Legislative Framework by PWTfjNO5

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									Staffordshire County Council              HR Policy Handbook

Reference        HR40   Approved                     Issue    16      Date        March
Number                  By                                                        2006
Policy Title     Managing Attendance at Work



List of Contents:

Policy Statement, Roles, Responsibilities, Levels of Authority,              2
occupational sick pay and accidents whilst on duty (industrial injury).


Reporting Absence - notifying your manager, falsification of absence         9
and failing to produce a medical certificate.

Contact during the absence, welfare visits etc.                              15

Returning from an absence and return to work discussions.                    17



Formal Attendance Standards – what are unacceptable attendance               22
levels?

Formal Attendance Procedure – Stage 1, 2 and 3 (inc.dismissal)               24

Decision at Stage 3 – Whether to dismiss or not and termination of           28
contract. How to deal with sick pay during the notice period.

Expired Attendance Warnings                                                  33



Types of absence and how to manage it – recurring/non-recurring              34
ailments and underlying medical problems.

Short Term                                                                   37

Long Term                                                                    38

Long term prospects - what to consider                                       40

Other considerations – DDA, counselling, occupational health                 41

Returning to work – rehabilitation and other solutions                       47

Sickness following an accident and pregnancy related absence                 49



Frequently Asked Questions and Further Information                           50


                                   Page 1 of 57
Legislative Framework

Statutory Sick Pay Regulations – These set out the current allowances

payable under statutory sick pay schemes. The framework for sickness &

absence takes into consideration the provisions of the Employment Rights Act

1996, The Employment Relations Act 1999, the Employment Act 2002, the

Disability Discrimination Acts 1995 & 2005, the Race Relations (amended act)

2000 and the ACAS Codes of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance

Procedures.

Policy Statement

Staffordshire County Council (1) is committed to protecting and promoting the

wellbeing of all its employees, and therefore also to the creation of a healthy and

productive work environment in which all of its people have equal opportunities

to flourish, develop and contribute. This requires action on two fronts:

Firstly, the creation of a work environment and way of working that promotes the

physical, mental and social health and wellbeing of its employees.

Secondly, the creation of an environment in which we seek to accommodate and

include those employees with health or welfare problems that affect their

capacity for work. This will be achieved by looking to adapt to health problems,

to solve problems with employment and to maximise the use of residual work

capability whenever this can be achieved by reasonable adjustment or action on

the part of the council.

_____________________________________________________________

1 In respect of aided and foundation schools, references to the County Council should be taken to

include governing bodies in their capacity as employers of the staff in those schools – see “How to

apply the policy”




                                         Page 2 of 57
The aim is to help people remain engaged with their work despite their health or

welfare problems, and to achieve early return to work and workplace

rehabilitation when health problems have interrupted work. To this end,

employees also have a responsibility to maintain contact with their manager (2)

when health or welfare problems disrupt their attendance at work.

Managers, as people in positions of authority and trust, also have a “duty of

care” in respect of their staff and a responsibility to ensure that sensitive

information relating to their absence and medical records are treated

appropriately and in confidence at all times.

The council commits to doing whatever can reasonably be expected of it to

achieve these aims; but it also expects this commitment to be shared by those it

employs, so that wherever possible it can work jointly with employees to find

responses to ill health, personal problems or reduced wellbeing which do not

involve protracted absence and, ultimately, loss of employment. Preventative

actions identified through health & safety assessments will also support this

approach.

This policy provides managers with a structured framework that will enable them

to manage absence effectively and promote well-being. The County Council

recognizes the commitment of most staff to achieving excellent service provision

through good attendance and active engagement, and aims to encourage this

same commitment in everyone.

________________________________________________________________

2 In a schools context, the “manager” usually will be the head teacher or a member of the

leadership group (i.e. head teacher, deputy head teacher, or assistant head teacher). Or the

“manager” may be a member of the management team, as defined by the school – see “levels of

authority”



                                          Page 3 of 57
The council does not expect people to attend work when they are too ill to do so.

However, ‘fitness for work’ is frequently not an all -or -nothing situation, and the

council will employ job modification, the offer of alternative work, active

workplace rehabilitation and other measures as appropriate to enable people to

contribute and to retain employment when unable to work normally because of

health problems. It is hoped that employees at all levels, in every capacity, will

fully engage with this and commit to the same ends. On the other hand, abuse

or misuse of this policy is unacceptable – colleagues, service users, partners all

deserve better – and will not be tolerated.



Rights, Roles and Responsibilities


The Council

Under the Health & Safety at Work Act 1974, employers have a duty to ensure,

so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all

their employees. The council (and therefore, employees acting on its behalf)

also has a responsibility to ensure that individuals engaged in the attendance

management process are treated fairly (in accordance with the policy) and with

dignity and respect at all times.



Employee

The attendance standards and behaviours described within this policy are

designed to encourage and help employees at all levels of the organisation, to

develop appropriate patterns of attendance and to encourage employees to

work with their managers to find ways to avoid absence whenever possible.


                                    Page 4 of 57
Whilst these standards of attendance must be met, each case will be treated on

its merits and any mitigating factors the employee puts forward in the face of

poor attendance (eg. disability related absences) must be taken fully into

account.



Any employee (regardless of grade) failing to achieve these minimum standards

will have the situation addressed and his/her attendance monitored. Further

action will only be taken if he/she fails to achieve the expected standards of

attendance appropriate to the next stage. Employees also have a duty to

engage fully in the attendance management process, which will include things

such as; participation in “return- to- work” discussions, attending occupational

health appointments and/or welfare meetings, and providing appropriate

certification for the duration of the absence. Employees are expected to co-

operate in this process, and the council will, for their part, make every effort to

work with employees to improve attendance at work. Failure to co-operate will

leave the Council no alternative but to make decisions regarding absence and

future employment, based only on the information available at that time.

Managers are expected to involve HR in respect of absence where disability

discrimination is a factor and to make reasonable allowances where the DDA

applies.



Employees have the right to be treated with dignity and respect throughout the

attendance management process, and to be provided with the support

appropriate to their needs in order to maintain a fully acceptable record of

attendance.


                                    Page 5 of 57
Trades Unions

There are many trades unions working within the council who can assist with

this process. Trades unions have a vital role to play in supporting their

members, by working with the council to enable employees to maintain the

attendance standards expected by the council. To this end it is recommended

that a trade union representative be contacted at the earliest stage in the formal

process so that appropriate advice, guidance and support can be offered to the

employee.

HR Units

The HR Shared Service Centre and Directorate HR units are on hand to all

employees, to offer support and guidance regarding this policy, including referral

to other experts as appropriate such as occupational health. Therefore, an HR

representative (and HR Shared Service Centre where appropriate) should be

contacted at the earliest possible stage in the process so that appropriate

advice, guidance and support can be given from the outset.

How to Apply the Policy

This policy and procedure applies to all council employees regardless of length

of service, with the exception of those employees serving a probationary period

(whose general performance and attendance/absence records etc, will be

assessed in accordance with the Probationary Policy – HR35). The Attendance

policy is commended to the governing bodies of aided and foundation schools

for application to their employees. Please refer to your Directorate HR for any

other HR Policies referred to in this document that are not currently available to

view on the HR Intranet site.


                                   Page 6 of 57
Levels of Authority

Throughout this policy document, there are many references to ‘manager’. For

the purposes of this policy ‘manager’ is the person delegated by the governing

body to perform the task. The manager could vary according to staffing

structures, but is likely to be the employee’s line manager or more senior

manager where appropriate. For further clarification please check with your

Directorate HR Unit.



Occupational Sick Pay

The payment of occupational sick pay is a 12 month rolling programme from the

first day of current sickness, based on an employee’s length of service and the

number of days’ sickness absence they have had in the year prior to the start of

a period of sickness (except where the absence is due to an industrial injury –

refer to your Directorate HR Unit). In order for these periods to be actioned, the

manager needs to have received appropriate certification. The current

occupational sick payments for staff within scope of the “Green Book” conditions

of service are:-

      during the first year of service – one month’s full pay and (after four

       month’s service) two month’s half pay;

      second year – two month’s full/two month’s half pay;

      third year – four month’s full/four month’s half pay;

      fourth and fifth years – five month’s full/five month’s half pay;

      sixth year onwards – six month’s full/six month’s half pay.

       (For Teachers, please refer to the “Burgundy Book” conditions of service)


                                   Page 7 of 57
The facility to extend sick pay can be used where someone is terminally ill, in

which case a governing body may, if this is felt to be helpful, extend for the full

period at the outset, i.e.

   -   20 plus years’ service = 100% of normal full pay entitlement

   -   15-20 years’ service = 75%

   -   10-15 years’ service = 50%



Accidents Whilst on Duty

An absence resulting from an accident at work will be managed as part of the

normal attendance management process but would not normally be included for

the purpose of deciding if a formal warning is due consideration. An absence of

this nature may impact on an entitlement to occupational sick pay, and

therefore, in these instances, you should refer to your Directorate HR unit for

further information at the earliest opportunity.



Managers are reminded that they are responsible for investigating all accidents

reported to them (see Policy HR52 - Accidents on Duty). After the investigation,

the manager should complete an Accident Investigation Report Form and send it

to their Directorate Health and Safety Team within the specified timescales.




                                    Page 8 of 57
Reporting Absence

When an employee is unable to attend their place of work because of illness or

injury they must personally notify their manager (or person appointed by their

manager) by telephone or email at the earliest possible opportunity on the first

day of absence. Notification should be made personally by the employee rather

than a relative or friend, although there may be exceptions to this (e.g.

hospitalisation, no access to telephone) but these must be reasonable and

justified.

Where an employee has more than one job, they have a responsibility to notify

each of their managers. This will be on the first day of their absence and ideally

before the beginning of their usual/scheduled duty wherever possible. Workers

on night shifts must endeavour to notify their manager (or person appointed by

their manager) during the day prior to the night shift commencing wherever

possible. If the manager (or person appointed by the manager) is not available

then the employee must leave a message and contact details to ensure that the

manager is able to return the call as soon as possible regarding their absence.

The manager must make alternative contact arrangements in the absence of a

telephone.

The manager or delegated representative will input the absence details into SAP

(3) or pass this absence information to the HR Shared Service Centre where

appropriate (in accordance with current practice), for scanning/recording

absence management information directly onto the system. The employee

________________________________________________________________

3 Until SAP has been rolled out to schools, they will continue to notify absences via the on-line

sickness system provided to them




                                          Page 9 of 57
should advise the manager (at the earliest opportunity) if the absence is as a

result of an accident at work (see Industrial Injury).

The employee must also agree to maintain regular contact with their manager

for the duration of the absence (usually the first, fourth and seventh day to begin

with, or every day in the case of some service providers). Managers must

ensure this contact continues and where the absence is longer and ongoing,

should arrange a minimum contact of every two weeks. A manager has every

right to initiate and maintain this contact with the employee under the terms of

this policy, and without fear of it being construed as harassment.



As previously stated, the only change to this is where the employee is in

hospital, or there is no access to a telephone, or where the employee is too ill to

telephone. In these cases, the employee has a responsibility to arrange that a

third party reports their absence to the manager (or person appointed by the

manager). This contact must be maintained throughout the absence (at least

every two weeks), and may include visits in person at an appropriate and

mutually agreed venue if the employee has indicated that they would welcome

this approach.



The manager has a responsibility to maintain service delivery, and a duty of care

to his/her team member that can only be carried out when he/she is fully aware

of the absence situation and related factors. Regular contact will help provide

this detail.




                                   Page 10 of 57
The manager receiving the initial phone call when the absence is reported

should obtain as much information as possible, but should not pressure an

individual to reveal more detail (regarding their sickness absence or disability)

than they wish to divulge. Employees choosing not to engage fully in the

attendance management process (including keeping Occupational Health Unit

(OHU) appointments), may have decisions regarding their absence and future

employment made on the basis of information already to hand. In these cases,

managers should refer to the Directorate HR Unit for advice.



Notifying Your Manager

Employees informing their manager that they are unable to attend work due to

sickness must disclose: -

       1. the nature of their absence and the date they became unfit for work

           (which may be in advance of the first day they were due to report for

           work);

       2. whether the absence is due to a notifiable disease/industrial

          injury/accident at work (if unsure, seek advice from your Directorate

          HR Unit). In such cases the manager will undertake the required

          notification to the HR Shared Service Centre, Health & Safety

          Executive (HSE)/Occupational Health as appropriate. (Refer to HR52

          Accidents Policy for further information);

       3. how long they expect to be off work;

       4. how they will maintain contact (in agreement with the manager);




                                  Page 11 of 57
      5. in the case of longer term absences, they should give the manager

           advance notice of their intention to return to work at the earliest

           opportunity;

      6. where appropriate, and at the earliest opportunity, a completed

           accident/incident form should be submitted (see Policy, HR52

           Accidents on Duty).

All employees must also submit:

1. a County Council self certificated absence form, to provide cover from the

   very first day of the sickness absence, and to cover the whole of the absence

   (this may pre-date the first day they were due to report for work). A self-

   certificate must be completed on each and every occasion of sickness

   absence (regardless of length of absence). The employee must complete

   and submit this to their manager as soon as possible and certainly on the

   first day of their return to work, covering the whole period of absence. Where

   the absence is ongoing, the self - certificate may be left open-dated.

   Employees can obtain these forms from their manager/HR Shared Service

   Centre as appropriate. The manager may use the return – to - work

   discussion as an opportunity to arrange completion where no self-certificate

   has yet been submitted;



2. A doctor's medical certificate from the eighth day of sickness, in support of

   their County Council self - certificate form. The employee has a

   responsibility to submit this to their manager from the date first due (eighth

   day), and at regular intervals for the duration of their sickness absence from

   work.


                                   Page 12 of 57
    For units with direct access to SAP:

The manager is responsible for ensuring the information is input onto SAP and

for either scanning the documents, or forwarding the documents for scanning to

the appropriate person in the school. Where the employee has more than one

job, they should refer to their Directorate HR Unit/HR SSC for advice.



    For units without access to SAP:

Absence information should be passed to the HR SSC /Directorate HR Unit

where appropriate (in accordance with current practice), for scanning/recording

absence management information directly onto the system.



Falsification/Abuse of Sickness Absence

Any intentionally false reporting of sickness absence or abuse of sickness

absence procedures can result in disciplinary action. (See Discipline Policy-

HR11)



Failure to Produce Medical Certificates

Failure to produce a medical certificate within five working days of it being due

will (except in exceptional circumstances) result in the withdrawal of

occupational sick-pay. In such cases, and in advance of taking this action, the

manager will attempt to contact the employee by telephone and/or letter in

advance, to prompt and obtain appropriate medical certification (standard letter

available). Following this (and in consultation with the Directorate HR Unit), sick-

pay will stop (retrospectively) from day one of the current absence where no


                                  Page 13 of 57
medical certificate has been forthcoming, or from the date the previous doctor’s

certificate expired. (4)



In this situation the employee will be recorded as being on unauthorised

absence and the circumstances investigated with a view to pursuing the matter

under the disciplinary procedure. In these circumstances, a letter (see standard

letters and documents) confirming the stoppage of sick-pay will be sent to the

employee by the Manager (in consultation with Directorate HR Unit / HR Shared

Service Centre).



4 Teachers will be considered in accordance with the provisions of the “Burgundy Book”

conditions of service (Section 4: paragraph 11.2)




                                         Page 14 of 57
Contact During The Absence

The manager is responsible for maintaining contact with the employee for the

duration of the absence, both as a duty of care and as part of the attendance

procedure detailed in this policy. Employees should generally be encouraged by

their manager to meet with them in a work place environment for the purpose of

discussing their welfare and ways in which their recovery and resumption of

work can be assisted. Managers need to consider aspects of accessibility when

agreeing a suitable venue. For the purpose of the meeting, an employee may be

accompanied by someone (e.g. union representative or friend). Where this

arrangement is not thought to be appropriate (following consultation with the

Directorate HR Unit), a home visit (or other suitable meeting place) must be

mutually agreed with the employee and confirmed in writing, in advance. If the

meeting is scheduled as part of the formal attendance process, the employee

may be accompanied by a union representative or work colleague.



Employees are expected to co-operate in attending this meeting, and failure to

do so will leave the governing body with no alternative but to make decisions

regarding absence and future employment, based only on the information

available at that time. (see standard letters)




                                   Page 15 of 57
Carrying Out a Welfare and/or Review Visit

Managers (in consultation with their Directorate HR Unit) should:

      contact the employee and make the necessary arrangements

       beforehand, not turn up unannounced or without the employee’s

       permission;



      ensure that the employee is given the opportunity to have an independent

       person or trades union representative present with them at the meeting;



      arrange to be accompanied during the visit;



      be prepared to meet at an independent venue if requested, although

       employees should generally be encouraged by their manager to meet

       with them in the work place for the purpose of discussing their absence

       and ways in which their recovery and resumption to work can be assisted

       (particularly so, where the meetings are formal);



      be prepared to make alternative arrangements if the employee has good

       reason for declining a meeting (such as arranging an alternative date or

       location for example);



      keep a record of the issues discussed and any agreement made, signed

       by and copied to the employee.




                                  Page 16 of 57
On Return from Absence

Units with direct access to SAP:

The school will input sick absence information directly onto SAP. Where the

employee has more than one job, you should refer to your Directorate HR

Unit/HR SSC for guidance.



Units without access to SAP:

The manager will inform the HR Shared Service Centre of the employee’s return

to work via email or SAP absence form or on-line system (in line with current

practice).

After every absence (regardless of duration) a manager will conduct a return –

to - work discussion with the employee, referring to this policy to see if the

attendance standards have been breached, thus requiring further action (see

Standard forms and letter pack - Bradford Factor).



Return to Work Discussion

The return – to - work (RTW) discussion is crucial in managing attendance.

It enables a manager to find out what caused the absence, and if possible to

address that cause, (including identifying any reasonable adjustment under the

terms of the Disability Discrimination Act DDA). The managers (or person

delegated by the manager) must discuss the absence face-to-face (or speak by

telephone, where a meeting is impracticable) with every returning employee as

soon as possible on the day of their return, having allowed them sufficient time

to settle in. The discussion must be carried out sympathetically and in private,

maintaining confidentiality and promoting an atmosphere of trust. It is important


                                   Page 17 of 57
to ensure consistency and uniformity of approach by allowing sufficient time

(avoid fitting them in before important meetings). Sensitivity will need to be

exercised in certain cases where professional counselling may be required

(identified in liaison with the Directorate HR Unit and Occupational Health) or

where the issue is potentially embarrassing or stressful to the employee.



Care should be taken to ensure that the discussions provide a constructive way

of assisting implementation of the policy, in order to reduce sickness absence

levels and encourage the employee to return to work. The opposite could easily

become the case if the discussions are seen as an empty formality without

having any real purpose, or as a threat to employees. Each employee must be

considered as an individual and treated with a thoughtful and caring approach. It

should be explained, for example, that no one expects people to work when they

are too ill to do so.



The scope and purpose of the discussion will be to:



   1. welcome the employee back to work and check that they/you consider

       them fit enough to return. If you have any doubt, you should refer to your

       Directorate HR unit for advice regarding enforced absence or medical

       suspension;

   2. confirm the reason for absence and explain the effect their absence has

       on the organisation;

   3. ensure that the correct details relating to the absence are recorded;




                                  Page 18 of 57
4. note that the employee has been missed and provide an update of his or

     her work and how it has been dealt with during the period of absence;

5. encourage them to take responsibility for their absence and then help

     them to identify any support mechanisms that would enable them to

     maintain a sustained return. This may include reasonable adjustment

     under the terms of the DDA;

6. update SAP or the online sickness entry system (or arrange for it to be

     updated where no direct access) to show that a RTW discussion has

     taken place, and keep a local record of the discussion taking place. (See

     standard letters and forms)



AND WHERE APPROPRIATE - (usually following frequent or longer

term absences):

1.     consider the cause of absence, to establish whether it is work-related.

       Complete a Risk Assessment where appropriate (see Risk

       Assessment Policy – HR39), and agree a plan of action with the

       employee to reduce the chances of the absence recurring and make it

       clear they must take responsibility for taking that action. (See Standard

       Letters & Forms);

2.     provide a forum to discuss any factors which may be affecting the

       welfare of the employee and examine these sympathetically and

       constructively;

3.     discuss any performance or capability problems that may directly or

       indirectly relate to their absence, and discuss ways in which to

       accommodate and/or remedy these practically in the workplace.


                               Page 19 of 57
     Employees do not need to be 100% fit or recovered before they can be

     accommodated back into the workplace (refer to HR39 Risk

     Assessment if any concerns);

4.   allow discussion, where appropriate, of the general attendance record

     of the individual. Discuss any emerging patterns of absence;

5.   reiterate the council’s attendance standards, ensuring that the

     employee understands the details of the policy, his or her own

     responsibilities and the possible consequences of failure to comply

     with the policy;

6.   enable the employee to ask for information, advice, and help, including

     reasonable adjustment under the terms of the DDA;

7.   consider referral to the Occupational Health Unit;

8.   if necessary, inform the employee that they have breached the

     attendance standards and that formal action will be followed up under

     this procedure;

9.   managers also need to update SAP or on-line system (or arrange for it

     to be done where there is no direct SAP access) to show that a RTW

     discussion has taken place. Managers should also complete a return to

     work action plan where appropriate (for example: when an improved

     attendance pattern has been discussed and agreed, or where support

     mechanisms are put in place to assist in maintaining a satisfactory

     attendance pattern. These should be scanned in to SAP or attached as

     a record of what was agreed. Paper records can be kept locally by the

     manager. (See Standard Letters & Forms for guidance)




                             Page 20 of 57
Any agreements like these must be signed by both parties and retained by the

manager with the absence record (copy to employee). Records of sickness

absence will be maintained within the SAP system, i.e. records of dates of

absence, number of days absent, and reasons.




                                 Page 21 of 57
Formal Attendance Standards

These are designed to encourage and help employees to develop appropriate

patterns of attendance, and all employees are monitored against them by

managers, informally through return – to - work discussions, and where

necessary, through the formal stages of this policy.



Unacceptable Attendance Levels.


Where an employee’s attendance becomes unsatisfactory in line with this

procedure, and weighted in accordance with the Bradford Factor scoring system

(see table below), formal action must be considered by the manager (in

consultation with their Directorate HR unit), regardless of whether the employee

has already been spoken to about attendance informally as part of the return –

to - work discussion.



The Bradford score is calculated by looking at how many periods of absence

and how many days’ sickness absence (in total) a person has had in a rolling 12

month period. The following formula is then applied to calculate the score:

           No. of absences x No. of absences x Total number of days.

So, if a person had 3 separate occasions of sickness absence, taking two days

off sick each time (6 days in total) the score would be calculated as follows:

3 x 3 x 6 = 54. (see Standard forms and letter pack - Bradford Factor for more

details)



The manager should refer to their Directorate HR Unit prior to taking any formal

action, although it must be noted that this process and any subsequent actions

                                  Page 22 of 57
are owned wholly by the manager who has a responsibility to ensure that

appropriate action is taken, including full consideration of any normally

discountable absences relating to such things as disability or maternity.

Absence may be regarded as warranting formal action if an employee, over a 12

month rolling period, attains a score of:


       Points Score            Action Required By Manager


  Score of at least 150        Stage 1
  (e.g. this could equal 4     The manager formally reviews the employee’s
  absences totalling 10        sickness absence record in consideration of
  days, or 5 absences          issuing a written warning.
  totalling 6 days in a 12
  month rolling period).

  Score of at least 500        Stage 2
  (e.g. 5 absences totalling   Following a Stage 1 warning being issued, the
  20 days or 7 absences        manager formally reviews the employee’s
  totalling 11 days in a 12    sickness absence record with regards to issuing
  month rolling period).       final written warning.



  Score of at least 875        Stage 3
  (e.g. in excess of 7         Manager formally considers sickness absence
  absences in a 12 month       record, regards dismissal.
  rolling period).


Probationers

In deciding whether these standards are met for employees whose probationary

periods were completed recently, consideration should be given to attendance

during the whole of the employment, not just employment from the date that

employment was confirmed.




                                   Page 23 of 57
Formal Attendance Procedure

The formal attendance procedure consists of three stages leading up to (and

including) consideration of dismissal. The stages are progressive and intended

to remind and enforce the attendance standards that are expected from all

employees, with support mechanisms to encourage this.



Return - to - work discussions which take place following every absence provide

an informal opportunity for managers to bring unsatisfactory attendance patterns

to the attention of individuals, and to explore opportunities and interventions

aimed at improving attendance and avoiding formal action. Therefore an

individual must never unknowingly find himself or herself under consideration of

the formal attendance procedure (except perhaps where their absences have

been closely consecutive).



Stage One - (Score of at least 150 points in a rolling 12 month period)

When an employees’ attendance first becomes a concern (with a score of at

least 150 points on the Bradford Scale), their manager (usually their line

manager) will review the attendance record and consider the actions appropriate

at this stage. These considerations must be well documented by the manager

and retained on file against the absence record; they can be scanned or

attached as a document in SAP with paper records being retained locally. (see

standard form). Should the manager decide to proceed with a formal meeting

over and above the return to work discussion, this must be arranged within 10

working days of an employee returning to work. In exceptional circumstances

(e.g. during disciplinary action), it may take longer to arrange, however it is


                                   Page 24 of 57
essential that this is done as soon as reasonably practical. If the employee is

again absent on sick leave before the formal meeting is held, then that stage will

be arranged on their return from sick leave within 10 working days.

Note: Where an employee has previously received two Stage One written

warnings within the preceding 2 years but attained the required level of

improvement during each of the six month warning periods, they must be

formally advised by their manager that further failure to maintain an acceptable

level of attendance will automatically be addressed under Stage Two of the

procedure.



      The manager must give their employee notification of the formal meeting

       in writing (minimum of 10 days notice), clearly stating that it is being

       convened under the formal attendance procedure (see standard letters

       and documents for guidance notes).



      The employee has a right to be accompanied at the formal meeting by

       their union representative or a colleague.



      Details of the absence record should be brought to the attention of the

       employee. When shown their absence record, an employee may be

       genuinely surprised and this can result in improving attendance at work.



      The employee should be invited to offer any explanation as to the

       reasons for their unsatisfactory attendance record that they feel should be

       taken into account.


                                   Page 25 of 57
   The manager will attempt to establish whether or not there is a

    contributory underlying medical, welfare or work problem, referring to

    Occupational Health where appropriate. Some absences may be covered

    by DDA and so Managers need to determine these with assistance from

    Directorate HR and/or OHU, and decide if appropriate equipment is being

    made available/required for the employee to be able to complete the

    tasks demanded by the job.



   Following the meeting and after due consideration (i.e. adjournment), if

    the manager decides to issue the first stage warning (after first consulting

    with their Directorate HR Unit), the individual should be advised of the

    decision and it should be confirmed in writing identifying the

    improvement (monitored monthly) that he/she must achieve if wishing to

    avoid further formal action within the attendance procedure.(see standard

    letters and documents)



   Notes of the meeting and a decision taken to issue or not issue the formal

    warning must be well documented by the manager (see standard letters

    & documents) and locally retained on file against the absence record. The

    Directorate HR Unit should be informed when this has been done.



   Where the manager chooses to issue a written warning at stage one of

    the attendance procedure, the employee will have a right of appeal




                               Page 26 of 57
    (within 10 working days of the warning being issued) to a committee of

    governors.

   Managers should keep the employee informed and keep good records of

    their contact with the employee, as they may be required to show (at a

    later date) that they have been reasonable, open and consistent in the

    way they have dealt with each employee in the application of the

    Managing Attendance at Work Policy.



   Depending on the nature of the illness, an employee may (in exceptional

    circumstances) choose to discuss the sickness absence with a manager

    of the same gender or with a HR representative (either way, the

    employee’s manager needs to be kept fully informed of the facts).

    Alternatively, a HR representative may be present at the meeting with the

    employees manager. The reason for absence needs to be declared, but

    the emphasis should be on understanding how the associated medical

    conditions will prevent normal working, so that these problems can be

    addressed in a practical way. Employees need to be reassured that their

    private medical details can and will remain private and that it is only the

    impact of these on their work and ability to attend that need to be

    understood, The discussion should not lead to employees feeling forced

    to reveal intimate details of medical problems or diagnoses with line

    managers.




                               Page 27 of 57
Stage Two     (A score of at least 500 points)

If an employee who has been given a 1st Stage Warning continues to incur

absences which lead to a score of at least 500 on the Bradford Scale, their

manager may then decide (in consultation with their Directorate HR Unit) to call

them to a stage two meeting with themselves or with a more senior manager.

The purpose of the meeting is to advise the employee that their attendance is

still unsatisfactory, and furthermore, that should they incur further absences

totalling a score of at least 875 points, they will be considered under stage three

of the attendance procedure at which point their dismissal will be considered.

(Follow same meeting process as per stage one).



Where the manager or senior manager chooses to issue a final written warning

at stage two of the attendance procedure, the employee will have a right of

appeal to a committee of governors, (usually within 10 working days of the

warning being issued, but this may be reasonably extended to provide

opportunity for union representation)



Stage Three – Dismissal (A score of at least 875 points)

After receiving a second stage warning, if there is insufficient improvement in the

employee’s attendance and they attain a score of at least 875 on the Bradford

Scale, and (following consultation with their Directorate HR unit) their manager

considers that dismissal may be appropriate, then the employee should be

advised accordingly by the manager in writing (see standard letters and

documents) that his/her dismissal is being considered.




                                  Page 28 of 57
At this stage the employee must be provided with a full record of the absences

and warnings that have led to stage three dismissal consideration, along with

the manager’s written notification. This notification should invite reasons (in

writing) why the employee considers they should not be dismissed (allowing five

working days from the receipt of notification, for them to make this written

response), also inviting the employee to put his/her case forward at a

hearing/meeting before a committee of governors (arranged by their manager

and allowing a minimum notice of 10 working days). At the meeting, the

employee may be accompanied by their union representative or a colleague.

The purpose of this meeting is to consider the inability or failure of the employee

to fulfil their contractual duties by virtue of unacceptable levels of absence. (See

standard letters & documents for guidelines).



If the employee declines to attend the meeting or is prevented from attending,

the meeting may still proceed in their absence, at the discretion of the person or

those conducting the meeting. If non-attendance is due to sickness, the

employee must produce a medical certificate, which clearly states that they

cannot physically attend the meeting.



When the meeting has been held, the governors’ committee will make a decision

regarding dismissal. If the decision is to dismiss, the employee will be advised

accordingly in writing and informed of the last day of service, setting out their

appeal rights to the governors’ appeals committee.




                                   Page 29 of 57
The employee will have a right of appeal within 10 working days of the notice

being issued. The expiry or otherwise of an employee’s payments under the

sickness absence scheme will not affect the decision.



Decision Not To Dismiss at Stage 3.

If the first committee decides that dismissal is not justified or the appeal is

upheld, the employee will return to stage two of the procedure, the attendance

standards appropriate to that stage will apply, and other measures and/or

reasonable adjustments will be considered.



The decision to dismiss at stage three is not a medical one, but a managerial

one based on among other things, medical opinion and/or advice regarding

capability and fitness for work. However, while the absence of a medical

diagnosis or prognosis does not preclude the manager taking action to dismiss

an employee, nonetheless without a medical referral an employment tribunal

could view the dismissal as unfair. Managers should not make medical

judgements and are advised (in this situation) to refer cases (prior to decision) to

the Directorate HR Unit and/or Occupational Health Unit in order to establish if

an underlying medical condition does exist. The clear aim, however, is for

managers to manage and for occupational health advisers to provide advice or

interpretation about the effect of health on work on their behalf and for the

benefit of employees.



Managers need to base their actions on a sound understanding of the issues on

which their decisions will be based, and as neither managers nor employees are


                                   Page 30 of 57
expected to be experts in the field of health and fitness for work, the council

endeavours to provide specialists who are. This is done for the benefit of both

parties, and to provide the independent and impartial specialist advice that is

needed to resolve problems in this area. When this is needed, the occupational

health service should be approached as advisers to enable managers to make

better informed decisions. Managers should consult and discuss each case with

their Directorate HR team during these investigations.

Where an employee fails to co-operate with efforts by the manager to establish

the true medical position (for example – fails to attend at the OHU) a decision

concerning future employment will be made based on the information currently

available.



Termination of Contract – with regards to the inability to fulfil the terms of

contract on grounds of sickness absence.


The Council/School may (having regard to all circumstances of the case)

consider termination of the contract on these grounds (at any stage during the

absence but usually no later than nine months into the absence), where an

employee who is on long term sickness absence:

             -   does not meet the criteria for early retirement on grounds of ill-

                 health,

             -   is not able to return to work in the near future, and

             -   where re-deployment is not appropriate or where it has not been

                 possible to redeploy the person.

Application of the policy must be consistent across the workforce.

Where this is considered, the employee concerned will be fully consulted and

                                     Page 31 of 57
a formal meeting on the basis of capability will be arranged to discuss

consideration of dismissal.

If a decision is made following the meeting that it is not reasonable to expect

the authority to wait any longer for the employee to return to work and a

decision is taken to dismiss, then notice of dismissal will be served in writing to

the employee (see standard letters) The employee will have a right of appeal

(within 10 working days of the notice being issued) to the governing body’s

appeals committee.



Any decision of this type, will be taken only having regard to a number of

different factors which will be carefully considered before any action is taken.

The expiry or otherwise of an employee’s payments under the sickness

scheme will not affect the decision, or when that decision is made.



Sick Pay and the Right to Notice

Employees are not entitled to be paid twice for the same period. If, therefore,

during the period of notice they are sick and they are paid sick pay by the

County Council, the manager must reduce the notice pay (based on contractual

hours) by the amount of sick pay being received by the employee provided it is

in respect of the same period.




                                   Page 32 of 57
Expired Attendance Warnings

Stage One: A copy of the first stage written warning should be kept on file, but

will lapse after six months, subject to satisfactory attendance standards being

maintained. Where an employee has previously received two stage one written

warning within the preceding two years but attained the required level of

improvement during each of the six - month warning periods, they should be

formally advised by their manager that further failure to maintain an acceptable

level of attendance will automatically be addressed under stage two of the

procedure.



Stage Two: A copy of this written warning should be kept on file but will lapse

after nine months, subject to satisfactory attendance standards being

maintained.



Stage Three: Where a decision not to dismiss is made, a copy of the written

warning should be kept on file but will lapse after 12 months, subject to

satisfactory attendance standards being maintained.




                                  Page 33 of 57
Types of Sickness Absence and How to Manage It

Much absence that is categorised as sickness absence may actually cover

various other sorts of problems, from personal motivational issues to welfare

problems at home. When considering ill health, however, it is worthwhile for

managers to try to categorise causes for absence into one of four broad

categories. Managers should look at sickness across their work area and

consider whether a more inclusive and supportive style of management might

encourage participation from employees and be helpful in keeping sickness to

minimum levels.



Minor potentially recurrent ailments: These are often common or everyday

ailments, symptoms or conditions that can affect everyone and can recur, such

as sore throats, coughs and colds. To a degree these are inevitable for all

people but should only interfere with work on a relatively infrequent basis for

most people and be managed under this attendance policy with the expectation

that absence will not reach unreasonable levels nor prevent the employee

providing regular and effective service in their post.



Intermittent recurrent ailments: This type of illness will typically be things such

as bad back or asthma etc, and might often be covered by the DDA. Managers

should be particularly vigilant in ensuring that the correct equipment and training

is provided in these cases.



Non-recurrent ailments: These are one-off events that can affect attendance

but are not expected to be recurring issues in a person’s health. Examples



                                   Page 34 of 57
might be a serious road traffic accident, a broken leg or minor surgery. They are

usually addressed as one-off events that may have no implications for future

service once resolved, so unlike minor potentially recurrent ailments might not

necessarily be seen as indicative of past and future attendance patterns once

resolved. Managers may agree to look at how these absences contribute to the

attendance pattern in that light and exercise discretion when looking at the

element of overall lost time due to such causes. These conditions need not

always be “discounted” when looking at overall attendance, however, and

particularly if attendance has been generally poor then they too should be taken

into account when deciding on the management of poor attendance. Also,

seemingly one-off events can become recurrent, or come to give an indication of

ongoing and future absence patterns that may be unreasonable, such as with

regular, recurrent sickness absence in the face of pressures or relationship

problems at home or at work, multiple acute back injuries or seemingly repeated

episodes of normally rare or non-recurring infections (such as influenza).


Underlying medical problems: These represent ongoing medical conditions

or disabilities that may plausibly and unavoidably prevent the affected person

from being likely to achieve the same level of attendance as those unaffected.

Reasonably, this would lead a good employer to recognise the additional

contribution to normal absence patterns that can arise from such conditions and

to recognise the need for these to be taken fully into account when managing

attendance. Certain conditions such as epilepsy, asthma or certain mental

health problems may lead in some of those significantly affected to interruptions

to work in a way that is additional to what might otherwise be expected and



                                  Page 35 of 57
regarded as reasonable. A reasonable employer would be expected to take this

into account when deciding on whether attendance is “reasonable” or not, and

will also be expected to make reasonable adjustment to such a situation,

particularly if the underlying problem amounts to a disability under the terms of

the Disability Discrimination Act. A necessary reasonable adjustment might be to

accept a higher than normal rate of sickness absence in those so affected.

(It is not possible to provide an exclusive list of what these DDA absences might

be; you should refer to your Directorate HR Unit for advice on these occasions).




                                  Page 36 of 57
Short Term Absence


Frequent short-term absences may be a symptom of problems at home, or

workplace - related problems such as lack of motivation, job dissatisfaction,

stress, or problems with colleagues or managers (see policies relating to

Compassionate Leave, Dependants Leave, Risk Assessment and Staff

Counselling, Harassment and Bullying as appropriate). Occasionally, this type of

absence can result from alcohol or drug abuse, and these cases should be dealt

with according to the guidelines set out in the Alcohol and Substance Misuse

Policy.



Short term absences are often sporadic and attributed to minor potentially

recurrent ailments so in most cases appear unconnected. In cases where a

pattern of absence emerges however, or where there are what the manager

considers to be an unreasonable number of days’ absence, the manager may

need to discuss this informally with the employee as part of the return to work

discussion. The manager should remind the employee of the attendance

standards expected and the possible consequences of failing to meet these.

(See standard letters and documents for, guidelines on return – to - work

discussions and RTW discussion form). However, if the attendance standards

have been breached (See table on page 23 of this Policy), the approach will

need to be dealt with formally as part of the managing attendance process (see

formal attendance standards page 22).




                                  Page 37 of 57
Long Term Absence - single absences of (usually) more than 20 days

The purpose of contact is to demonstrate concern and support, ensure that the

employee complies with sickness reporting procedures resulting in correct

sickness payments being made and to explore options (in consultation with

Directorate HR) for helping the employee to return safely to work using

mechanisms such as phased returns, job modification or the offer of temporary

alternative duties. Managers should also discuss any need for referral to the

Occupational Health Unit with the employee as and when this becomes

appropriate, to provide assistance in facilitating a return to work, and should

emphasise the importance of ensuring OHU appointments are kept by

employees.



Occupational Health may be able to provide advice about options for assisting in

the employee’s return to work. A manager does not have to wait until the end of

a certificate or for a formal attendance warning to become due in order to make

a referral, as often early referral may be more beneficial to the employee in

assisting their return to work. Managers are also encouraged to maintain open

communication with the employee, and embark on a system of absence

management through regular case management discussions, involving OHU

and their Directorate HR.



Managers should initially seek advice from their Directorate HR representative

regarding their intention to refer, and the reason for referral, and this should be

discussed with the employee. It is in the best interest of all concerned to try and

resolve sickness absence matters early and co-operatively as early intervention


                                   Page 38 of 57
is usually more effective and helpful than late intervention, when achieving a

return - to - work becomes more difficult. Referral to the Occupational Health

Unit to obtain information and advice would usually be made for cases where an

employee has been absent for 20 days or more but attempts to understand and

react positively to the absence should already be well established between the

manager and employee before this stage is reached.



Stress

In cases where an employee is certified by their doctor as suffering from stress,

anxiety or depression, then it is recommended that contact with the employee to

explore the problem is commenced early and that the employee’s referral to the

Occupational Health Unit or (self-referral) to Staff Care Counsellors is

considered as soon as possible. (Your Directorate HR representative will advise

accordingly). At the same time, managers should try to understand what is

making the employee feel unable to cope and should consider the question “is

there anything that I am doing that may be adding to their stress?” (see HR94

Stress Policy for stress questionnaire and guidance on stress risk assessment).



Managers should take the opportunity to regularly review cases of long term

absence (at least bi-monthly), engaging the full support and advice of the OHU,

their Directorate HR Unit and Health & Safety.




                                  Page 39 of 57
Long Term Prospects

At an appropriate time, and not later than the six - month stage of a continuous

sickness absence, the manager (with advice from their Directorate HR Unit) in

normal circumstances shall make an assessment of the case based on the

following considerations:

      any medical advice provided by the Occupational Health Service;

      the nature of the illness and any medical information available;

      the length of absence to date and what is known about the likelihood and

       timing of any return to work;

      the need to have the work done which the employee is engaged to do;

      the feasibility of continuing with any temporary arrangement;

      the employee’s length of service;

      can the service unit cope with the level of disruption caused by the

       employee’s sickness absence, and if so, then for how much longer? Any

       action determined by the manager must be well considered and

       justifiable;

      any other relevant circumstances, including adjustments under the terms

       of the Disability Discrimination Act (DDA).



Following this review, the manager should discuss their findings with the

relevant Directorate HR Unit in order to explore available options with a view to

progressing the case, including termination where appropriate.




                                  Page 40 of 57
Other Considerations

If an employee is unable to get to work for some other reason e.g. caring

responsibilities, then the manager must discuss this with the employee in order

to identify the problem and what assistance may be offered, such as change to

work pattern, dependants leave, compassionate leave, staff counselling etc (see

policies regarding Compassionate Leave; Dependants Leave; Risk Assessment

and Staff Counselling).



Disability Discrimination Act (DDA) 1995 & 2005.

The DDA gives rights to disabled people who have, or have had, a disability

which makes it difficult for them to carry out normal day-to-day activities. The

term ‘disability’ covers both physical and mental impairments that have a

substantial and a long-term (i.e. has lasted or is expected to last for at least 12

months) effect on the person’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities.



It is unlawful for an employer to discriminate against a person where, for a

reason “related” to their having a disability, they receive (unjustified) less

favourable treatment than they would otherwise receive, or if the employer fails

(unjustifiably) to meet any duty to make a “reasonable adjustment” in relation to

a disabled person under Section 6 of the Act. The Act also covers people with

past substantial or long-term impairments (who have since recovered) in cases

where it is likely that the impairment could reoccur. People with cancer, HIV

infection or multiple sclerosis are also considered to be disabled, whether

or not the condition has an effect on their ability to carry out normal day -

to-day activities, as too are people with progressive conditions who can show


                                   Page 41 of 57
that the condition has, or has had, an effect on his or her ability to carry out

normal day-to-day activities, and will at some stage in the future have a

substantial adverse effect on his or her ability to carry out day-to-day

activities.



A manager who is concerned about an employee’s sickness absence

record should always first discuss with the employee (ideally, as part of a

return to work discussion) difficulties that they may be experiencing in

doing their job. Then together, they should agree a plan of action that

could include obtaining medical reports and identifying reasonable

adjustments that might:



      enable the employee to return to an acceptable pattern of

       attendance, reducing the number or length of absences; or

       help the manager accommodate the absences.



Reasonable adjustments may prevent sickness absences in the first

place, as well as enabling employees to carry out their jobs more

effectively, e.g. adapted keyboards and voice-recognition software may

help to prevent, or limit, repetitive strain injury (RSI). Advice is available to

employees via the Access to Work Team (Job Centre).


Managers are not required to become experts on disability but they

must ensure they do not unlawfully discriminate.




                                 Page 42 of 57
Managers should use discretion when assessing absence against these criteria

and in deciding how to react to poor attendance. Advice should be sought from

Directorate HR Units and Occupational Health Unit, giving people the

opportunity to discuss with medical experts in confidence where an underlying

medical condition may be present that needs to be taken into account.



Staff Care Counselling

Employees should be made aware of the Staff Care Counselling Service which

is available to staff (see policy on Staff Counselling).



Occupational Health Unit – (See OHU referral process)

Managers should discuss any need for referral to the Occupational Health Unit

with the employee as and when this becomes appropriate, to provide assistance

in facilitating a return to work, and emphasise the importance of ensuring OHU

appointments are kept by employees.


The Occupational Health Unit may be able to assist both managers and

employees who are facing a situation in which a health problem is affecting

fitness to work by:



       providing independent and impartial specialist assessment and advice to

        both parties about the effect of any health condition or other relevant

        problem on current and future fitness for their work or attendance;

       providing advice about how job modification, alternative work or

        workplace rehabilitation may help an employee return safety to work and

        so cut short avoidable continuing sickness absence;

                                   Page 43 of 57
      providing some specialist rehabilitation services to facilitate and promote

       safe recovery, when this is clinically indicated;



      if consent is given, obtain reports or advice from the employee’s NHS

       doctors to help to facilitate safe rehabilitation at work, and ensure that

       where this is necessary, decisions about returning to work or continued

       employment take those doctors’ opinions into account;



      providing specialist medical assessment to facilitate health and safety risk

       assessments where this becomes necessary in the management of

       individual cases.



The referral form used to obtain specialist advice from the Occupational Health

Unit for managers and employees effectively gives clear guidance as to the

nature of questions that can be posed to the Unit and answered by them without

breaching any rules of medical confidentiality. These questions also therefore

indicate the sort of areas that managers will need to consider with respect to

fitness for work, when determining a balanced, well-considered and evidence-

based response to ongoing sickness absence.

The questions that can be put to the Occupational Health Unit to help managers

and employees understand the basis for any decisions that have to be made

about future employment will include the following:



      What is the likely date of the employee’s return to work?


                                   Page 44 of 57
     Is there likely to be any residual incapacity that will affect their work after

      returning?

     If there will be a residual incapacity after their return, for how long is that

      likely to last?

     Is there any specific limitation that should be taken into account in

      employing or re-deploying this employee?

     Is there any underlying medical reason that may contribute to an

      unsatisfactory attendance record for this employee?

     Is the employee likely to be capable of regular and effective service in the

      future?

     Is there evidence that the work environment may be contributing to

      sickness absence?

     Is there any additional assistance that the Occupational Health

      Practitioner believes might help this employee return to their work, or that

      might reduce future absence?



Managers must also consider:-

     Is there any alternative work available for the employee on a temporary

      (rehabilitation) basis or, are more permanent adjustments needed that

      require an adjustment to contractual/pay details?

     Reasonable changes to the work environment (in consultation with

      Directorate HR).

     Has the individual been consulted regarding proposed

      changes/alternative work opportunities?




                                   Page 45 of 57
   Could a reasonable employer be expected to wait any longer before

    being in a position to make a decision about the possibility of future

    employability and, if so, is there a reasonable expectation that waiting

    longer will lead to the employee becoming able to recover and return to

    work?




                               Page 46 of 57
Returning to Work – Rehabilitation and other flexible solutions

In assisting an employee to return to work Managers may consider:

      A phased return to the workplace (5). The manager and employee may

       develop and agree a temporary return to work programme (in liaison with

       Occupational Health/Directorate HR/Health & Safety); such as initially

       reduced hours building over an agreed period up to the contracted hours.

       The manager is responsible for monitoring the process to ensure

       employees are coping and comfortable in moving to the next stage. The

       employees pay should be restored to full from the start of the programme

       which may extend for a period of up to 4 weeks (in consultation with

       Directorate HR and Occupational Health). If at the end of that period the

       employee is still unable to work to their contract, review the situation

       again (in consultation with Directorate HR and Occupational Health) and

       consider alternative approaches such as using banked flexi-time, annual

       leave, varying the contract or redeployment (where the medical evidence

       from Occupational Health suggests that it would be appropriate due to the

       person’s incapacity to fulfil their current role.)

    Where employees have available annual leave, they may choose (in

       accordance with the needs of the unit and in agreement with their

       manager) to take some of that leave during the rehabilitation period in

       order to ease their transition back into the work place. (see policy HR2

       Annual Leave for entitlements and agreements regarding carrying leave

       forward).



   5 See schools’ policy on “phased returns” on the SLN


                                    Page 47 of 57
   Temporary adjustments (up to 4 weeks at Managers discretion, in

    consultation with Directorate HR or on recommendation from OHU) or

    permanent contractual adjustment to hours to accommodate either

    reduction or flexible working patterns.



   Acquiring or modifying workplace or equipment (employing safe systems

    of work, work place assessments etc).



   Temporarily re-allocating some of the work.



   Allowing the employee to work from home on a temporary or permanent

    basis (in accordance with the Homeworking Policy HR21 framework and

    guidelines).



   Redeployment of the employee to suitable alternative employment within

    the County Council may also be considered in appropriate circumstances.

    (see Redeployment Policy and consult your Directorate HR Unit).




                               Page 48 of 57
Sickness following an accident at Work

This type of absence would not normally count towards the Bradford Factor

score but please consult your Directorate HR Unit.



If the employee is absent through illness connected with an accident at work (at

the time of the accident or following it), the employee will need to inform their

manager if they have not already done so. The employee must ensure that they

complete an accident report form so that their accident is properly recorded.

Failure to do so may impact on their future benefits. Consult the Directorate

Health & Safety Adviser for advice. See Accidents on Duty Policy.



Accidents Away From the Workplace

The appropriate indemnity forms should be completed by employees incurring

absence, following an accident away from the workplace. The Directorate HR

Unit should be consulted (regarding recovery of sick-pay) where an accident

involving a third party is known to be the cause of absence.



Maternity - Related Sickness Absence

Absences related to pregnancy/maternity would not normally count towards the

Bradford Factor score but please consult your Directorate HR Unit. Ensure that

a risk assessment has been carried out, and if not, then do so immediately.




                                   Page 49 of 57
Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if an employee fails to produce a medical certificate?

A completed self-certificate is required to cover the absence starting from day

one of the absence period and should be submitted as soon as possible or on

return to work, or completed as part of the return – to - work discussion.

However, failure to produce a doctor’s medical certificate within five working

days of it being due will (except in exceptional circumstances) result in the

stoppage of sick-pay (in consultation with Directorate HR Units). Exceptional

circumstances might include a situation such as urgent admission to hospital, for

example.

What happens if I am unable to contact a member of my team who is away

from work sick?

The employee is responsible for contacting his or her manager to both report

their absence and to establish a means of regular contact/update. If a manager

has made every reasonable attempt to contact their employee, but remains

unsuccessful, then they will have to make decisions regarding their team

members’ absence and continued future employment based on the information

already to hand (in consultation with the Directorate HR Unit).



What happens if my team member does not agree to a welfare visit?

If a member of your team refuses to meet to discuss their welfare/absence with

you, without good reason, then you as their manager will have to make

decisions regarding their absence and continued future employment based on

information already to hand (in consultation with the Directorate HR Unit).




                                  Page 50 of 57
What happens if my team member refuses to attend an Occupational

Health appointment?

Whilst attempts are made by Occupational Health to accommodate individual

needs regarding appointment scheduling, it is in the best interest of both the

council and the employee to ensure that an appointment is scheduled promptly,

within a reasonable timeframe (usually no longer than three weeks). If an

appointment made on this basis is refused, then decisions regarding that team

member’s absence and continued future employment will have to be made

based on the information already to hand (in consultation with the Directorate

HR Unit).



Do we have to discount all disability-related absences for the purposes of

attendance management?

No. Under your duty of care to employees, it is important that you understand

the nature of the absence(s) in order that you can provide encouragement and

practical support (which may include reasonable adjustment under the terms of

the DDA) in an appropriate way suited to their specific needs. However, you

should not pressure an individual to reveal more detail (regarding their sickness

absence or disability) than they wish to divulge.



Where an automatic review has been triggered as part of the attendance

management process, it is important that you have these discussions to

understand and identify where a reasonable adjustment might be appropriate. In

this instance, a reasonable adjustment might be to allow the individual a greater

number of sick days than someone without the disability. It is unlawful to


                                  Page 51 of 57
discriminate against an individual on the grounds of their disability. Advice

should be sought from Directorate HR Units and Occupational Health Unit,

giving people the opportunity to discuss with medical experts in confidence

where an underlying medical condition may be present that needs to be taken

into account.



An employee wants to take ill-health retirement but we think they can carry

on working with some reasonable adjustment. Do they have a right?

They only have a right to early ill health retirement if they meet the requirements

of the policy and the conditions permitted within the pension scheme. In most

cases, if the employee cannot do their job but can be found suitable alternative

work as a reasonable adjustment, they will not be entitled to take early ill health

retirement.



What happens if an employee who has been absent long-term, is able to

return to a temporary rehabilitation duty, but the manager is unable to

organise an appropriate duty in time?

Where an employee is able to resume work in a useful capacity (following a

discussion with their manager to agree a rehabilitation programme) they would

usually no longer be classified as sick. In these circumstances (and where the

employee has given reasonable notice of their intention to resume work, usually

at least two weeks) an employee would be regarded as being on authorised

absence (with pay) until such time as the manager was able to organise the

appropriate work or duty. In this situation, managers should refer to their

Directorate HR Unit.


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What if an employee fails to meet the Attendance Standards?

In this situation the employee’s manager may, as part of his/her consideration of

the case, decide to formally meet with the employee to discuss their

unacceptable absence levels, and dependant on their findings, then issue a

formal stage one warning which will remain active on their absence record for

nine months. An employee who continues in failing to meet the attendance

standards will progress to stage two of the process and eventually to stage

three, where their dismissal will be considered.



What happens if an employee triggers consecutive stage one warnings

but falls short of stage two consideration?

Where an employee has previously received two stage one written warnings

within the preceding two years but attained the required level of improvement

during each of the six - month warning periods, they must be formally advised

by their manager that further failure to maintain an acceptable level of

attendance will automatically be addressed under stage two of the procedure.



How long does a formal stage warning last ?

A formal stage one warning remains active on the individual’s absence record

for a period of six months (nine months for a stage two), at which time it will be

removed unless other absence warnings follow.




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How will a manager know when to implement the different stages?

A manager is responsible (with the support of their Directorate HR Unit) for

managing the attendance of his/her own team. Where managers have direct

access to SAP reports, they will run a monthly report to identify unacceptable

absence levels within their team (ie Bradford scores of at least 150). As an

interim measure, managers without such access may have these reports

provided to them or refer to their own local records where maintained.



What if an employee feels that they have been treated unreasonably?

The employee has a right of appeal to a committee of governors.



Where an employee chooses to undergo an aspirational medical

procedure (eg, cosmetic surgery), is this classed as sickness absence?

An aspirational procedure such as cosmetic surgery would not be classed as

sickness absence, and in this instance the employee would be expected to

make alternative arrangements to cover its duration (usually, by taking annual

leave). However, if a situation occurs where unplanned medical complications

follow such a procedure, and on medical advice the employee is delayed in

returning to work, then advice should be sought from the Directorate HR Unit on

how this should be treated for absence purposes.

What if an employee reports sick prior to the completion of a disciplinary

investigation?

This would not usually stand in the way of an investigation continuing or taking

place; however advice should always be sought from your Directorate HR Unit.

If an individual is suspended for the duration of the investigation, they would


                                  Page 54 of 57
usually remain suspended until such time as a decision is made regarding their

employment (even if an employee reports sick during their suspension).

However, following the investigation, if the employee is still sick at the time they

are asked to resume work, the absence will then change to reflect the sickness

absence.

If on the other hand, a disciplinary issue comes to light whilst the employee is

absent through sickness, the reason for absence remains as sick until fit to

resume work (when the changed status would depend on what stage the

investigation was at and whether an outcome was known).



What happens if an employee reports sick on the day that industrial action

is due to take place?

In these circumstances you should refer to your Directorate HR Unit for advice.



Are hospital appointments classed as sick absence?

Generally speaking, hospital appointments would not usually be classed as

sickness absence but this depends on the nature and/or duration of the

appointment. Always refer to your Directorate HR Unit for advice



Are part-day absences counted for the purposes of the formal Attendance

Management process?

The council acknowledges the commitment of employees who make an effort to

attend work even when they may be feeling a little ‘under the weather’, but

understands that this can sometimes result in a part-day absence occurring. For

this reason, part-day absences would normally be discounted in respect of your


                                   Page 55 of 57
Bradford Scoring. However, if the level of part day absence becomes

unmanageable or your absence record becomes unacceptable this privilege can

be revoked with prior notification at any time.

What if I am unable to find some of the HR Policies referred to in this

document?

Some policy reviews may not have been completed by the time this policy is

published, and so they may not be available to view on the SLN. If this is the

case, then please refer to your Directorate HR team for advice.



Standard Letters and Documents

See separate attachment for full list of available standard letters and documents.



Accountabilities

All levels of management have a responsibility to help maintain good attendance

standards. Statistics by themselves will not achieve anything. Action must also

be taken to monitor the information produced to assess any potential problem

areas and look at how best to rectify them. The responsibility for monitoring of

absence day - to - day will rest with supervisors and managers, as they are in

the best position to create a good working atmosphere and to address any

issues which may be leading to high levels of absence. They also influence the

behaviour of individuals within that environment.



Further Advice and Information

This policy document is for general guidance only. If you need any further

advice on how to apply this policy please contact your Directorate HR team.



                                  Page 56 of 57
Further information and Advice

Further background information on this topic is available on the following

Websites:

www.dti.gov.uk                    www.jobcentreplus.gov.uk (re Access to Work)

www.acas.org.uk                   www.disability.gov.uk

www.lg-employers.gov.uk            www.drc-gb.org



See also national conditions of service and local agreements before determining

or issuing advice.



Other Contacts

Please note that the Council takes no responsibility or liability for any material

produced by or contained in external sites or for any advice or services given by

external organisations. It is the responsibility solely of each person to decide

whether or not they use any such material, advice or service.



This information can be made available in a range of formats and languages,

including Braille and large print. If this would be useful to you or someone you

know, please contact your Directorate HR team.




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