It is estimated in Britain that over 1,000,000 people are absent from work every day
either through sickness or other non-anticipated causes. About 37 million working days
are lost every year through certificated incapacity alone. In 1989 the Audit Commission
for Local Authorities and the NHS in England and Wales carried out a study of sickness
absence in local authority building Direct Labour Organisations (DLOs). They found
absence levels of 14-15 days per employee, per year in the Shire and Metropolitan
Districts which is above the national average. The Commission said of the differences:
“It seems unlikely that they can be explained by a higher prevalence of illness or
infection. It looks as though there is a problem of management, motivation or morale.”
This document has drawn upon the absence monitoring procedures and management
guidelines used by Derby City Council after consultation with the professional

The potential cost of absence can be listed as follows:

(a) Excessive demands on the sick pay scheme.
(b) Unnecessary high staffing levels and overtime payments.
(c) Costs of replacement labour.
(d) Lost or delayed production.
(e) Reduced range or standard of service.
(f) Disruption of the flow of work.
(g) Low morale and general dissatisfaction, resulting in low productivity.
(h) Loss of jobs because of reduced competitiveness.


The school is committed to monitoring sickness absences to identify members of staff
with recurrent genuine sickness problems, who may need help and support, and to
identify individuals with unjustified poor attendance patterns, which put an undue burden
on other members of staff.

B. Scope

This policy and procedure applies to all employees whether teaching or associate. It has
been prepared with a major emphasis on the absence monitoring procedures guidelines
prepared by Derby City Council and one of the professional associations. Any final
version will have been prepared as a result of consultation with all professional
associations and with Derby City Council.

C. Procedures

Each member of staff‟s absence record will be reviewed at the end of each term.

D. Trigger for Review

Where a member of staff‟s attendance record has fallen below what the Headteacher
considers an acceptable level, a discussion will be arranged for him or her with his or
her line manager. The member of staff may be accompanied by a colleague or a
representative of his or her trade union or professional association. This applies to all
review meetings mentioned below.

The outcome of the discussion is likely to be one of the following:

i) no further action because of the individual‟s previous good record or because of
special circumstances or genuine unavoidable illness;

ii) referral to Assistant Headteacher in charge of attendance who may decide on
reference to the school‟s medical advisor where there seems to be a recurring medical
problem, or

iii) placing the member of staff on a term‟s review of attendance.

E. Review Arrangements

i) First Review Period
Where a member of staff is on review, his or her attendance will be more closely
monitored. The Assistant Headteacher will keep in close contact with the member of
staff in relation to any periods of absence. A significant improvement will be expected.
At the end of the review term the Assistant Headteacher will consider the member of
staff‟s attendance record. If the member of staff has demonstrated a satisfactory
attendance record, he or she will be taken off review and this will be confirmed in

If the attendance continues to be unsatisfactory, the Assistant Headteacher will hold a
review meeting. The member of staff will be entitled to be accompanied as before. The

Assistant Headteacher will normally refer the member of staff to the school‟s medical
advisor at this point. Subject to his or her advice, a second review period will be
arranged or other monitoring arrangements will be specified.

ii) Second Review Period

If unsatisfactory attendance continues during that term a hearing will be convened and
he or she is likely to receive a final warning that if further absences occur during the
term dismissal may result. This meeting will be with the Head. If attendance improves
during the second review period he or she will receive written confirmation of his or her
future sickness points position. This will be determined by reference to his or her total
sickness history.

iii) Further Reviews

Any subsequent review period agreed may be for shorter periods of half a term, and will
be under the same conditions as the second review.

F. Appeals

A member of staff wishing to appeal against a review outcome or dismissal under these
procedures shall use the appeal procedure set out in the school‟s disciplinary

G. Flexibility

Account will be taken of all the circumstances of an individual‟s case in applying these
procedures flexibly and reasonably.

H. Long Term Absence

Absence of six weeks or more, continually, will be referred to the Education
Department and/or the school medical advisor, and the Governors‟ Personnel
Committee will consider the advice received from one or other or both.
The important factors here are that the sickness is continuous and ongoing.
Long-term absence through sickness, or the inability to attend work regularly and
consistently because of chronic ill health are amongst the most difficult problems for
management to tackle.

ACAS have suggested some of the issues to be considered in such cases

       Just how much damage is being caused by this absence? Is there an immediate
        crisis; or could the organisation afford to continue for some time without a
        replacement, for example, with some reorganisation?

       In the view of the individual‟s general practitioner, or of the Occupational Health
        Physician, when will return to work be possible? Will there be a full recovery or
        will a return to the same work be inadvisable?
       Could the employee return if some assistance were provided? Could some
        reorganisation or re-design of the job speed up a return to work?
       Is alternative, lighter or less stressful work available, with re-training if
       Could reorganisation of the work group produce a more suitable job?
       How old is the employee, and how long has he/she been employed by the
       What costs are being incurred by the school as a result of this absence?

The Authority has an established procedure for dealing with employees on long-term
sickness, which is as follows:


Where an employee is absent from duty for a lengthy period owing to certificated ill
health or injury and regardless of sickness or injury pay entitlement, the situation should
be reviewed once the position is known, at early and regular intervals. This is to ensure
that any assistance required by an employee can be offered promptly and consideration
given to possibilities of return to suitable alternative employment. To this end,
employees absent owing to sickness or injury shall be referred by the school for medical
advice from the City Council‟s Medical Advisor within a three month period from when
the absence started.


A teacher who is absent for a lengthy period of certificated absence (1 term) should be
referred to the Occupational Health Physician. If a teacher is suffering from an illness
referred to in DFE Circular 13/93, ie a stress-related disorder such as anxiety or
depression, then he/she will be suspended on full pay after three months absence. Both
teachers and non-teachers may also be referred to the Employee Welfare Officer during
long periods of absence. In recognition of the difficulties, including financial, that periods
of long-term sickness cause individual employees, the Authority has introduced a policy
(attached as Appendix 4) extending the sickness payment paid to those on long-term
sick leave and those retired on ill health grounds.

    I. Self-Certification

If an employee returns to work within seven days they are required to complete part 2 of
Form ESC12 (Employee Self Certification Statement), a copy of which they can obtain
from the Governing Body or its representative. If the employee is still absent after seven
days, the Governing Body or its representative will send them a copy of the form to be

completed and returned to the normal administrative base. The information contained in
Employee Self Certification Statement is confidential and should therefore be
treated appropriately. It is essential that the form is completed in full and that the nature
of the illness or injury is stated, otherwise payment of sick pay may be withheld.
(Comments such as „feeling poorly‟ should not be accepted). If the employee feels
unable to divulge on the form the nature of their illness they should speak to their
designated manager who can endorse the form to the effect that he/she is satisfied with
their explanation, and in these circumstances it will not be necessary to give the nature
of illness or injury on the form.

After the employee has been absent for more than seven calendar days they will be
required to provide a Doctor‟s Statement, (Med. 3 form) and this should be forwarded to
the appropriate Personnel/Administrative office after they have filled in those parts of
the Statement which may require completion. If there are any queries on DSS benefits
at any stage of absence the employee should be encouraged to seek help from the
Employee Welfare Service. If the employee is entitled to claim DSS benefits they should
collect a claim form; these can be obtained from a doctor‟s surgery, hospital or local
DSS office. The completed form should be sent direct to the DSS office. The employee
should be reminded that if their doctor has given them a Doctor‟s Statement certifying
that they are unfit to work, they must not return to duty whilst still covered by a Doctor‟s
Statement. The appropriate conditions of service contains further guidance on
certification of absence, ie during annual holidays etc.

J Sickness Reporting

Employees are required to notify the school of any absence caused by
sickness or injury.

(a) Day 1
(1) The employee should notify the school of their absence. The employee will be
required to give the information necessary to complete Part 1 of the Self-Certification
Form. The employee should endeavour to report his/her absence before the start of the
working day on the first day of absence. This rule to apply to all employees with the
exception of those in (2) below.

(2) Employees who are employed on a part-time basis, or are shift workers, or who
have irregular working patterns, (not including flexi-time) should report any unforeseen
absence before their normal start time.

(3) All employees should be aware of the name of the person they should contact to
report their absence.

(4) Once the employee has reported his/her absence, this will enable the contact officer
to complete any necessary documentation, or to seek approval for leave etc; she/he can

then explain any arrangements which a Manager/Supervisor will need to cover his/her
work. The contact officer should then advise the employee‟s manager that he/she is
absent and pass on any necessary information. Alternatively, the employee can be put
through to their actual workplace so that he/she may speak with his/her colleagues
and/or manager. The practice of asking a colleague to ring the contact officer on his/her
behalf is not acceptable as it can result in late notification, incomplete or distorted
information and/or at worst, a failure to report absences. If the absence continues after
the third day the employee will provide further notification as to the nature and the
probable duration of the illness. If the absence continues beyond seven days the
employee will need to produce a medical certificate.

(b) Return to Work
If an absence exceeds three but does not exceed seven days, the employee will be
required to complete Part 2 of the Self-Certification Form on his/her return.

(c) Day 8
If the employee is still absent on, or after, Day 8, he/she will require a doctor‟s certificate
which he/she must send immediately to the school. The school will, by return, send the
employee the Self-Certification Form, Part 2 of which he/she must complete and return
at their earliest convenience.

K. Training

Appropriate training will be provided for line managers to be confident in conducting
counselling interviews.

L. Confidentiality

Personal information relating to individual employees is treated confidentially. Therefore
access to medical records, including medical certificates, reports, individuals‟ absence
records and counselling interview records will be restricted to those employees who
require such access to carry out their legitimate and authorised duties necessary for
effective management. Accordingly designated managers who have access to an
individual‟s medical and absence records have the responsibility to ensure that such
information remains confidential and is only disclosed to those who have a genuine
need of such information.

M. Policy and Procedures Review

This will take place annually and will cover the operation of the policy and the
points used for the trigger.

(Leave of Absence for Teaching Staff is covered by Regulation R1)

The Governing Body is able to grant within any financial year:

(a) Leave of absence with pay up to and including five working days to an employee.
(i) to attend to the care of a dependant where no other care is immediately available and
to make arrangements for any continuing care to be undertaken by an alternative
(ii) Unforeseen domestic emergency.
The spirit of the teacher R1 regulation will be used to help interpretation.
A further five working days‟ leave of absence without pay may be granted to an
employee where this responsibility remains with the employee.
Alternatively, the employee will be allowed to substitute annual leave during this period.
The period of absence need not involve consecutive working days.
Requests for more than 10 days total leave available under this scheme should be
referred to the Governing Body for consideration. Where more than one family member
is employed by the Authority then only one employee is allowed leave unless there are
exceptional circumstances.
Where a school requires further guidance under the scheme for the employee if likely to
require additional assistance this should be referred to the Area Education Office. Any
grievance relating to the application of the scheme should be referred to the Governing
Body for consideration.

b) Leave of Absence Without Pay for Term-time Workers Other Than Teachers
(i) Non-teaching employees will only on special occasions be able to take holiday
outside of the fixed school holiday period on the provision that formal application is
made by the employee in sufficient time to arrange cover, that the employer is able to
find appropriate cover, and that it is without pay, except in exceptional circumstances.
(ii) That requests for leave without pay in excess of the ten days at (I) be referred to the
Governing Body without delay and avoiding retrospective consideration.

Definition of Terms

Circumstances will vary from one case to another but the overriding principle is to
ensure that reasonable consideration is given to each application taking account of the
duties and responsibilities of the employee. It is not possible to provide a definitive list of
qualifying circumstances but the following guidelines below may be useful:-

    (i) Urgent Personal

“Dependant” in the context of the scheme includes any member of the household or
immediate family eg spouse, parent, son, daughter, in-laws, or a person with whom the
employee has a close personal relationship.
   (ii) Urgent Domestic

An unforeseen domestic emergency requiring immediate attendance or attention eg,
property damage due to fire, flood, storm, impact, subsidence, burglary.
Events which can be foreseen or planned do not qualify for leave with pay under

Reviewed September 2009


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