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Sickness Absence

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					Sickness Absence                                                    APPENDIX 1

1.    Policy

1.1   The Council’s stated policy on sickness absence is to minimise such
      absences with the aim of protecting the health and welfare of all staff,
      maximising productivity and reducing pressure on colleagues left in the
      workplace to cover for the absent employee.

2     Strategy

2.1   This will be achieved by providing a fair and consistent framework for
      handling absence and ensuring that any employee, genuinely absent from
      work due to ill health, receives all the appropriate and necessary support
      that the Council can provide. A consistent approach will be taken to the
      management of sickness. This applies to all employees irrespective of
      their roles and responsibilities. The causes of absenteeism, where
      possible, will be dealt with effectively, efficiently and with due
      consideration. Specifically individuals absent from the workplace will be
      supported by:

            maximising use of Occupational Health, counselling and the
             Council’s private medical scheme where appropriate;

            using Return to Work interviews when employees return to the
             workplace; and

            monitoring individual and organisational sickness levels and causes.

2.2   Targets for maximum organisational sickness levels will be set annually
      and reviewed by the Personnel Committee. The policy and associated
      documents will be reviewed on a six monthly basis by the sickness
      monitoring group.

2.3   Attached to these policy and strategy statements are:

      (i)      the procedures employees and managers should follow to ensure
               proper implementation of this strategy; and

      (ii)     guidance notes to assist implementation.




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Procedures

3     Roles and Responsibilities

3.1   Employees’ responsibilities

3.1.1 Each employee must inform their line manager that they are absent from
      work, due to ill health or injury by telephoning before 10am on the first day
      of absence.

3.1.2 Any employee working non-standard hours should try to contact their line
      manager before the start of their shift, or by 10am, whichever is the
      earliest.

3.1.3 If the employee is incapacitated a relative or friend must be asked to
      contact the council on their behalf. If the line manager is not available,
      another manager within the Business Unit must be contacted. If none is
      available, the absence must be reported to Personnel.

3.1.4 The employee must report their absence every day for uncertified leave.

3.1.5 If an employee is off for 7 days or more a doctor’s certificate must be
      obtained and submitted to Personnel.

3.1.6 If the absence is due to a work-related matter, and the employee does not
      wish to speak to a manager in their own team, an employee may report
      their absence to Personnel.

3.1.7 An employee working off-site, from home, in training, or for any other
      reason and not expected to be reporting into work, must also follow this
      procedure.

3.1.8 An employee incapable of attending work due to injury or ill-health, but
      able and willing to work from home can ask permission for this from their
      line manager. This can only take place with the approval of the
      employee’s doctor. In these circumstances, the line manager will
      endeavour to make the necessary arrangements to support homeworking,
      although this may not always be possible. Homeworking during absence
      will not be recorded as sickness absence.

3.2   Line managers’ responsibilities

3.2.1 A line manager receiving a telephone report from a member of staff who is
      ill must follow the procedure laid down in Appendix 1. This process should
      continue daily until a medical certificate is received (as per Sections 2.2
      and 2.3 of this policy) or the employee returns to work.



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3.2.2 The person receiving the telephone call must advise colleagues of the
      employee’s absence, and ensure diary commitments are either postponed
      or covered by colleagues. If not reported as required, Personnel will try to
      contact the employee.

3.2.3 Managers must conduct return to work interviews and record on HRPro as
      soon as possible after an employee returns to work (see Appendix 2).

3.2.4 Managers should use the flow diagrams in Appendix 4 for short/medium
      term absence and Appendix 5 for long term absence.

3.2.5 Managers with staff responsibilities must record all employees’ sickness
      absence using HRPro, and monitor their absence levels (see para 3.7).

3.3   Personnel and Training

3.3.1 The support and advice of Personnel is essential to the effective
      management of sickness absence. Any employee may contact Personnel
      for advice regarding their own wellbeing. Line managers are also able to
      gain support and advice.

3.3.2 In summary, the services provided by Personnel in respect of sickness
      absence include:

           giving advice to employees, and managers, on issues relating to
            health at work
           identifying whether counselling, or any other specialist services,
            may be beneficial in facilitating the return to work of an employee
           providing a point of contact for absent employees not wishing to
            liaise directly with their line manager
           providing advice and support to employees and managers in respect
            of periods of long-term absence
           providing a link to the Occupational Health Advisor (see below).

3.4   Occupational Health

3.4.1 The council has retained the services of an Occupational Health Advisor
      (OHA) to assist staff and managers with professional work-related health
      advice. Initial contact with the OHA must be through Personnel. However,
      the OHA’s role is independent from the council and their services are
      confidential. The OHA will seek to:

           give advice to employees and managers on issues relating to health
            at work
           assess an employee’s return to work date
           advise line managers if any reasonable adjustments are required to



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            facilitate an employee’s return to work
           identify whether counselling, or any other specialist services, are
            required to facilitate an employee’s return to work
           advise whether an employee is able to return to work to carry out the
            duties under their contract of employment
           provide reports to the Pension Scheme administrators in respect of
            ill-health retirement applications
           provide advice to the employee, and help them to understand their
            illness and how to minimise its impact on their ability to work.

3.5    Home Visits

3.5.1 As a guide, absences greater than 14 consecutive days should be
      considered for a home visit. In cases of prolonged absence, visits will
      usually be arranged to maintain contact with an employee. The manager
      and Personnel must decide each case on an individual basis and in
      agreement with the absent employee to the visit. Members of Personnel
      are available to advise managers before, or after, a visit or to participate
      in, or carry out a visit if required.

3.5.2 At any time during an employee’s sickness absence they may be required
      to visit the OHA or may be asked to obtain, with their consent, a health
      report from their GP (under the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988).

3.5.3 In the course of their duties no council employee is to visit another
      employee at home on sick leave without being accompanied, but an officer
      from Personnel is not necessary in all instances. Care should be taken to
      ensure that the employee agrees in advance to the visit. This policy does
      not apply to personal visits from friends.

3.6    Return to Work Interview

3.6.1 Each employee, on returning to work after a sickness absence of any
      duration, will be expected to attend a return to work interview with their line
      manager to:

           welcome them back
           highlight that their contribution to the team has been missed
           complete a return to work form at the interview
           ensure that the employee is fully recovered and decide whether any
            further support is required from the council and
           review their sickness absence record for the past twelve months and
            agree either:
                  that no further action is needed or
                  to set a time for a further, more in-depth, review meeting.




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3.7   Monitoring Absence

3.7.1 Appendix 3 provides details of the recording and monitoring facilities for
      sickness absence available through HRPro. Some of the monitoring
      facilities are only available to line managers.

3.7.2 At least once a month, all line managers must review all their employees’
      sickness absence levels. Any individual with a Bradford Factor of more
      than 250 (see Appendix 3) may need further investigation.

3.7.3 The purpose of the investigation is to:

           draw to the employee’s attention that their sickness absence level
            has caused some concern, and explain why
           explore with the employee any underlying reasons for their absence
            level, including possible work-life balance issues, dissatisfaction with
            their work environment, or any health concerns.

3.7.4 A record of this discussion must be made by the manager, and include
      agreed actions. This record is to be kept updated as appropriate.

3.7.5 The flow charts in Appendices 4 and 5 detail the main indicators/trigger
      points that a manager may consider in seeking to identify a potential
      concern with an employee’s absence record, and what course of action to
      take.




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Guidance

4     Definitions

4.1   Sickness Absence

4.1.1 Relates to absence due to ill-health or physical injury only. Absence due
      to work-related injury is dealt with separately. The overall types of
      absence are defined by their duration (which includes weekends and
      public holidays):

           Short term absence = up to and including 9 days
           Medium = 10-30 days+
           Long term = over 30 days

4.1.2 If an employee is on sick leave on their last working day of the week
      (usually, but not always, a Friday), it is not automatically assumed they are
      also sick on the non-working days that immediately follow (usually, but not
      always a Saturday and Sunday), unless they are absent from work on their
      next working day (usually, but not always, a Monday).

4.2   Certified Absence

4.2.1 This refers to illness where a medical certificate has been obtained.

4.3   Uncertified Absence

4.3.1 This term usually refers to sickness absence from work of up to seven
      consecutive days (including Saturday and Sunday) for which a medical
      certificate is not normally required.

4.3.2 Periods of more than seven days’ absence for which a medical certificate
      has not been obtained, will be dealt with under the council’s disciplinary
      procedure.

4.4   Sickness Payments

4.4.1 All sickness payments are currently made on a ‘rolling year’ basis. This
      means that an individual’s sickness absence, and associated sick pay, are
      calculated over the previous twelve months.

4.5   Absence Commencing During the Working Day

           Any individual absent from work from before 12 noon is considered
            to have taken a whole day’s sick leave

           An absence after 12 noon is considered a half day’s sick leave


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           Employees absent in the morning are not expected to return to work
            later the same day and are required to take a full day’s sick leave

           Shift workers who work less than four hours before taking sickness
            absence will be considered to have taken a full day’s sick leave

           Shift workers who work four or more hours before taking sick leave
            will be considered to have worked a half day

4.6   Current Legislation

4.6.1 The Council has a legal duty to provide a safe working environment for its
      staff. The Health and Safety at Work Act 1974 provides a general
      framework for regulatory control in the work place. Further details can be
      found at:

      www.healthandsafety.co.uk

      www.legislation.hmso.gov.uk

4.7   Sick Pay

4.7.1 Employees who report their sickness absence correctly will be eligible for
      paid sick leave, in accordance with their Local Government Service, as
      detailed in Table 1 overleaf. Entitlement to sick pay does not affect the
      right of the council to dismiss employees on the grounds of ill health (see
      Section 11).

4.8   Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

4.8.1 SSP is payable for up to 28 weeks in one period of sickness. For further
      details, visit the Inland Revenue website at:
      www.ir.gov.uk/employers/employee_sick.htm

4.9   Occupational Sick Pay

4.9.1 Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) is provided through voluntary payments
      made by employers in addition to SSP. Details of entitlement to OSP are
      provided in Table 1 overleaf.

4.9.2 Council employees are entitled to SSP from the fourth continuous day of
      sickness absence. The council also pays employees for the first three
      days of absence, although there is no legal obligation to do so.

4.9.3 A doctor’s certificate is required for sickness absences for seven days or
      more, to enable an employee to continue receiving SSP and OSP.



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                       Table 1: Council Sick Pay Entitlements

                                            Length of service:
            Sickness       Up to 1     During    During     During       After 5
                                       nd         rd
            Payments        Year      2 Year 3 year          4th/5th     Years
                                                              year
        Occupational 1 month         2 months 4 months 5 months         6 months
          Sick Pay,     full pay     full pay   full pay   full pay     full pay
          including
            SSP**
        Occupational 2 months 2 months 4 months 5 months 6 months
          Sick Pay,     half pay* half pay        half pay  half pay    half pay
          excluding
           SSP***
         * after the completion of 4 months service.
         ** SSP is included within the Occupational Sick Pay
         *** SSP is paid in addition to the (half pay) Occupational Sick Pay

4.9.4 When calculating an employee’s entitlement to paid sick leave for a
      current period of sickness, the amount of sick leave taken during the
      previous 12 months is deducted. Any SSP due is included in the OSP.

4.10   Sickness Absence due to Third Party Accident

4.10.1 If an employee is absent as a result of an accident caused by a third party,
       and for which damages may be recoverable, that employee will not be
       entitled to OSP. However, they can request (via their chief officer) an
       advance from the council equal to their OSP. This will be subject to them
       agreeing, in writing, to refund this amount when damages have been
       received. Any period of absence for which a refund is made in full will not
       count as sick leave, and will not affect future entitlement to OSP.

4.11   Support

4.11.1 The council provides a range of support services to employees aimed at
       improving their wellbeing. These services are available to all permanent
       employees, and can be accessed either through line managers or
       Personnel. They include:

            counselling
            Private Medical Insurance
            Occupational Health Advisor
            Health Checks
            first aiders
            medical room on site


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           provision of a workstation audit

4.11.2 In addition the council also has a policy on home working aimed at
       facilitating improved homework life balances for employees.

4.12   Ill Health Retirement/Dismissal

4.12.1 There may be occasions when it is in the best interests of an employee to
       take early retirement on the grounds of ill health. This may also be
       appropriate for some employees who have been unwell and are unable to
       return to work in any capacity. Each case will be dealt with on an
       individual basis, through close working with Personnel, the OHA, the
       employee and/or their representative.

4.12.2 In the event that it becomes necessary to dismiss a sick employee, this
       decision must be taken by a Corporate Director or the Chief Executive.
       Personnel and Occupational Health can only advise. Factors taken into
       account when considering retirement or dismissal in a sickness absence
       case are:

           the period of absence that has already elapsed
           the period of time before the employee can be expected to return to
            work (if that is ascertainable)
           any likely restriction on the employee’s ability to carry out the full
            range of duties on their return to work
           the effect of the employee’s absence on the work of the council
           the length of service of the employee
           the advice of Occupational Health
           the employee’s wishes
           the employee’s circumstance
           precedents for dealing with such cases in the council




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                                                                    APPENDIX 1


               Recording of Absence Report by Line Manager
                     Using the Notes Section in HRPro

On the first day of each uncertified absence, the employee or their representative
will contact the line manager or Personnel to report their absence, and the
following information will be recorded:

         Business Unit
         reason for absence, if provided
         expected duration of absence
         whether there is any support/action by the council that would benefit
          the employee
         date and time of call
         agreed time for absent employee to call again if to be absent for more
          than one day
         any additional comments

         Inform caller that the details of the conversation have been recorded
          on the notes section of HRPro, and that they will be required to
          complete a Return To Work Form (Appendix 2) with their line manager
          on their return to work

For periods of longer-term absence, that have been medically certified, the above
process is not required.




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                                                                         APPENDIX 2

                         Return to Work Interview Form

Name of employee___________________ Business Unit_____________

Name of Interviewer _____________________ (if not line manager state why)

Date of Interview________________________

Period of absence: Date from ________________to_________________

Reason for absence (if known) ___________________________________

Bradford Factor value __________________________________________

Long term implications of employee’s illness (Is it likely that the employee will
need further time off?)




Further Actions

                        Yes      No                                Yes      No
 None - fit for                                Adjust working
 normal duties                                 environment
 Refer to                                      Alter work
 Occupational                                  patterns
 Health Consultant
 Refer for                                     Other – refer
 Counselling                                   to Personnel

Additional comments




 Signed (Employee) _________________                            Dated_______


 Signed (Line Manager) ______________                           Dated_______

   Line Manager must forward completed form to Personnel and Training
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                                                                   APPENDIX 3


               Recording and Monitoring Absence on HRPro

Recording Sickness Absence

When notified that an employee will not be coming into work due to sickness,
each manager is required to record the individual employee’s absence on their
personnel record via HRPro.




The programme allows for specifying the length of absence, if known, and the
reasons for the sickness absence. It also enables any absence to be linked to a
previous record. This is of particular importance when applying the Bradford
Factor.




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The line manager records date of return to work in HRPro. Personnel identify
any incomplete records and managers are prompted to complete them. The
manager should also ensure that these records are cross-referenced with the
flexi-clock to check there are no discrepancies.

Absence Calendar

The Absence Calendar function allows managers to view an employee’s absence
record in a year planner format.




In order to see what the absence type was, hovering the mouse over the
appropriate date on the calendar creates a red arrow that points to the relevant
code on the key. For further details about a particular period of absence, double
clicking on the relevant date on the calendar creates a summary of that record for
viewing.

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Absence Monitoring

The absence calendar provides an overview of an individual’s pattern of
absence. To assist managers with absence management, HRPro also has the
facility to further interrogate an individual member of staff’s absence.

The absence breakdown facility allows reports to be run that provide a
breakdown of the amount of time taken off as sick leave on each day of the
week. For example, it will show how many Mondays have been taken off sick.
This task can be performed for an individual’s record, and also for the total team
managed. The table below shows an extract of a range of reports that managers
can run, including the sickness absence reports for:

      sickness in prompted dates – business unit
      sickness in prompted date – individual
      sickness in prompted dates – section
      sickness summary in prompted dates – business unit
      sickness summary prompted dates – section




The Bradford Factor

The Bradford Factor report analyses occurrences of illness together with the
duration of the absence, to provide an indication of when a manager needs to be
concerned by absence rates.




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The Bradford Factor is calculated using the following formula:

      no. of occurrences in the period x number of occurrences x total duration

For example, one period of absence of 10 days would give a Bradford Factor of
10:

                                 1 X 1 X 10 = 10

but ten periods of absence of 1 day would give a Bradford Factor of 1,000:

                              10 X 10 X 10 = 1,000




As a general rule, if the Bradford Factor is over 250 the sickness absence
requires further investigation. However, managers are advised to consult
Personnel for advice first. There may be instances where the member of staff’s
sickness absence has been recorded incorrectly and this needs to be checked.
Traditionally, the Bradford Factor analyses sickness absence only. However,
HRPro also has the facility to incorporate other absences.




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                                                                                       APPENDIX 4

                  Short Term and Medium Term Sickness Procedure

                         Employee phones in on each day of sickness until
                       return to work, or a certificate is received by the council

                                                                                 If sickness is likely to, or
                                          Manager records on                   does, exceed 30 days initiate
                                               HRPro                          long-term sickness procedure
                                                                                      (see Appendix 5)


                                       Employee returns to work



                     Manager records return on HRPro, checks sickness record
                                 and calculates Bradford Factor


                      Manager carries out return to work interview, as soon as
                       possible, preferably on day employee returns to work



                                   Manager completes return to work                    Manager sends form to
                                    form with employee at interview                    Personnel and Training


 Send employee home –         No           Is employee fit to
    record on HRPro                         return to work?

                                                       Yes

                                          Agree further action                        Consider need to escalate to
                                                                                          next line manager




   Offer                           Alter work        Assess          Adjust working    Employee fit
counselling    Refer to OHA         patterns     capability issues    environment       for duty



                   Manager refers to                                 Manager refers
                 Personnel and Training                                to Admin


    Manager completes return to work form and sends                   Manager completes return to work form and
       to Personnel and Training to initiate action                       sends to Personnel and Training


                    Manager reviews
                      outcomes                       No further action


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                                                                                              APPENDIX 5

                                  Long Term Sickness Procedure

                             Employee phones in on each day of sickness until
                           return to work, or a certificate is received by the council

                                                                                          If sickness is unlikely to,
                                       Manager records on HRPro and                          or does not, exceed
                                          checks Bradford Factor                         30 days initiate short-term
                                                                                             sickness procedure

                               If sickness is likely to, or does, exceed 30 days
                                     initiate long-term sickness procedure


            Personnel and Training and line manager assess circumstances and determine
                  who should maintain contact with employee for duration of illness



       Home visit by two officers by                                   Maintain weekly contact
          prior arrangement                                                with employee


                              Engage OHA to provide support to individual and
                                                                                              OHA to liaise with GP
                                   advise on appropriate future actions


             Personnel and Training will initiate a review with the line manager, employee,
                        and OHA. Timescale will depend on circumstances.


                                                                                         Consider need to escalate
                                             Agree further actions                         to next line-manager




Continued                                             Fit to
              Ill health        Dismissal                            Alter work                         Phased
 support                                           return, no
                 early            under                               patterns       Re-deploy         return to
  during                                             action
             retirement         capability                                                               work
 absence                                            needed




                    Refer to chief                                         Employee returns to work, with
                       officer                                          ongoing support from Personnel and
                                                                         Training, OHA and line manager.
                                                                        Situation is kept under review for as
                                                                                 long as necessary


                                                                                Manager records return to
                                                                                    work on HRPro




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