1 Policy Statement 3
2 Scope 4
3 Principles of the Policy 4
4 Implementation and Review 5
5 Definition 5
6 Responsibilities 5
7 Promoting a Healthy Workforce 7
8 Entitlement 7
9 Exclusions from Entitlement 8
10 Sickness Payments 8
11 Sickness During Annual Leave or Public Holidays 8
12 Industrial Injuries 9
13 Supporting Attendance 10
14 Notification Procedure 10
15 Attendance Support 12
16 Occupational Health Referrals 14
17 Self Certification/ Return to Work Meeting 15
18 Medical Certificates 15
19 Failure to Comply with Notification Procedure 15
20 Recording Absence 16
21 Compliance with the Regulation of Care (Scotland) 16
22 Monitoring and Measurement of Attendance 17
23 Abuse of the System 17
24 Training 17
1 POLICY STATEMENT
1.1 In line with the Visions and Values of Stirling Council, we are committed
to the provision of high quality effective service delivery to all our
customers, whilst also ensuring the well being and attendance of
employees. Central to this is the Council’s obligation to the health, safety
and welfare of all employees so far as is reasonably practicable. The
Council also recognises the role of Occupational Health in both the
prevention of ill health of employees and also in the promotion of
employee well-being via health initiatives, screening programmes etc.
1.2 Supporting Attendance is fundamental to the continued and future
success of Stirling Council.
1.3 Good management practice encourages regular monitoring and review of
the levels and reasons for sickness and absence across the Council in
order that absence trends can be recognised and reacted to. Employee
health problems can therefore be identified and appropriate support can
1.4 Stirling Council is aware of the implications of and its responsibilities
under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (as amended).
The Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA) defines a disability for this
purpose as “A physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and
long term adverse effect on a persons ability to carry out normal day to
day activities”. The legislation creates a duty on employers to make
“reasonable adjustments” and managers must make every reasonable
effort to retain a disabled employee in employment. Reasonable
adjustments may include changes to working patterns, or the provision of
1.5 The Council, in partnership with the Trade Unions, is committed to a fair
and consistent approach to supporting attendance across the Council
and to regular monitoring of attendance in all Services. Line managers
must provide a proactive and responsive approach to attendance
management in order that health or other problems can be discussed
and dealt with at the earliest possible opportunity.
1.6 Any concerns regarding the application of the policy should be directed to
the Service Human Resource (HR) Adviser.
1.7 The Supporting Attendance Policy should be read in conjunction with the
Attendance Capability Procedure, and the Manager and Employee
Guides to Supporting Attendance.
This policy applies to all Council Employees.
3 PRINCIPLES OF THE POLICY
This policy aims to ensure that every individual is treated fairly regardless
of gender, race, age, status, disability, sexual orientation, religious or
political beliefs. The principles of the Policy are to:
promote the health, safety and wellbeing of employees;
promote high levels of attendance at work;
ensure that all employees recognise that their attendance is vital to
the success of the Council and that their contribution is valued
ensure employees are aware of and understand the Council’s position
on supporting attendance at work, and their own responsibilities in
reporting sickness absence
ensure that line managers adopt a fair and consistent approach,
taking account of individual circumstances, while seeking to achieve
and maintain acceptable standards of attendance
encourage employees to seek help and support with any problems
which result in them not attending work;
ensure employees are made aware of the support mechanisms
available within the Council;
ensure line managers and supervisors are trained to be able to
monitor and manage attendance effectively, fairly and consistently;
ensure line managers are aware of the levels of attendance across
the Council and discuss these with the Trade Unions;
encourage management and Trade Unions to work in partnership to
assist in ensuring absence remains at an agreed acceptable level.
4 IMPLEMENTATION AND REVIEW
Services will ensure that Managers are briefed on the policy who in turn
will be responsible for cascading the Policy to their respective teams.
Human Resources will have responsibility to undertake a review of this
policy 18 months from the date of approval and thereafter, no less than
every 3 years, in consultation with management and trade unions.
“Sickness absence” is the generic term used to describe absence where
the employee is incapable of carrying out the work he or she is employed
to carry out because of a specific disease or bodily or mental
“Line manager” is deemed to be the employee’s immediate line manager
chargehand or supervisor, or the appropriate nominated individual for
absence reporting purposes. In schools, this is deemed to be the
teacher’s Headteacher, Principal Teacher or member of the School
Management Team designated by the Headteacher.
6.1 Line managers are responsible for:
promoting the health, safety and wellbeing of all employees, including
the use of risk assessments to identify and manage hazards
impacting on both physical and mental health in the workplace;
motivating employees to attend work regularly;
being aware of and encouraging the use of all Council support
conducting return to work meetings and other attendance meetings;
ensuring that all recording of sickness absence is maintained with
respect for confidentiality and accuracy, by ensuring employees
returning from absence are reported as having returned, and that
Return to Work Forms and Medical Certificates are passed promptly
to the HR team;
ensuring employees are aware of the policy and their responsibilities,
and the consequences of not complying with the Supporting
monitoring levels of sickness absence for individuals and teams;
fairly, consistently and timeously applying procedures to support and
manage employee absences, whilst dealing with unjustified and/or
high levels of sickness absence;
maintaining a positive and preventive approach;
being sensitive and supportive to those suffering the effects of ill
maintaining regular communication with employees who are absent
on long term sick leave;
participating in training related to supporting attendance
supporting others with their responsibilities for supporting attendance
6.2 Employees are responsible for:
looking after their general health and wellbeing and seeking medical
or other support where necessary;
ensuring their lifestyle does not impact on their ability to attend work
attending work unless unfit to do so;
reporting sickness absences promptly in line with the reporting
procedures and ensure that the appropriate certification is provided in
accordance with the procedure
attending return to work meetings and other attendance meetings;
maintaining contact with their line manager during periods of sickness
absence and communicating effectively about their sickness absence;
advising their line manager of any illness which affects their ability to
attend work or to undertake the duties of their post to a satisfactory
raising concerns at an early stage with their line manager if they
consider their sickness absence to be connected to their job;
attending any appointments and co-operating fully with the
Occupational Health (OH) Service and other organisations that
provide support to the Council and its employees;
ensuring that any medical advice and treatment received, is followed
as quickly as possible in order to facilitate a return to work;
not participating in any external activity which may be detrimental to
not abusing the supporting attendance procedures or sick pay
6.3 HR are responsible for:
Providing professional advice and guidance on the application of the
Supporting Attendance Policy to all stakeholders
Ensuring all employees receive the appropriate Supporting Attendance
information and training, and are aware of their responsibilities.
Promoting and supporting management and employee actions which
Providing regular information on attendance to all stakeholders, both
Council wide and within specific Service areas
Monitoring the operational application of the policy
7 PROMOTING A HEALTHY WORKFORCE
In order to support this policy and its implementation, the following
services are available to line managers and employees:
7.1 Occupational Health Service
The Occupational Health Service provides advice and guidance on the
impact of ill health on work, and what steps the Council and/or employee
may take to assist an employee to attend work. Occupational Health
carries out health screening and health surveillance in respect of the
duties of a particular post as a preventative measure.
The Occupational Health Service provides access to fast track
physiotherapy appointments for employees who are suffering from
musculoskeletal injury. This service is provided as a preventative
measure to absence and also as a rehabilitation option for those who are
already absent from work.
7.3 Employee Counselling Service (ECS)
The Employee Counselling Service provides a confidential service to
employees, to enable them to discuss concerns related to work or
7.4 Human Resources
HR teams provide support and guidance to line managers and
employees on the implementation and management of the Supporting
7.5 Healthy Working Lives
Stirling Council is committed to promoting a healthier workforce and in
this regard is participating in the Healthy Working Lives Award scheme.
7.6 Health and Safety
The Corporate Health and Safety team and Health and Safety Advisers
provide information and guidance on all Health and Safety issues.
Managers should contact their Service Health and Safety representatives
the first instance for advice.
8.1 In accordance with the Scheme of Pay and Conditions of Service, an
employee who is absent from the Council due to ill health, and provided
that they have complied with the Notification Procedure as detailed in
point 14, will be entitled to payment of sickness allowance providing they
have sufficient service and National Insurance contributions. This will be
calculated IN ANY ONE 12 MONTH ROLLING PERIOD determined by
commencement date of employment and date the employee becomes
absent. Each employee’s entitlement to occupational sick pay is as
detailed in their Statement of Particulars.
8.2 An employee who is paid any damages as the result of an accident will
be required to repay any occupational sick pay advanced, this could be
the total amount of occupational sick pay, or a proportion of this in
relation to the amount of damages received.
9. EXCLUSIONS FROM ENTITLEMENT
9.1 In accordance with the Scheme of Pay and Conditions of Service, an
employee will be excluded from entitlement to occupational sick pay
where it is proven that the absence is due or attributable to:
employee’s own misconduct or negligence
active participation in professional sport for payment
injury whilst working for private gain or for another employer
10 SICKNESS PAYMENTS
All payments shall be in accordance with the Scheme of Pay and
Conditions of Service.
Employees are expected to attend any appointments and co-operate fully
with the Occupational Health Service who provide support to the Council
and its employees. An employee who repeatedly fails to attend any
appointments provided under the OHS may be subject to the Disciplinary
Procedures as appropriate.
Where an employee returns to local authority service following a break
for maternity reasons they will be entitled to have previous service taken
into account for the purposes of entitlement to sickness allowance,
provided that the break in service does not exceed 8 years and that there
has been no paid employment during the break.
11 SICKNESS DURING ANNUAL LEAVE OR PUBLIC HOLIDAYS
Where an employee (including teachers) has been absent through
sickness or injury for a period exceeding 3 months .
Annual leave entitlement will be in line with the Working Time
Regulations 1998 (as amended). Every employee – whether part-time or
full-time is entitled to 28 days paid annual leave or a proportion thereof.
This should be the same amount of time as their working week, for
example, if an employee works a 5-day week, they are entitled to 28
days’ leave; if they work a 3-day week, the entitlement is 17 days’ leave.
This leave entitlement under the Regulations includes public holidays.
Employees off sick for a whole leave year will be permitted to carry
forward the statutory minimum (i.e. 28 days, inclusive of public holidays)
to the next leave year. However this leave must be taken by 31 st March.
If an employee returns from a period of sickness absence exceeding 3
months within the last quarter of the leave year, the equivalent of the
statutory minimum should, where possible be used by 31st December of
In situations where it is not reasonable to expect an employee to take this
leave by 31 March, the line manager may extend this period. However
any where there is any dubiety this should be referred to HR.
When pro rating annual leave, line managers should seek advice from
HR. When calculating Teachers leave entitlement this should be referred
12 INDUSTRIAL INJURIES
Absence due to normal sickness is entirely separate from absence
through industrial disease or injury, which arises out of or in the course of
employment. Periods of absence in respect of one will not be offset
against the other for the purpose of calculating entitlements under the
Absence due to an accident will only qualify for payment under this
paragraph where details of the accident have been entered on the
Council’s Accident or Dangerous Occurrence reporting Form, and where
in the subsequent investigation the facts are recorded and found to be
Every effort should be made by the employee or the line manager as
appropriate, to ensure that all accidents are recorded. In circumstances
where no entry is made at the time of the accident, the Council will not
unreasonably refuse the payment of industrial injury allowance.
13 SUPPORTING ATTENDANCE
This policy requires line managers to monitor the attendance of
employees, to support employee wellbeing and improve attendance. The
Council will support line managers in this process through training, and
having in place HR and other support.
Research indicates that the single most effective action to reduce
absence is to consistently undertake return to work meetings for all staff
who have been absent, irrespective of the length of the absence period,
On an employee’s return to work following ANY period of sickness
absence, the line manager must undertake a Return to Work Meeting,
which is an informal meeting, with the employee. This must be on the
first day back, or if that is not practicable, at the earliest opportunity.
14 NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE
Employees, who otherwise meet the qualification requirements, are only
entitled to occupational sick pay or Statutory Sick Pay provided that they
fulfil the requirements of the Notification Procedure detailed below for any
period of sickness absence from the Authority:
14.1 First Day
This notification procedure is the subject of a temporary agreement to
be reviewed at an agreed future date.
If an employee is unable to attend work, they must report their absence
via the 24 hour Customer Contact Centre absence line, 01786 443443,
as soon as possible before their normal contractual start time.
The employee will be given the option to be transferred to their line
manager or to have their line manager or nominated person call them
back during that day. If an employee does not wish to speak to their line
manager at the time they report their absence, HR will be informed and
will ensure that dialogue is instigated either that day or the following day.
Where an employee works shifts outwith normal office hours, the
sickness absence should be reported via the contact centre to the Duty
Manager or Officer on call.
Only in exceptional circumstances should a representative (such as
husband or wife, partner, relative or friend) be asked to act on behalf of
the employee, to ensure that the line manager is advised promptly of the
employee’s absence and to ensure that where appropriate, the offer of
support for stress and musculoskeletal injury can be offered to the
employee at the earliest possible stage.
Where an employee attends work and becomes unwell during the
working day, this will be recorded on the employee’s record for
attendance support purposes. For absence monitoring purposes the first
day of absence will be recorded as the first full day of absence, and an
employee is expected to follow the normal absence reporting procedures
for this day.
14.2 Fourth Day
If an employee is still absent due to illness on the 4th calendar day then
they must phone their line manager directly and advise as to whether
they anticipate the illness is likely to continue beyond seven days. If the
fourth day falls on either a Saturday or Sunday and the employee’s
normal pattern of work does not include these days, then the employee
should telephone on the Monday morning.
14.3 More Than Seven Days
If an employee is absent for more than seven calendar days, the
employee should again contact the line manager no later than the 8 th day
of absence and advise that they are still absent and that a Medical
Certificate (Doctor’s Line) has been given for a specific period. The
medical certificate should be sent to the appropriate line manager and
thereafter the employee should keep the manager updated on any further
certificates issued, at regular intervals.
14.4 The Council may consider alternative methods of absence reporting as
technology or process changes. The Trade Unions would be consulted
on updated proposals.
15 ATTENDANCE SUPPORT
At the earliest stage when a line manager becomes concerned about an
employee’s health or level of attendance the matter should be raised with
15.1 Length of Absence
Short term absences are those which last for less than 4 weeks. Any
absence for up to 7 calendar days must be supported by a self-
certificate/return to work meeting form.
Any absence greater that 7 days must be supported by a medical
Long term absence is any one period of absence which exceeds 28
calendar days, and this must be supported by a medical certificate.
15.2 Attendance Support Indicators
Attendance Support Indicators highlight to line managers where they
must consider any supports required to improve the employee’s
attendance at work. Absence Support Indicators are:
4 or more occasions of sickness absence in a rolling 12 month period
irrespective of length of absence /or:
Two or more absences which in total exceed the Council’s specified
target of 10 days or more absence, per employee, per annum. This
figure will be pro rated for employees working part time hours,
Regular patterns or specific days taken off attributed to sickness (For
example, after public or school holidays, or added onto periods of
annual leave. Patterns over previous years may also be taken into
15.3 Attendance Support Meeting - Overview
Where an employee meets one of the above Attendance Support
Indicators the line manager should consider carrying out an Attendance
Support Meeting, to ensure all supports are provided to the employee to
enable them to attend work.
Although this is a formal meeting the style of the meeting should be
positive and constructive endeavouring to explore the reasons for the
absence, and to offer support.
The line manager will always have a representative from HR in
attendance. Attendance Support meetings must not be carried out by
anyone who has not undergone appropriate training.
An employee has the right to be represented by a Trade Union
representative, or to be accompanied by a work colleague (for support).
15.4 Short Term Attendance Support Meeting
Short Term Support meetings, i.e. for absences of less than 28 days,
should be held where a trigger had been met, in order to ensure an
employee has available to them all possible supports to ensure their
attendance at work.
Where necessary, a second Attendance Review and Support Meeting
will normally take place 8/10 weeks later, with the same people present if
possible, in order to review the progress, ensure assistance has been
received, and to discuss general attendance records.
Whether a second meeting is necessary, and the timeframe in which it is
held, will depend on the circumstances of the absences.
15.5 Long-Term Attendance Support Meeting
A Long Term Attendance Support Meeting should be held when an
employee has been absent for more than 28 calendar days. This is an
important part of maintaining contact with employees so that support can
be offered by the Council.
Although this formal meeting should take place after a period of 28
calendar days, line managers should be in contact with the employee on
receipt of a GP certificate, or where they have notice of a prospective
long term absence, to check on the employee’s wellbeing and agree a
suitable means of communication throughout the term of their absence.
To ensure that regular contact is maintained, employees must remain
contactable during periods of absence, and respond to letters and phone
It is particularly important that employees submit medical certificates
timeously to support their period of absence.
The long term Attendance Support Meeting can be held in the workplace,
or a mutually agreed location where the employee feels most
comfortable, e.g. their home.
The line manager will have a representative from HR. The employee will
have the right to be represented by a Trade Union representative or to be
accompanied by a work colleague (for support).
In cases of prolonged long term absence, an Attendance Review and
Support Meeting will be arranged around 8/10 weeks following the
original Long Term meeting.
In some circumstances a long term Attendance Review and Support
Meeting may be held when an employee has returned to work, for
example to ensure that the return to work is going as planned and is
being appropriately supported, or to review any adaptations made to
facilitate a return.
15.6 Progression to Attendance Capability or Disciplinary Procedures
Each employee’s absence must be considered on individual
circumstances, but in any event will be formally reviewed once an
employee has been absent for 4 months (16 weeks). At this stage one of
the options outlined below should be progressed, and a flowchart
outlining this process is attached at Appendix 1.
It should be established whether there is a foreseeable return to work
date, and if any additional support would facilitate this. If so depending
on the return date, the prognosis, and the circumstances of the case, the
absence will normally be supported until a return to work takes place.
Attendance Capability Procedure
This procedure should be used if medical certification or Occupational
Health (OH) information shows an underlying medical condition exists,
and a view taken on whether continued or increased support will help the
employee to sustain their attendance or to return to work.
Each case should be considered on an individual basis taking into
consideration the length of the current absence, nature of absence, the
likelihood of recovery, the potential to attend work consistently or return
Where there is no foreseeable return to work date, and there is an
underlying health reason for the absence, the Attendance Capability
Procedure should be instigated with advice and guidance from HR.
No Underlying Medical Condition
Where on the basis of medical advice there is no underlying medical
condition detrimentally affecting the employee’s overall capability, and
where there is little or no evidence of improvement in an employee’s
attendance, this may be dealt with in accordance with the Council’s
An example of this would be in situations where an employee continually
meets the attendance support indicators, and medical advice suggests
no underlying medical reason for this.
Where an employee has received a disciplinary sanction for poor
attendance, any further absences may be progressed via the Disciplinary
Procedures as appropriate.
16 OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH REFFERALS
The Council uses an Occupational Health Service (SERCO) to provide
support and professional and specialist advice on all Occupational Health
issues to employees and managers. Information will also be provided to
managers to enable decision-making around workplace support and
Referral requests must be made via HR, and are dependant on individual
circumstances, the following is summary guidance to assist.
Where an employee is or has been absent due to work related
stress, this should be an immediate referral via HR
Where an employee has indicated through workstation assessment,
formal 1-2-1’s or regular work reviews that they are having particular
problems affecting their job, referrals may be made immediately.
Employees do not need to be absent from work in order to be
Employees on long term absence will normally be referred to OHS
after 28 calendar days and certainly within 10 weeks of being absent,
depending on the circumstances and reason for absence
In the case of frequent short term absence, to determine if an
underlying medical problem is a contributory factor
Where a referral has been made to OH, employees repeatedly
missing appointments without good reason, may be treated as non-
compliant with the Supporting Attendance Policy, and this may be
progressed via the Disciplinary Procedures.
16.1 Physiotherapy Referrals
Occupational Health (SERCO) provides a physiotherapy service, which
provides a focus primarily on how symptoms impact on work, and referral
requests should be progressed via HR. If symptoms do not affect work,
then advice will be given but further input would require to be sought
either privately or though the employees GP.
You should refer musculoskeletal condition(s) that:
Have resulted in sickness absence
May result in future sickness absence
Is the result of an injury at work
Affects the ability of the employee to perform their full range of
You should not refer musculoskeletal condition(s):
that have been present for over 6 months, if the employee has
remained at work
as a result of sporting injuries that are not affecting work
where the employee is already attending NHS or private
Where a referral has been made to Physiotherapy, employees
repeatedly missing appointments without good reason may be treated as
non-compliant with the Supporting Attendance Policy, and this may be
progressed via the Disciplinary Procedures.
17 SELF CERTIFICATION/ RETURN TO WORK MEETING
A self-certification must be completed for all periods of self-certified
absence, i.e. the first 7 days of absence. The Council’s self certificate is
the return to work interview form and this will be given to an employee
returning from sickness absence for completion at their return to work
The return to work meeting is a crucial step in supporting an employee’s
attendance at work, and should be carried out at the earliest possible
stage in an employees return to work, regardless of the length of the
absence, thus ensuring the continued support for the attendance and
wellbeing of the employee.
Occupational Sick pay is conditional on the provision of relevant
certification, either self or medical, therefore managers must ensure
these are completed timeously.
18 MEDICAL CERTIFICATES
A medical certificate is required for all periods of absence in excess of
seven days and must be posted or delivered to an employee’s line
manager as soon as it has been issued. All medical certificates must run
consecutively, i.e. every calendar day must be covered. Any uncertified
periods of absence will be unpaid.
In cases where a medical certificate covers a period exceeding 14 days
or where more than one statement is necessary, the employee must,
before returning to work, submit to the Council a final statement as to
fitness to resume duties.
On return to work from sickness absence, an employee must also
complete a self-certificate for the first 7 days of absence.
All seven days of the week count when calculating sickness absence for
the purpose of calculating statutory sick pay, including non working days.
Information provided by a GP in an employee’s Fit Note will be
considered as part of an employee’s return to work.
19 FAILURE TO COMPLY WITH THE NOTIFICATION PROCEDURE
Should an employee fail to comply with the terms of the Notification
Procedure as detailed in point 14, the line manager should discuss this
with the employee at their Return to Work Meeting. Repeated instances
should be fully discussed with the employee and may be progressed in
line with the Disciplinary Procedures.
20 RECORDING ABSENCE
All periods of sickness absence must be recorded on the Council’s
computerised system, and all medical certificates and self certificates
must be forwarded to HR at the earliest stage for the purpose of pay
provision and inclusion in personal files.
HR will be responsible for the recording of all absence details, these will
be retained for the period of the employee’s employment, and for a
period of 7 years thereafter. Details should include the reasons for the
absence using the standard list of absence categories. Where
miscellaneous codes are used, this must be further explained on the
return to work interview form in order that where appropriate any
additional support action can be given.
21 COMPLIANCE WITH THE REGULATION OF CARE (SCOTLAND)
Where a manager is absent as a result of an emergency in any of the
Residential Care Homes - Adult and Child
Adoption and Fostering Services
Early Education and Childcare Services, including Nurseries in
Housing Support Services,
the Care Commission must be notified within one week of occurrence.
Where the absence is planned/known, notification should be no later than
14 days before the proposed absence.
The Care Commission requires the following information:
Length or expected length of absence
The reason for the absence
The arrangements which have been made for the running of the care
service during the absence
The name, address and qualifications of the person who manage the
care service during the absence.
The Service Manager is responsible for notifying the Care Commission.
Failure to do so will breach the Regulation of Care (Scotland) Act 2001
Reg 22(1) and 22(3).
22 MONITORING AND MEASUREMENT OF ATTENDANCE
It is the responsibility of line managers, with the assistance of HR, to
regularly and consistently review attendance across their part of the
service, and to take appropriate action in terms of the policy and
procedure where necessary.
Management should regularly discuss with the Trade Unions general
patterns emerging, areas of improvement and specific performance
indicators for their parts of their service.
Information will be provided to services, trade unions and Elected
Members on a quarterly basis. Any data shared will ensure individual
employees confidentiality is respected.
23 ABUSE OF THE SYSTEM
Employees who are suspected of abuse of the Supporting Attendance
system, may be subject to the Council’s Disciplinary Procedures.
All line managers implementing the Supporting Attendance Policy must
have attended the appropriate training in order to undertake this.
ATTENDANCE CAPABILITY OR
SUPPORTING ATTENDANCE POLICY
NOT MEETING ABSENCE MEETING
RETURN ATTENDANCE SUPPORT
TO WORK MEETING
REVIEW 8-10 WEEKS
ATTENDANCE REVIEW &
REVIEW 8-10 WEEKS
ATTENDANCE REVIEW &
ADDITIONAL NO UNDERLYING UNDERLYING
SUPPORT HEALTH HEALTH REASON
DISCIPLINARY MOVE TO