).

7.6.10
Private Medical Referrals

If your employee has been off sick for some time and the reason for their absence is because s/he is waiting
for an appointment with the NHS, you may consider whether it is appropriate to refer and pay for them to
access Private Specialists/Consultants (Non NHS) for either:

1     An opinion
2     Investigations or Tests
3     Treatment

You should contact the Employee Healthcare Unit Manager in the first instance who will guide you through
the implications of such an arrangement including the impact on waiting times, information you can expect to
receive given the confidentiality rights for medical reports, the likely cost and any liability that could be
accrued.
7.6.11
Phased return arrangements

Some employees will benefit from having the opportunity to ease back into work on a structured phased
basis. This should be agreed if it is recommended by the Occupational Nurse or Physician or by the
employee’s G.P. and if it can be sustained by the manager and the team in terms of service delivery. If either
of these two criteria cannot be met, then the employee should remain off sick until fully recovered.


7.6.12
A phased return should be agreed for up to a maximum of 4 weeks. In the first instance, you should try to
arrange for the employee to come back part-time and then build up the hours slowly until a full return has
been achieved. If, in exceptional circumstances, it is considered that 4 weeks is insufficient time to manage a
successful return, extra time may be allowed, subject to recommendation by the Employee Healthcare Unit.
A phased return form should be completed and sent to the Personnel & Payroll Unit (Appendix O). A GP note
should be obtained to cover this period as the employee will be classed as ‘sick’ for the hours they do not
work.

7.6.13
Support on return:

During the early days of return, the employee should be closely supported. It is useful to go back to any
previous correspondence from the Employee Healthcare Unit to check advice given. Support from the
Employee Healthcare Unit may prevent a relapse. Monitor the workload of the employee and make sure that
they are coping. This is particularly important for employees who have been absent with stress related illness.
It may also be useful to talk to other members of the team to make them aware of the needs of the returning
employee and to ensure that support from colleagues is in place.


7.6.14
Teachers – supported Return:

The LEA recognises that for a teacher who has been medically suspended by reason of a psychiatric
disorder, it is a daunting prospect to contemplate, not only to enter school and return to work, but also to be
expected to take over their full teaching and work commitments from Day 1.

Such a situation could result in an unnecessarily extended period of sickness absence but more pertinently,
should the return prove to be too daunting and overpowering it may result in the teacher going off sick again
with the resultant disruption to children’s education, the teacher “back to square to one” and totally
demoralised as well as facing (probably) a further period of extended sick leave.

To help mitigate and minimise the disruption of the return to work under such circumstances the LEA is
prepared to “support” a school by permitting, subject to the approval of the Head and Governors (or the Head
only if they have “Delegated” powers from the Full Governing body) the relief/cover arrangements to remain
in place for the first two weeks of the return.
The supported return “model” takes the form of:

    For the first week of return to work the teacher may for the first 2/3 days come into work and maybe
     only work part-time, but re-familiarise with the work place and during the first week “get up to speed”
     with changes and developments, and to prepare for the return to the classroom situation.

    At the beginning of the second week the returning teacher will be with their class(es) in a supporting
     role to the Relief Teacher but there will be a reversal of roles during the week so that by the end of the
     second week the substantive teacher will be “in charge” of the class(es) and the relief in support.

    The Relief Teacher’s employment arrangements discontinue at the end of the second week and the
     substantive teacher has full and sole control from the commencement of the third week.

The Head and the returning teacher should meet, discuss and monitor the progress of the return to work as
part of the updating process and to resolve any problems which may become apparent.

Prior to any return to work as part of the rehabilitation process into work the teacher may request to come into
school with their Association Representative, friend or colleague if they so wish, to discuss issues associated
with their return. This can help clear any uncertainties and establish the platform for the return.

As a further step prior to, and to help with a return, the teacher may come into school on a “Social” basis to
meet colleagues.

This could go as far as to assist by, for example, helping with a pupil reading on a one to one basis. For this
to happen it would be a requirement for the teacher to obtain a brief letter from their GP indicating that such a
course of action would help with the teacher’s recovery. The GP’s letter is a necessity to cover for insurance
requirements. At no time should the teacher be in control of a class or group of pupils before full medical
clearance to return to work.

In the event of the teacher having been away for over 100 days and hence they are on half contractual pay for
the first week of their supported Return to Work they should continue to submit a GP’s sick note and they
would continue, for that week, to receive half contractual pay whilst they are able to be attending part-time (for
the first 2/3days), they are not back to full teaching duties and they are updating with changes and
developments. The reason for this is so that they would continue to be entitled to Incapacity Benefit Short
Term (lower or higher rate dependent on the length of the absence) from the Benefits Agency, in addition to
half salary.

The rational and condition for the LEA to offer the Supported Return arrangements to schools is that if:

    It enables a teacher to return to teaching earlier than otherwise would have been the case; and more
     particularly,

    It enables the teacher to cope with the return to work and REMAIN back at work.

   It has to be in the best interests of the school, the pupils and the teacher themselves.
The LEA undertakes to underwrite the costs of the supported return arrangements (for up to 10 days) by
ensuring no additional salary charges are made to schools in recognition and acceptance of the above.

7.6.15
Disability Discrimination Act:

Again, subject to the nature of the illness, it may be necessary to include in the Return to Work discussion a
full exploration of any newly acquired disability and the need for reasonable adjustments to the working
arrangements to ensure that the health of the employee is maintained.


7.7
Should I manage the sickness absence of a disabled employee differently?

7.7.1
In theory, the sickness absence of a disabled employee should be managed no differently to that of a non-
disabled employee. However, you must make sure that you have taken all the actions required under the
Disability Discrimination Act 1996 so that your disabled employee does not experience any less favourable
treatment than an able bodied employee.

7.7.2
Detailed advice is provided in the School’s Guidelines for Disability Awareness – Making Reasonable
Adjustments for Disabled Employees. You can find this on the intranet:

http://intranet/business/documents/HTMFiles/reasonable.shtml

7.7.3
To summarise however, you should make sure that the following steps are taken:

before    the new starter takes up the post - check if any reasonable adjustments are needed for the
    disabled employee to work effectively; this may include the recruitment of a Resourcer/ Support Worker.
    If it does, check the Guidelines on Disabled Employees, their Resourcer/Support Workers and their line
    managers

 during  induction - see if any new issues have arisen that may raise the need for reasonable
    adjustments

during  annual Performance Development Reviews (PDRs) - see if there any further issues that may need
    to be addressed; PDRs should also be used to identify any newly disabled members of the team and to
    consider reasonable adjustments for them

in   the event of sickness absence, the rules for reasonable adjustment leave apply (See section 6.1.3)
If they don’t, you should check to see if the absence is related to the employee’s disability. If it is, it
    should be recorded as such. This will enable you to monitor any problems the disabled employee is
    experiencing and may generate a detailed discussion in the Return to Work Interview regarding current
    working arrangements and the feasibility of further reasonable adjustments

Ifthe absence is not related to the employee’s disability, then normal sickness absence procedures
    apply. However, some illnesses may have a more acute impact on some disabled people than on able
    bodied people and this too should be explored in the Return to Work Interview

If sickness absence persists to the point of hitting the triggers discussed in section 6.4, it is reasonable
    for you to call a formal Sickness Absence Interview. You should make sure that you have all the notes
    you have gathered from the discussions described above and check that all
    reasonable adjustments have been made including reducing working hours if appropriate

If   no progress is made over an agreed monitoring period, then redeployment should be considered

Following in depth discussions with the Disability Rights Commission, advice has been given that where
    attendance becomes so poor that the delivery of the service is being jeopardised and all
    reasonable adjustments have been made, then a move to termination would not be a discriminatory act

7.8
Unravelling the procedures: capability/competency, discipline and
termination of employment due to sickness

7.8.1
Are you confused about which policy you should be using if you are concerned about your employee’s poor
attendance? If so, the following section should help.

7.8.2
Unfortunately, however clear the guidelines, there will always be difficult cases to manage, where you risk
overlap of policies and you feel unclear about which route to take. When in doubt, seek personnel advice.

7.8.3
Medical Redeployment
If you follow the steps set out section 7.1 - 7.5, and the attendance of your employee does not improve, or the
health problem your employee is suffering from, makes them no longer able to carry out their duties, you may
need to consider a medical redeployment on the advice of the Occupational Health Physician. This would
allow your employee to change their post to one which may have less
of an adverse impact on their health. However, we recognise that it is not always possible to find suitable
alternative employment and termination of contract may need to be considered. There
are time limits on the matching process and we cannot protect the salary of a medical redeployee.
7.8.4
Medical Suspension (Teachers)

“Conditions of Service for Schoolteachers in England and Wales” imposes an obligation on LEA’s in certain
circumstances to suspend or terminate employment on medical grounds. Such circumstances may arise
where a teacher suffers from illnesses such as mental related illness – including nervous disorders.

The relevant extract from the regulations in relation to Psychiatric Disorders is:

        “A teacher who has been absent from duty for more than three months (ignoring short breaks) on
        account of psychiatric disorder (which includes conditions sometimes described as nervous illness,
        depression etc) should be advised that when he feels fit to resume duty he should arrange for a
        consultant psychiatrist, preferably one who is familiar with his case, or his family doctor, where referral
        to a consultant psychiatrist has not been considered necessary, to submit a report to the Authority on
        whether or not in his view the teacher concerned is sufficiently recovered and fit to teach children or
        young people and to me a member of a school or college community. The teacher should not be
        permitted to return until he has produced satisfactory evidence that he is fit to do so”.

The requirement for medical suspension is an item for explanation and discussion at a welfare visit to the
teacher sis aware of the requirement, the reason for it and the practical implications when they are fit to return
to work.

The medical suspension is confirmed in writing. This letter explains what the teacher is required to do when
they are deemed fit to return to work by their GP to enable clearance by the Occupational Health Physician to
be able to promptly return to teaching.

7.8.5
Capability/Competency

We should always try to keep the concept of capability and termination of employment due to sickness
separate.

7.8.6
We use the term ‘capability/competency’ to refer to the procedure you should use to deal with poor
performance and lack of competence by supporting employees to sustain performance to a satisfactory
standard wherever possible, and to take appropriate action where this is not possible.

7.8.7
It is not uncommon to be faced with the problem of an employee who goes off sick when you raise with them
your concerns about their performance. You will need to tease out the two issues of dealing with competency
and managing sickness absence. Case study 2 in this section provides an example of how two parallel
procedures can work side by side by identifying a different manager to take on the welfare/sickness absence
management role while you stay focused on competency.
7.8.8
The Competency/Capability Procedure sets out a step by step process for you to follow.


7.8.9
Discipline

If you believe that an employee has been taking sickness absences which are not genuine, you should
pursue this under the School’s disciplinary procedure and seek the help of your Personnel Officer. You should
gather evidence to back up your suspicions and if possible, get the EHU to corroborate this.

7.8.10
Pretending to be sick and claiming pay is effectively defrauding the School, which is a breach of contract and
cannot be tolerated. There are some cases where an employee uses sickness absence as a way of having
time at home to manage domestic crises. If you suspect that this is the case, then you may be able to
propose one or more of the Work-Life Balance procedures to help your employee
manage the problems at home without jeopardising their employment record.

7.8.11
As at section 7.8.8, you may find that an employee goes off sick if they think they are about to be investigated
for a suspected disciplinary offence, or if they have been invited to attend a disciplinary hearing. Again, you
need to do your best to separate the two issues both in terms of managing the
two problems and to help the employee realise that going off sick won’t make the disciplinary issue go away.
Going off sick will not enable them to avoid any disciplinary action.


7.8.12
Termination of employment due to sickness

If redeployment is not a viable option and you feel unable to:

sustainthe level of sickness absence without badly affecting your ability to deliver services, or
   suitable alternative employment because the employee is no longer able to carry out their duties, or
   find
make further reasonable adjustments for a disabled employee with severe sickness absence problems

You may need to move towards a termination of employment due to sickness.
This is explained in detail in section 7.11

7.8.13
You may need to consider termination of employment due to sickness for different reasons:

unsustainable   long term sickness absence
unsustainable   frequent short term sickness absence
the health of the employee no longer allows them to carry out the duties of the post
7.8.14
There are no hard and fast rules about the timing of starting the termination process. Every employee’s case
will be different. The key factors you should consider linked to the
points in above are set out in the action checklists (See Sections 7.9 and 7.10).



7.8.15
Ill health Retirement – Teachers

If a specialist is of the opinion a teacher is ‘permanently unfit to teach’ they can apply to receive their
pension. In order to persue this option they must speak with Personnel who will provide the appropriate forms
and advice to proceed.
7.9
Long term sickness action checklist
Action                                                                                        Done
If the employee has not returned to work within a realistic or reasonable time scale,          √
arrange a meeting with the employee and his or her representative to discuss the
circumstances

Have all the steps required in the Sickness Absence Management procedure been                  √
followed?
                                                                                               √
Is the employee eligible to receive their pension? (If no continue).

Has the employee been consulted, and given every opportunity to state his or her own           √
views, and have those views been properly considered?

Has every possible step been taken to ascertain the true medical position by requesting a
medical report from Employee Healthcare about the nature of the illness and its likely         √
duration, whether the condition fits the statutory definition of disability, the employee’s
probable ability to return to work, an estimated return date and whether alternative
duties or reasonable adjustments could aid return to work
                                                                                               √
Can other employees cover the work or can a temporary employee do the job?


Has the past attendance record been fully taken into account?                                  √


Has the employee’s age, length of service and previous record been fully considered?           √


Has alternative employment, or reasonable adjustments in cases of disability been              √
considered?

Has it been made clear to the employee that his or her continued employment is
seriously at risk?                                                                             √

Given the employee’s illness, the lack of any known return date or an unreasonably
lengthy return date and the type of job held, can you reasonably be expected to wait any       √
longer before dismissing, bearing in mind the interests of the business, the need for the
job to be done and the need to be fair to the employee?

If the need for the job to be done means you can wait no longer, is the decision to
                                                                                               √
dismiss within the band of reasonable responses of a reasonable employer in the
circumstances?

If so, proceed with the termination procedure (See section 7.11).
7.10
Short term, persistent sickness absence action checklist
Action                                                                                            Done

Have you investigated the problem by establishing the nature and pattern of the                    √
absences by making a detailed list of the relevant information?

Have you collected all the documentary evidence and analysed it together with a study              √
of the employee’s personal file?

Have you compiled the factual evidence that the level of absence is having an adverse              √
effect on business efficiency?

Have you held a preliminary interview with the employee with another management
                                                                                                   √
representative present? Explain that this is a preliminary interview but offer them the
opportunity of representation

Have you established if there are underlying medical problems? If so, explain that before
any further decisions are made, it is in everyone’s interest to establish the true medical         √
position and request a medical report from the Employee Healthcare Unit. Check with
EHU details of how the illness is impacting on the employee’s ability to carry out their
duties, its likely duration, whether the condition fits the statutory definition of disability,
the employee’s probable ability to return to work, an estimated return date or the
likelihood of an acceptable level of attendance and whether alternative duties or
reasonable adjustments could aid return to work

Following a response from EHU, have you re-examined the evidence, considering the                  √
employee’s responses? If the problem does fit within the DDA, speak to Personnel or
Equal Opportunities

Have you re-confirmed the view that the level of absence is adversely affecting the                √
business?

Have you arranged a formal interview with the employee? Follow procedure (See
sections 4.1.5 and 4.3 of the Sickness Absence Management Procedure) and make sure
you have a note-taker. Inform the employee that his/her attendance does not meet the                √
required standard, that the matter will now proceed to a formal hearing and that they
have the right to representation. Confirm the date, time and place of the hearing. If
there is a live warning on record, point this out.
                                                                                                    √
Have you taken the employee through their sickness record and the details of the
medical report? Ask the employee to state his/her case, allowing them to comment on
all the evidence and put forward explanations.

Have you summarised the key points in the employee’s case so that there are no                      √
misunderstandings?
       Action                                                                                   Done

Have you come to a clear view about the facts?

I. Is the employee wilfully failing to attend work? If so, use the disciplinary procedure   √

2 Is the employee unable to meet the requirements of the job and this is showing itself
   through frequent intermittent absence? If so, use the capability procedure               √


3 Has the employee the capability, but is unhappy in the job? If so, consider
                                                                                            √
  redeployment

4 Are the reasons for absence due to personal, domestic reasons? If so, consider            √
  flexible working or other related School policies

5 Have you discussed any reasonable adjustments that could be made in cases of
  disability to improve the situation?                                                      √

6 Has the employee been given warnings that their attendance needs to improve and
  has sufficient time been allowed for an improvement in attendance?                        √


7. Has the adverse impact on the efficient running of the school reached an intolerable
                                                                                            √
   level?


Make a decision about the options above and reconvene the meeting to inform the             √
employee of the decision.

If dismissal is considered to be the most appropriate and reasonable action at this         √
stage, set up a final interview as described in section 7.11
7.11
Termination on ill health grounds

7.11.1
If you have followed the attendance improvement and sickness absence management procedures effectively
and the attendance level of your employee is still unacceptable, you may wish to consider
Redeployment (based on medical advice).

7.11.2
Where redeployment is not a feasible option, you will need to consider termination on ill health grounds.

7.11.3
There are 2 possible types of termination on ill health grounds:

Medical retirement, with a pension. This can only take place where there has been a declaration from the
    Occupational Health Physician (support staff) or a successful application to the Teachers Pension
    Scheme (teaching staff) and of course they are a member of the pension scheme. that the employee is
    permanently incapacitated to do their job or comparable employment

Alternatively, even where a declaration of permanent incapacity has not been made, it is still reasonable
    to terminate without pension where the school can no longer support the sickness absence levels of the
    employee. It is always wise to seek a final prognosis from the Occupational Health Physician before
    proceeding with a termination of this kind.

7.11.4
The Head should normally discuss termination with the Chair of Governors. The staffing dismissals committee
with authority to dismiss should be fully briefed on the employee and a full meeting arranged to formally
consider termination of employment to which the employee should be invited.

7.11.5
The employee has the right to be represented at this final meeting. An explanation should be given of how the
decision was reached. This should then be confirmed in writing. A sample letter is included in Appendix 5.2 of
the Sickness Absence Management Procedure. This should be signed by the Chair of the Staffing Dismissals
Committee.

7.11.6
The employee has the right to appeal against the decision.

7.11.7
You will need to demonstrate that you have followed the guidelines in this Attendance Strategy and the
Sickness Absence Management procedure and that your decision was a reasonable one.
as Study 4
7.12 Case Studies
 Case Study 4

An employee has been off sick with stress for 5 months. He is a School Bursar with a difficult team to
manage. Following a referral to Employee Healthcare Unit and Occupational Health advice and detailed
discussions with the employee and Personnel, it is agreed that the employee should relinquish the
management role. While no help can be given in relation to salary protection, the employee’s benefits are
protected in 2 ways:

Firstly, the benefit accrued up to the redeployment date is frozen and then the Pension based on the new
lower salary starts to accrue from the date of redeployment.

Secondly, a reduction of pay certificate is issued and the current right for all employees to take a pension
calculation based on the best of three years is extended to the best of the last 5 years. Alternatively, an
average of the best three years from the last 13 years’ salaries is taken as the basis for the pension
calculation.

This will be index linked to current value.

 Case Study 5
Case Study 5
An employee has been diagnosed with cancer. She has been off sick for 9 months already and the manager
has maintained contact and given support throughout her treatment. She has just informed him that the
prognosis is bad and that the doctor has told her she is unlikely to return to work or to recover.

The manager advises the employee that, with her agreement, the Occupational Health Physician can contact
her G.P. If the G.P. can confirm that she has less than 12 months to live, the pension benefits can be paid on
‘exceptional ill-health grounds’. This enables the employee to convert her pension to give her a greater lump
sum. She should be advised to get details of her pension from the Pensions and Financial Services Officer
before the G.P. is contacted to work out whether it is in the employee’s interests to take the pension or to die
in service.


 Case Study 6


The caretaker and his assistant, one aged 63 and one aged 34, have both suffered hand injuries as a result of
separate but similar accidents at work while moving equipment. Both employees are no longer able to carry
out their duties but both have been advised by the Occupational Health Physician that there should be an
improvement in 2 - 3 years with appropriate surgery and physiotherapy.

The Occupational Health Physician recommends ill-health retirement for the 63 year old because he is
unlikely to recover before age 65. The 34 year old is not considered eligible for ill-health retirement because
he is likely to recover before the age of 65. He is terminated on ill-health grounds and his pension benefits are
frozen until retirement age.
Appendix O
                                     Referrals to Employee Healthcare

                      Head Teachers/Managers Report: Confidential to Recipients

Note: For the purpose of this report, it is assumed that the Personnel Section
      will complete a Referral Form for Employee Healthcare, to include the
      basic information referred to in Page 1 Item (1) of the Guidelines for
      Referrals as issued by Employee Healthcare on 31st October 2000
      (Helen Smith)

1.    Name of Employee: ………………………………………………………………..….

      School: ……………………………………………………………………………..…..

      Position/Role of Employee: …………………………………………………………

2.    Reason for Referral and any questions the Head Teacher/Manager would like responses.
      Please use a continuation sheet and provide supplementary information which will assist the
      Occupational Health Physician, if necessary.

      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………………………………………………………………………………………………………………..
      ………………

3.    Attendance Record (Illness/Personal Reasons)

      Number of days absent in present school year, to date

      Percentage Absence in present school year, to date

      Number of days absent in previous school year

      Percentage Absence in previous school year

      Reasons for above absences

      ………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………………………
      …..………………………………………..………………………………………..………………………………
      ………..………………………………………..………………………………………..…………………………
      ……………..………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………
      …………………..………………………………………..……………
4.    Impact on the work of the school caused by the absence/health problems of the employee

      ………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………………………
      …..………………………………………..………………………………………..………………………………
      ………..………………………………………..………………………………………..…………………………
      ……………..………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………
      …………………..………………………………………..……………

5.    Action the school has taken or offered up to present date to enable the employee to cope in the work
      place

      ………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………………………
      …..………………………………………..………………………………………..………………………………
      ………..………………………………………..………………………………………..…………………………
      ……………..………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………
      …………………..………………………………………..……………
6.    Other actions it may be possible to take or offer in the future to enable a successful return to work eg
      DDA Reasonable Adjustments
      ………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………………………
      …..………………………………………..………………………………………..………………………………
      ………..………………………………………..………………………………………..…………………………
      ……………..………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………
      …………………..………………………………………..……………

7.    Other relevant comments and information from the Head Teacher/Manager, including details of any
      competence/disciplinary procedures, which may be relevant

      ………………………………………..………………………………………..………………………
      …..………………………………………..………………………………………..…………………..
      …………………..………………………………………..………………………………………..…..
      …………………………………..………………………………………..……………………………
      ..………………………………………..………………………………………..……………………..

Please tick this box if you wish to be contacted directly by the

Occupational Health Physician concerned to discuss this case               
Name of Head Teacher/Manager completing form ……………………………………

Contact telephone number ………………………………………………………………….

Date of completion of form ………………………………………………………………….


Please return this form to Lifelong Learning Resources Group, Personnel and Payroll Unit, Room 716,
7th Floor, Oldgate House, 2 Oldgate, Huddersfield, HD2 6QW
Appendix P
                                 Lifelong Learning Resources
                        Phased Return from Long Term Sickness Absence

Surname: ……………………………..                            Forenames..……………………………

Pay Point: ……………………………                           Pay Ref: …………………………………

Commencement Date Of Phased Return: ……………………………………….
(Ideally the phased return should be arranged to commence at the beginning of the week and for a maximum
of 4 weeks. Please feel free to discuss phased return issues with your Personnel contact)

Normal Full Contract Hours: ………………………………………………………..

Total Hours Worked Per Week As Part Of Phased Return:
 Hours to be worked Week 1 - ……………….
 Hours to be worked Week 2 - ……………….
 Hours to be worked Week 3 - ……………….
 Hours to be worked Week 4 - ……………….

             Week 1         Monday        Tuesday        Wednesday      Thursday       Friday
             AM
             PM
             Week 2         Monday        Tuesday        Wednesday      Thursday       Friday
             AM
             PM
             Week 3         Monday        Tuesday        Wednesday      Thursday       Friday
             AM
             PM
             Week 4         Monday        Tuesday        Wednesday      Thursday       Friday
             AM
             PM


Working Full Contractual Hours With Effect From: ……………………………

Note: A Doctor’s note is required to confirm that the employee is fit to return to work on a phased
      return. The employee should continue to submit Doctor’s notes to cover until they are fit to resume
      their full contractual hours and at this point should supply a final Doctor’s signing off note to confirm
      that they are fully fit.

Authorisation:              ………………………………………………..
                             Head Teacher / Line Manager

School / Service:           ………………………………………………..

Date:                       ………………………………………………..

Please forward to: Payroll/ Personnel Unit, 6th Floor, Oldgate House
Appendix Q

KIRKLEES METROPOLITAN SCHOOL
Personnel Team:
________________________________________________________________________________

Personnel Contact:
________________________________________________________________________________

MEDICAL REFERRAL INFORMATION SHEET
Your Manager has asked for a medical referral in order to gain advice from the Occupational
Health Physician at the Employee Healthcare Unit regarding your state of health. This will help
both you and your manager to determine a way forward. It is important that regular contact
between yourself and your line manager be maintained throughout the process.

THE MEDICAL REFERRAL
You will receive an appointment from the Employee Healthcare Unit through the post, together with a
   map showing where the unit is located (next to 9, Manchester Road, Huddersfield)

You    are asked in the appointment letter to take with you any medication you are taking, or a
    list of your tablets, etc

You   may wish to be accompanied to the appointment

Your   initial assessment may be with the Occupational Health Nurse

You  will see one of the Occupational Health Physicians and will be allocated between 15 - 25
    minutes per appointment

Itis your opportunity to discuss with the Occupational Health Physician what you feel your health issues
   are and how you feel these are affecting your employment
The Nurse or Occupational Health Physician may ask you to consent to a report being obtained from
   your G.P. and/or consultant. If you agree to a report being obtained, you will be asked to sign a consent
   form and you have a legal right to view any correspondence exchanged.

POSSIBLE RECOMMENDATIONS FROM OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

When the Occupational Health Physician has gathered all the relevant information about your
illness, your manager will receive advice as to possible ways forward. This may include:

You  are fit to carry out the full duties of the post and to return to work. A suitable date for this would be
    agreed with you and your Manager

You   will be able to return to your post in the near future. A timescale is often set, e.g. in 6 weeks’ time

Further   medical information has been sought from your G.P./Consultant

You   have been referred for other Employee Healthcare support
Itmay be necessary for your Manager to look at reasonable adjustments within your duties/
    workplace

The   Occupational Health Physician may want to review your medical situation where further time or
    information is necessary for a clear assessment of your health to be made. A timescale will be set for
    your review

You   are unable to return to your current post. Redeployment to an alternative post within the Authority
    should be considered

You  are unfit to carry out the duties and responsibilities of your post for the foreseeable future. A
    termination on medical grounds will need to be considered

You    are permanently unfit to carry out the duties and responsibilities of your post. For employees in the
    Local Government Pension Scheme, it will be necessary to carry out a check for comparable
    employment and your case will be reviewed by an independent Occupational Health Physician before
    eligibility for an ill-health retirement can be confirmed.

The advice from the Occupational Health Physician will be passed to your Manager and a copy
sent to you. Your Manager will discuss this with you to determine a course of action. It may,
however, be necessary for you to meet formally with your Senior Manager in circumstances
where a decision about your future employment is required.
Appendix R               (Note: this form completed by Personnel)

                                                                  FILE NUMBER ________ for EHCU use only

Kirklees Metropolitan Council
CONFIDENTIAL MEDICAL REFERRAL - Employee Healthcare
HAS THIS PERSON PREVIOUSLY BEEN REFERRED TO THE UNIT?                            YES       NO

If YES
a) Type of Referral              Counselling          HEAL      Medical  Physiotherapy

                                 Pre-Employment

b) Approximate Date              ___________________________________________

Personal Information
Surname                          ____________________________________________

Forename(s)                      ____________________________________________

Title                       Councillor        Dr   Miss   Mr    Mrs    Ms

Address – Home                   ____________________________________________

(including post code)            ____________________________________________

Tel. No. :                       ____________________________________________

Date of Birth                    _____/_____/_____

Sex                              Male                  Female

Name & Address of GP             ____________________________________________

Tel. No. :                       ____________________________________________

Name & Address of Consultant     ____________________________________________
(where appropriate)
Tel. No. :                       ____________________________________________

Company                              Kirklees Metropolitan Council

ther (please specify)            ____________________________________________

Service Group                    ____________________________________________

Service Area                     ____________________________________________



                                              99
Address – Work                    ____________________________________________

(including post code)             ____________________________________________

Tel. No. :                        ____________________________________________

Job Title                         ____________________________________________

Manager/Supervisor’s Name         ____________________________________________

Additional Information
Personnel Contact Name            _____________________________________________

Address                           _____________________________________________

Tel. No.                          _____________________________________________

Has this person declared a disability?    Yes          No

Religion                          _____________________________________________

Maiden Name/Former Name           _____________________________________________

Employee Number                   _____________________________________________

Member of WYPF                                 Yes          No

Teachers Pension                               Yes          No

Ethnic Origin of Employee
BLACK                                          WHITE

 African  Irish                                      Irish
                                                 African 
Bangladeshi North American                    Bangladeshi North American
Caribbean Pakistani                          Caribbean Pakistani
 Chinese  South American                      Chinese South American
 European  United Kingdom                     European United Kingdom
Indian  Other                               Indian      Other

Pay Scale                         ___________________________________________

Cost Code 1         ) if shared   ___________________________________________
                    }with other
Cost Code 2         )services     ___________________________________________

Ratio                             ___________________________________________
Enclosed documents

 Referral Memorandum Manager’s Report Day in the Life          Incident Report
 Job Description  DDA Assessment  Sickness Absences
                                         100
Appendix S
Where can I get more help in attendance improvement and
sickness absence management?
Useful contacts include:
Helen Smith                              Geoffrey Berry                 Mavis Garnett
Employee Healthcare Unit Mgr             Lifelong Learning, Personnel   NASUWT
860 6424                                 860 5267                       01484 513397
Wendy Beddows                            Joanne Burnand                 Howard Roberts
HEAL Scheme Organiser                    Lifelong Learning, Personnel   NUT
860 6859                                 860 1213                       01494 513683

Linda Lock                               Lynne Cunliffe                 Mike Forster/
Health and Safety Manager                Lifelong Learning, Personnel   Janet Newton - Unison
860 6471                                 860 5002                       01484 223577

Maxine Wright                            Paula Dodd                     Christine Hughes
Health and Safety Team Leader            Lifelong Learning, Personnel   ATL
860 6457                                 860 5212                       861 5002
Marion Gray                              Joanne Hall
Lifelong Learning, Training              Lifelong Learning, Personnel
and Development                          860 5179
860 4820
David Blackburn                          Kevin McCarthy
Pensions and Financial                   Lifelong Learning, Personnel
Services Officer                         860 1265
860 5089
                                         Joanne Parker
Darren Page                              Lifelong Learning, Personnel
Lifelong Learning,                       860 5268
Management Information
860 4819                                 Tracey Russell
                                         Lifelong Learning, Personnel
Susan Higgins                            860 5006
Senior Payroll Officer (Teachers)
860 2553                                 Gary Scargill
                                         Lifelong Learning, Personnel
John Moran/Gillian Brewer                860 5210
Senior Payroll Officer (Support Staff)
860 2559                                 Sean Gregory
                                         Corporate Management Information
                                         860 5032
√
65
30
The
Triggers
for action
Governme
nt’s target
6 days
sickness
for
absence
2004/2005
in 6
is 10.8
days lost
months
3
per
occasions
employee
of
due to
sickness
absence
in 6
months
a regular
pattern of
sickness
absence

								
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