Managing Sickness Absence Policy

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					                     EDINBURGH NAPIER UNIVERSITY


1. Policy statements

   1.1.   This policy and procedure for managing sickness absence ensures that
          employees are treated fairly and consistently. It also helps the University
          manage sickness absence in a way that meets its operational needs.

2. Policy aims

   2.1.   The aims of this Sickness Absence Management Policy and Procedure
          are to:
           provide a framework for maximising the attendance levels of everyone
             at work
           ensure that all employees and line managers clearly understand their
             responsibilities and
           ensure there is consistent treatment of all employees
           ensure that the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act are

3. Responsibilities for minimising the impact of sickness absence

   3.1    Edinburgh Napier University recognises its legal duty of care to staff and
          is committed to developing procedures and support systems to support a
          healthy and safe workplace and to take positive action to minimise non-
          attendance through illness. The key responsibilities for different groups in
          the University are detailed in Appendix A.

4. Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA)

   4.1.   Advice will be sought from OH to determine whether or not someone has
          a condition that is likely to be covered by the Act and whether there are
          any reasonable adjustments, such as disability leave, that could be made
          to enable them to return to their existing jobs or any suitable alternative

   4.2    Disability leave is distinct from sickness absence. It is paid time off work
          for a reason related to someone‟s disability. All employees who are
          considered disabled under the definition in the Disability Discrimination
          Act (1995) are entitled to disability leave. The Disability Leave Policy
          provides full details on eligibility, and reporting of absences related to an
          employee‟s disability or that of someone for whom they are the primary
          carer. This policy should be read in conjunction with the Disability Leave
          Policy        this      one        and       can       be     found        at:


          If an employee is on sick leave and Occupational Health (OH) advise that
          the employee is likely to be covered by the DDA and qualifies for disability
          leave, they will be transferred onto disability leave. In the circumstances

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          that any previous absences are disability related, they will be reclassified
          as disability leave and the HR/Payroll system will be updated to reflect this
          change in status. The employee will be advised accordingly of this change
          by HR.

   4.3    The University will make reasonable adjustments based on medical and
          other relevant expert advice. In addition it will be important to involve the
          employee at all stages of the consultation process and advise them of
          their right to be accompanied at any meeting.

5. Absence reporting procedure

   5.1.   If the employee is unable to attend work through sickness they must
          normally notify their line manager, and inform them of:

         the reason for their absence
         whether they have been to the doctor or have made an appointment
         when they expect to return to work
         a contact number
         when the employee will next call
         any important or urgent work which may need action by someone else /
          student contact to be postponed e.g. classes/ tutorials etc
         whether their absence is as a result of an accident at work/industrial

          Employees must telephone before 10.00am on the first day of absence,
          unless their work pattern requires them to start work before 8.45am in
          which case, they must make contact no later than 1 hour after their
          expected start time.

          If an employee falls sick at work they must notify their line manager before

          If an employee does not wish to advise their line manager of the nature of
          their illness, for reasons of confidentiality, they should advise HR, and the
          University may require a referral to OH.

   5.2    If the employee is unable to make contact themselves they should
          arrange for someone else to make contact on their behalf.

   5.3    If the employee is unable to contact their line manager, they should
          contact their nominated School/Service representative and, then follow up
          with their line manager at the earliest opportunity.

          If the employee does not make contact with their line manager or
          School/Service representative, the line manager will try to make direct
          contact with the employee by at least day five of the absence, using
          next of kin details if necessary i.e. if the employee does not contact us
          then we will contact them.

          It is important that contact is maintained whilst the employee is on sick
          leave. The frequency of the contact will depend on a number of factors
          such as the nature of the work, promotion opportunities or other changes
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            at the workplace and any agreement that the employee and line manager
            may have reached before the leave started. Contact can be by telephone,
            by e-mail, letter or involve the employee making a visit to the workplace,
            or in other ways. Line managers should discuss and record such
            arrangements with the employee, bearing in mind „reasonable‟ can vary
            according to individuals and circumstances.

      5.4   Employees are required to provide relevant documentation to support the
            period of sickness absence and to maintain regular contact with their line
            manager. The type of documentation and the level of contact required will
            depend on the duration of the absence. The following definitions are used
            throughout this policy:

            Short term absence:           less than 7 calendar days
            Medium term absence:          8 days to 19 calendar days
            Long term absence:            20 calendar days or more

            Unauthorised absence: If the employee does not notify their line
            manager that they are absent or fails to send in certificates on time, the
            absence will be regarded as unauthorised and unpaid.

      5.5   By the 4th of each month, each School/Service must send a completed
            monthly sickness report to the payroll section of HR, along with any
            outstanding self-certificates and medical certificates in respect of
            absences from the previous month.

6. Short term absence

      6.1   The employee should agree with the line manager when they will next
            make contact, as a minimum, this should be on the 1st and 4th days.

      6.2   On the first day of returning to work following sickness absence of up to
            seven days (including Saturday and Sunday), the employee should
            complete a self certification form available from the HR intranet
            nts.aspx or Departmental office. The employee should print, complete
            and sign the Self Certification Form. Line managers should: countersign
            Part 1 of the form and send it to Human Resources on the day it is

      6.3   Where the level or pattern of short term absence meets the triggers in
            Appendix B the line manager (or a nominated deputy in their absence) is
            expected to conduct a return to work interview within three working days
            (Appendix C) and consider a referral to OH Service.

7.    Medium term absence

      7.1   The employee should agree with the line manager when they will next
            make contact, as a minimum every two weeks. At each contact, the date
            and form of the next contact should be mutually agreed.

      7.2   For sickness absence of 8 days or more, normally the employee must get
            a medical certificate from their doctor and send it immediately to the line
            manager, who will send it to Human Resources as soon as possible.

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      7.3    If the medical certificate expires, the individual is expected to return on
            their next working day or speak to their line manager and inform them
            when they will next go to the GP. As a minimum they should provide a
            new medical certificate to cover the new period of absence within 5
            working days of the last certificates expiry.

      7.4   If the employee fails to provide a medical certificate within 5 working
            days, the line manager should notify HR of the unauthorised absence.
            Absence confirmed as unauthorised is always unpaid and HR will notify
            payroll to this effect.

      7.5    After any medium-term absence, or where the level or pattern of medium
            term absence meets the triggers in Appendix B the line manager (or a
            nominated deputy in their absence) is expected to conduct a return to
            work interview within three working days (Appendix C) and consider a
            referral to OH.

8.     Long term absence

      8.1   Any continuous absence which lasts four weeks or more can be described
            as long-term and will be the trigger for the line manager to seek a referral
            to OH through Human Resources. The line manager or HR must advise
            the employee of the referral to OH with the employee. The aim of the
            referral is to get advice related to the employees reason for absence, this
            can include advice on the diagnosis, prognosis, likely length of absence,
            and potential reasonable adjustments the University can make to support
            and facilitate a return to work.

      8.2   Where an absence is long-term, arrangements should be made, where
            possible for the line manager to meet the employee every month in a
            mutually agreeable venue. Home visits will only be made with the
            employee‟s consent.

      8.3   After long term sickness absence, the line manager (or a nominated
            deputy in their absence) is expected to conduct a return to work interview
            within three working days (Appendix C).

9.     Medical Referrals

      9.1   Managers will refer employees to OH at the appropriate time, once the
            relevant triggers have been met, to get advice relating to the employees
            reason for absence. The relevant triggers are as detailed in paragraphs
            6.3, 7.5 and 8.1.

      9.2   OH will advise the manager if/when future referral meetings are required.
            They may also advise whether it may be appropriate to review suitability
            for restricted duties, redeployment, the requirement for reasonable
            workplace adjustments, DDA status and specialist or GP reports.

      9.3   The University will request details from the employee's own medical
            practitioners, about the state of the employee‟s health only when the
            information is considered essential for employment purposes. Employees
            will be fully informed of their rights of access to any such reports. Under

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       the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 and/ or the Data protection Act
       1998 the employee is, in some circumstances entitled to withhold consent
       for medical information to be released. However, the employee should be
       aware that decisions made about their employment may be affected by
       the University‟s inability to obtain a report.

 9.4   Employees are required to attend OH referral appointments. Employees
       will be notified in writing of their OH appointment. The University is keen
       to ensure that waiting times for OH referrals are kept as short as possible.
       It is therefore important that the employee:

          contacts OH or HR as soon as they know they cannot attend an
          turn up for appointments at the right time
          notify HR with any changes to their contact address or phone number
          let OH know if there are any dates when they know they will not be
           able to attend i.e. pre-planned holidays

 9.5   Employees can request to reschedule their OH appointment, provided that
       the employee contacts OH within 48 hours of receiving their
       appointment. To assist OH rearrange appointments, employees should
       provide dates when they will not be available when they contact OH.
       Contact details are:

       Telephone: 0121 627 3893

       Where possible a new appointment time will be agreed at the time and all
       new appointments will be confirmed in writing. The appointment will
       normally only be re-organised on one occasion in these circumstances.

       If an appointment time becomes unsuitable the employee will be entitled
       to re-organise the appointment on one occasion provided that, at least 48
       hours prior to the appointment, the employee makes the request to OH to
       reschedule that appointment.

       If an employee is unable to give adequate notice to attend an appointment
       and the reason was not reasonably foreseeable, the appointment will be
       rearranged (e.g. illness on the day, or car breaking down). However, if the
       meeting falls through a second time for unforeseeable reasons, the
       University will be under no obligation to organise another appointment
       time with OH.

 9.6   The OH needs to be able to run efficiently to meet demands for
       appointments quickly. Employees who do not attend their appointments
       seriously impact on the efficiency of this service.

       Failure to attend or cancel without sufficient notice will result in OH
       notifying HR and the line manager. The employee should be aware that
       decisions made about their employment may be affected by the
       University‟s inability to obtain advice from OH

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   9.7    When the individual is due to return, the employee and the line manager
          should take advice from the OH and Human Resources on whether a
          phased return might be useful to aid the employee‟s recovery. This can
          be a helpful way of getting the employee back to work more quickly.
          Phased returns may be agreed on an individual basis and can include: a
          phasing of full duties or hours of work; restricted duties and/or reasonable
          workplace adjustments. Where there is a temporary phasing of hours,
          annual leave accrued during the absence can be used to ensure there is
          no financial impact on the employee. When a longer phasing of hours is
          required, employees can be paid on a pro-rata basis to facilitate the
          reduction in hours. In addition, where appropriate employees can also
          apply for disability leave to accommodate phased returns.

10. Sick Pay

   The calculation of sick pay is the responsibility of the Payroll section of HR.

   10.4 Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)

          The University is responsible for paying Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in
          accordance with regulations laid down by the Social Security and Housing
          Benefit Act 1982 as amended. SSP is payable for 28 weeks in any one
          period of incapacity for work as defined by the regulations. Further details
          of the SSP scheme may be obtained from HR.

   10.5 Occupational Sick Pay (OSP)

          Entitlement to occupational sick pay, payable by the University, is related
          to an employee's reckonable service with the University. Reckonable
          service is the continuous service an employee has with the University and
          any service with other Universities, Colleges and certain public bodies
          immediately prior to starting work with the University. Full details of the
          relevant public bodies are available from HR. For service to be classed
          as continuous, the University must have made its offer of
          employment before the employment with an employer specified in the
          schedule of the Order terminated, and employment with Edinburgh Napier
          University must have started within 4 weeks of that termination date.

          Occupational Sick Pay(OSP) is added to the Statutory Sick Pay amount
          paid to an employee off sick. OSP is paid based on eligibility (see table
          below) and has the effect of paying employees the equivalent of their
          normal pay, for a period during their absence, followed by the equivalent
          of half pay for a period of their absence (for details see table below).

          Entitlement to OSP, payable by the University is as follows:

    Service at the start of          Full Pay allowance          Half Pay allowance
    absence period
    Less than 3 months                     0 weeks                      0 weeks
    3 months but less than 6               3 weeks                      3 weeks

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    months service
    6 months but less than 1              5 weeks                     5 weeks
    years service
    1 year but less than 2                9 weeks                     9 weeks
    years service
    2 years but less than 3              18 weeks                    18 weeks
    years service
    3 years but less than 5              22 weeks                    22 weeks
    years service
    5 years or more service              26 weeks                    26 weeks

11. Work Related Absence

    All work related accidents, injury or other circumstances will be reported to OH.
    Accidents, injury or other circumstances in excess of three days will result in an
    immediate referral to OH.

    The University is committed to establishing an effective and committed
    approach to prevent work related stress throughout the University and provide
    supporting services where cases of stress are identified. The Occupational
    Stress Policy details how it will achieve this aim. Additional guidance for staff
    and managers provides details of how stress can be recognised and monitored,
    as well as providing guidelines as to how it can be reduced.

12. Dealing with unsatisfactory attendance

    If an individual‟s absences meet or exceed the University‟s triggers (see
    Appendix B), line managers should seek the advice of Human Resources and
    follow the procedures in both the Employee Support and/or Disciplinary
    Procedures where appropriate.

    In cases of repeated short term absences for apparently unrelated causes, the
    employee can also be referred to the OH for an independent medical opinion
    and depending on the outcome may exceptionally be asked to submit medical
    certificates for every absence.

13. Ill-health retirement

    It is always the University‟s aim to help an employee back to work after a long
    illness. However, there will be rare occasions where there is no prospect of
    return to work in a reasonable time period. In such instances, where the OH
    believe there is no prospect of return before normal retirement age, they may
    recommend early retirement on the grounds of ill-health, following information
    received from the employees GP and or specialist. The final decision on
    whether ill-health retirement is granted rests with the appropriate pension
    scheme. Details relating to the Scottish Teachers Superannuation Scheme and
    the Lothian Pension Fund can be found on the HR intranet
    sions.aspx ).

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14. Dismissal on the Grounds of Capability

    Where there is no return date within a reasonable length of time, but ill-health
    retirement does not apply, the Statutory Disciplinary and Dismissal procedure
    (DDP) will apply on the grounds of capability.

15. How sickness affects holidays and statutory leave entitlements

    For the purposes of this policy: “statutory leave” is defined as the statutory
    minimum leave entitlement (28 days) provided for in the Working Time
    Regulations 1998; “holiday entitlement” is defined as the employee‟s
    contractual holiday entitlement, excluding fixed holidays.

    If an employee is ill during a pre-booked period of holiday entitlement, they will
    be given holiday entitlement in lieu (the timing of which must be agreed with
    their line manager) provided they submit a medical certificate from their doctor.

    If the employee is sick on a day they would not normally work e.g. a weekend,
    public or similar holiday, a University closure day, they will not receive any
    leave in lieu, unless their leave falls below the statutory minimum.

    Employees will accrue holiday entitlement at the rate provided under their
    contract or statutory leave whatever is the greater during all periods of sickness
    and it is expected that accrued holiday entitlement or statutory leave will
    normally be taken in the holiday year it is accrued. The line manager and the
    employee should incorporate leave arrangements into their planning where it is
    possible to do so.

    Holiday entitlement or statutory leave not taken by the end of the current leave
    year will normally lapse, with the exception of 5 days which may be carried over
    at the discretion of the line manager and should be taken as soon as is
    practicable. However this is subject to the requirement that an employee take at
    least his or her statutory leave during each leave year unless prevented from
    doing so, by the University or through sickness.

    In the circumstances where an employee has been absent for the entire leave
    year and has exhausted all sick pay but remains on sick leave, it may be
    possible, with agreement of their line manager for the employee to be paid their
    accrued holiday entitlement or statutory leave. For the avoidance of doubt, the
    employee would be paid holiday pay during this agreed period of annual leave
    and no sick pay will be paid in addition to that.

    The University will ensure that employees accrue no less than his or her
    statutory leave. This may mean that part or all of the statutory leave not taken
    could be paid, and/or carried forward into the following year, as agreed with
    their line manager.

16. Caring responsibilities and other personal business

    The University has well established policies for absence which are not related
    to personal sickness. A list of other relevant policies can be found in Appendix

17. Unauthorised absence

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     17.1      If the employee does not comply with this procedure the absence will
               be regarded as unauthorised. This may result in deduction of pay and /
               or disciplinary action being taken.

     17.2      Managers must notify HR where an employee is absent from work
               without authorisation.

               The University has a legal obligation as an employer of non resident
               workers (out with the EEA), to report unauthorised absences of more
               than 10 days, to the Borders and Immigration department.

If the employee needs further help or advice the employee can use any of the
contacts below:

Human Resources                                                           Ext 3362
Occupational Health Services                                              Ext 3634
Health and Safety                                                         Ext 3605
Carefirst (24 hour confidential helpline)                              0800 174319

                                                                         APPENDIX A


Staff responsibilities

   All employees have a personal responsibility to:

           contact their manager on the first day of absence unless unable to do so
            and agree follow up contact times

           attend work when they are fit to do their job

           understand and comply with University regulations for reporting sickness

           attend any appointments with Occupational Health. Failure to do so may
            result in employment decisions being made based on information already
            available to the University when considering attendance or performance

           ensure OH attendance at the correct time, or notify them within 48 hours of
            receipt of appointment to reschedule, or as soon as possible if for some
            reason they are unable to attend

           ensure any accidents at work are recorded and reported

Line managers responsibilities

   Line managers have a responsibility to:

           contact the employee and enquire about the employee's health if the
            employee fails to contact the manager in line with paragraph 5.
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         monitor the employee‟s absence and support them through a period of

         seek a referral to OH for any continuous absence which lasts four weeks
          or more

         advise the employee of the referral to OH with the employee and consult
          the employee about medical information received

         set up monthly review meetings/discussions with Human Resources to
          review OH advice on long-term absence cases

         conduct a return to work interview with the employee in all medium and
          long-term ill-health cases

         explore all reasonable options to support a return to work, this may
          include: phasing hours of work and workload; temporary alternative tasks;
          permanent redeployment; reasonable workplace adjustments and
          considering whether the case is potentially covered by the Disability
          Discrimination Act

         keep records of employee absences and ensure Human Resources are
          notified by completing a Managers‟ Monthly Absence Return Form which
          should be sent to HR by the 5th of every month

         review whether there are frequent unrelated short-term absences or
          patterns of absence and if so, should follow advice from Human
          Resources to determine the most appropriate action

Role of Human Resources

   Human Resources will:

         provide advice and guidance for managers and employees, and will
          monitor the implementation of this policy and procedure

          keep computerised sickness records and produce Management
          Information reports at University, department or individual level. Quarterly
          absence reports will be provided to the Health & Safety committee

         identify any trends and consider what positive action might be taken to
          address them

         provide a representative to accompany the manager where the employee
          agrees to a home visit

Role of the Occupational Health Service (OH)

The OH advises Human Resources, individual managers and employees. OH will:

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         advise whether or not someone has a condition that is likely to be covered
          by the DDA and whether there are any reasonable adjustments, such as
          Disability Leave or workplace modifications that could be made to enable
          employees to return to their existing jobs or any suitable alternative jobs.

         advise employees and managers about dealing with certain types of
          illnesses or conditions – this can include advice on the diagnosis,
          prognosis, likely length of absence, and potential reasonable adjustments
          the University can make to support and facilitate a return to work.

         see employees who either self-refer or are referred by management
          through Human Resources, determining when the referral should take
          place, keeping waiting times to a minimum unless there is a planned
          medical intervention e.g. surgery, in which case the referral may take
          place post – operatively

         when appropriate and with the individual‟s consent, seek a further medical
          opinion from an employee‟s GP or treating specialist

         give guidance to line managers and Human Resources about the
          prognosis of an illness and/or likely return where a employee is absent
          from work

         monitor health and illness trends in the workplace including conditions
          engendered by stress

         provide health promotion advice

Role of Health & Safety (H&S)

The Health & Safety (H&S) team develop comprehensive policies and procedures
and provide expert advice to employee and managers on all health and safety

They also advise managers and employees where sickness absence is a result of an
accident at work.

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                                                                       APPENDIX B


Before considering action line managers should consider each case on its merits and
take account of:

         isolated illnesses/accidents which depending on the length of absence
          may not lead to formal action in an otherwise good attendance record

         employees who are not fully fit, e.g. those who have a chronic condition or
          disability in which case the Disability Leave policy may apply. In such
          cases, line managers should seek advice from Human Resources.

Where there are doubts about whether any action should be taken line managers
must contact their HR Client Partner.

Line managers will start action for poor or irregular attendance in accordance with
the Employee Support Procedure when:

         self certificated absences in any twelve month period exceed ten working

         absences meet or exceed five working days in a six month period or less,
          although one isolated absence of five days would not necessarily require

         absences fall regularly on specific days, e.g. a Friday and/or Monday

         absences meet or exceed four spells in a six month period or less,
          irrespective of the length of absences

         absences which are frequent and for non-specific illnesses – especially
          where these are self-certificated

         where an employee‟s attendance record is significantly worse than that of
          comparable employees

If the employee or line manager believes an individual‟s illnesses may be related an
OH referral can be arranged. These referrals can help identify any underlying
causes and any support which may help the individual‟s health and attendance.

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                                                                    APPENDIX C

                   Attending Return to Work Interviews

    This informal dialogue should confirm the general nature of the absence, offer
    support and ensure that a return to work medical has been conducted by OH
    as appropriate (mandatory in long-term absences).

    In it the line manager should:

              check that the employee is fit to return

              clarify the reason for absence (if pregnancy-related notify Human

              inform the employee of any important work issues/changes while
               they have been away e.g. progress on jobs/ changes to team

              plan getting back to work

    Where a line manager is concerned about the level or pattern of absences
    they should obtain a copy of the sickness absence record from Human
    Resources and conduct a return to work interview within three working days

       explain the level and any pattern of sickness absence (if a pattern is

       clarify the reason(s) for the employee‟s absence

       discuss ways of improving attendance

       remind the employee about the standard of attendance expected

       look at what support can be offered and initiate Employee Support as

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                                                 APPENDIX D

                              Related Policies

Disability leave policy

Maternity policy

Employee Support policy

Occupational Stress Policy

Managing Stress - Guide for Employees

Managing Stress – Guide for Employers

Alcohol & Substance misuse policy

Flexible Working

Flexitime Policy

Annual leave

Time off for Dependant care

Compassionate leave

Parental leave

Disciplinary policy

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