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MANAGING SICKNESS

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					MANAGING SICKNESS ABSENCE

     GUIDANCE NOTES




      FOR EMPLOYEES




                            1
                            C O N T E N T S



                                               Page Number



Policy Objectives                                3

General Guidance                                 3-5

Categorisation of Sickness Absence               5-6

Procedures to follow                             6-7

Process to follow                                7-9

Maintaining Contact                              9 - 12

Long Term Absence                                12 - 13

Return to work guidelines                        13

Role of the Personnel Section                    14

Role of the Occupational Health Unit             14 - 15

Guidance for Referral to Occupational Health     15 - 16

Medical Suspension                               17

Sickness Reporting Procedures                    18 - 20

Procedure at Medical Capability Hearing          20 - 21




                                                           2
                                POLICY OBJECTIVES

(i)    To equip schools to deal with sickness absence problems more effectively
       through the provision guidelines/procedures on how to manage sickness absence
       within the working environment.

(ii)   To improve and maintain the health of our employees by ensuring:

       (a)   safe and healthy working environments.

       (b)   provision of adequate Occupational Health and Welfare functions to
             provide professional support/advice for Headteachers and employees on ill
             health matters.

       (c)   That all employees experiencing ill health problems are treated in a
             fair/consistent manner and receive the necessary support wherever
             possible to enable them to improve their health and/or to maintain their
             employment.

NB     The involvement of Personnel throughout the whole procedure will largely depend
       upon the Service Level Agreement purchased by the “employing school”.



                                GENERAL GUIDANCE

The Role and Responsibility of the Headteacher

It is essentially good practice for Headteachers to monitor, provide advice and support
to employees and ensure consistency in response to sickness absence. If action is
required Headteachers should follow the recognised procedure, take account of the
medical evidence and always recognise that a employee may be reluctant to divulge
information about distressing and embarrassing medical conditions. When the employee
chooses not to disclose this type of information a confidential meeting may be arranged
between Personnel and/or Employee Support Officer and the employee together with a
Trade Union representative or workplace colleague.

It is good management practice to make sure that staff are seen on their return to
work after a period of absence to monitor their well being.

If there are concerns regarding sickness absence of a Headteacher “Chair of
Governors” should be inserted in the guidelines in the place of “Headteacher”. The Chair
of Governors is strongly advised to consult Personnel throughout the process.

N.B.   Throughout the document where a trade union representative is stated it
       may instead be a workplace colleague if this is preferred.




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Confidentiality and Sensitivity

Headteachers should stress to all employees working in schools that medical information
about them will be treated in confidence and that if an employee feels concerned about
discussing sensitive or embarrassing information with the Headteacher they may ask to
discuss the matter with another appropriate senior employee. In all cases the correct
procedure must still be followed.

All employees should be made aware that any breach of confidentiality will be regarded
as a serious matter, with disciplinary action taken if warranted.

Headteachers should ensure that only other employees who need to know about the
absence of a colleague are informed and that they are given only the minimum of
information. Having said that however it may be good practice to share with staff the
progress being made by employees’ absence (i.e. if they have recently undergone an
operation).

Many medical conditions have emotional as well as physical effects. An employee may
feel that there is a stigma attached to their condition. A sympathetic, supportive and
discreet approach is required when undertaking the management role.

Headteachers must be consistent in their approach and treat all employees fairly. This
does not mean treating all employees the same because each case will be unique. In
every case it is important to remember that a caring, understanding approach should be
taken.

Headteachers should bear in mind that:

1.      the purpose of a Managing Sickness Absence Policy and Procedure is to identify
        reasons for poor attendance and to ameliorate the situation;
2.      an employee should not be expected to work when ill, nor be expected to work
        at home whilst ill;
3.      medical information about employees must be treated confidentially.

In addition care should be taken with personal belongings in the school of employees who
are absence. These should not be removed without the permission of the employee. It
is advisable for the Headteacher to discuss with the employee if they are likely to be
off for a long period what, if any, personal belongings they have at school and where
they would like them placing.

Developing an Overall Approach

Positive action can be taken to improve working conditions and increase the motivation to
attend work. Headteachers should ensure that the school’s Managing Sickness Absence
Policy and Procedure are clear and understood by all employees and that:-

1.      appropriate induction, training and support are provided for new employees.
2.      supervisory training is adequate.
3.      senior staff/supervisors take an interest in the health and welfare of
        employees they are responsible for;


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4.      working practices are examined to see if they are appropriate;
5.      job design, training, career development and promotion policies, communication
        procedures and welfare provision are regularly reviewed and evaluated;
6.      health and safety standards are rigorously maintained.

Overview

Always attempt to respond to sickness in a sympathetic and constructive way. If there
is a long-term or permanent problem, consideration should be given to other employment
within the school (including the reduction of hours worked). Finally early retirement on
the grounds of ill health should be considered, in consultation with Personnel. (Please
note that employees will need to be permanently unfit to teach in order to qualify for ill-
health retirement). If there is no practicable way of solving the problem, in the final
resort it has to be recognised that regular attendance at work is part of an employee’s
contract of employment and, if the employee is medically unfit to work, termination of
the contract may be the appropriate course of action.

N.B.   Implications of the Disability Discrimination Act must be considered, not only
       for new employees but also for existing employees who become disabled.
       Employers are required under the Act to make reasonable adjustments to
       accommodate disability. Personnel will provide further advice on employee cases.

Personnel Officers and Employee Support Officers are readily and confidentially
available to give advice and support on all matters relating to the management of
sickness absence.

                                  SICKNESS ABSENCE

Sickness absence is a difficult and sensitive area for both management and employees.

All categories of sickness require constant and careful monitoring but it is those cases
falling within category (2) where you may be able to exercise most influence. Occasional
spells of short-term sickness are a fact of life about which little can be done, whilst
those cases which come under the last three categories represent exceptional
conditions which need to be treated individually with specific advice sought on each
case.

It is essential that a flexible, sensitive approach is taken towards every single case.
There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, there might well be underlying personal,
domestic, or work-related circumstances which need to be taken into account and,
secondly, an abrasive approach will tend to have a detrimental effect on morale and will
certainly not lead to the desired result which is an improvement in attendance at work.




                                                                                         5
CATEGORY                                                                          EXAMPLES

1.   SHORT TERM: OCCASIONAL
     Occasional spells of short-term sickness not necessarily related probably    Colds
     amounting to less than 10 working days per year.                             Stomach upsets

2. SHORT TERM: REGULAR
   Regular spells of short-term sickness – not necessarily related – probably     Colds, Coughs,
   amounting to more than 10 working days per year.                               Chills, etc,
                                                                                  Stomach Upsets
3. SHORT TERM: PERSISTENT
   Regular periods of short-term absence resulting from a chronic ailment or      Asthma, Migraine
   condition which may not be curable but is controllable and should not
   prevent effective performance by the employee when at work.

4. LONG TERM: SPECIFIC
   Protracted period of absence due to an operation or an illness where the       Broken leg,
   employee is expected to return to work and resume a satisfactory               Hysterectomy,
   attendance record.                                                             Appendicitis
5. LONG TERM: PROGRESSIVE
   Protracted and indefinite periods of sickness caused by a worsening long-      Cancer, Severe
   term health problem                                                            heart conditions



     N.B.   Stress related absences could appear in any category



                                THE PROCEDURES TO FOLLOW

     It is not the intention of this document to lay down a rigid definition of what
     constitutes an acceptable or unacceptable level of absence due to sickness.

     It is recommended that at certain stages management should review the situation. The
     suggested review points could be:

     a)   4 working weeks continuous absence
     b)   5 or more periods of absence in a 6 month period
     c)   10 or more working days absence in a 12 month period
     d)   when operational need dictates (please consult Personnel for further advice).

     These review points should only be used as an indication to Management that particular
     employees absence levels have reached a point where there may be cause for concern
     and as such a need to investigate.

     The review points themselves should not be used as an automatic mechanism against
     employees who exceed them, it may well be that they bring to light welfare/support
     requirements for the employee. Also in cases such as flu epidemics it may not be
     appropriate to apply the procedure.



                                                                                            6
Recording/Monitoring Absence

In dealing with any absence and for review points to be effective it is essential that all
absence is monitored in a consistent way to ensure that all information is correct and
that all staff are treated in a sensitive and fair manner.

Information Systems

Accurate information is a pre-requisite of effective absence control.

It is for each Headteacher to decide how s/he intends to record such information.

The decision as to whether employee cases need dealing with will be a matter of
judgement, based on personal knowledge of the employee’s circumstances.

On highlighting an employee’s absence, further examination should determine: -

•   the precise days (as opposed to dates)
•   which days were certified
•   whether sickness adjoined a holiday
•   the precise reason for absence
•   whether any discussion/action has been taken in the past.



                                      THE PROCESS

Before starting the process Headteachers should ensure they are treating employees
fairly by monitoring the absences of all employees.

The process outlined below indicates the procedures to be followed when a
Headteacher, having reviewed an employee’s record, decides that the employee case
needs attention. It is hoped, of course, that by the end of the informal discussion,
sufficient progress will have been achieved to resolve the matter.

Informal Discussion

(in the vast majority of cases, an informal discussion will be all that is needed)

As stated earlier monitoring absence is a managerial responsibility. Headteachers will
have the greatest knowledge of absence cases within the school and quite possibly, an
awareness of some of the problems, including difficulties at home/or within the school
that might be expressed in the level of sickness absence. The reason for the absence
might be perfectly understandable and acceptable, and as a result of the discussion you
may be reassured that the person’s attendance will soon improve, perhaps with your help
and assistance. This is a most important step and should never be avoided. A diary note
that the discussion has taken place should be kept. The employee should be offered the
right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or workplace colleague at any
discussions.




                                                                                        7
Formal Interview

An informal discussion will normally be sufficient to prevent a real problem from
developing but if an employee’s attendance record begins to cause serious concern, a
formal interview should be arranged giving 5 working days notice. It is recommended
that this should be conducted by the Headteacher. The employee should be informed
that they have the right to be accompanied by a trade union representative or work
colleague. Throughout the interview management will need to be sensitive and act in a
way that maintains a free from censure atmosphere.

The following is a suggested guide to preparing for and conducting a formal interview.

Preparation

The facts of the case should be clearly established and double-checked for:

•   how many days of sickness absence has the employee taken in the last 12 months?
•   how many periods of sickness absence have been taken?
•   what type or types of illness have been reported?
•   have the reporting/certification procedures been followed?
•   do the periods of absence form an identifiable pattern?
•   is there a correlation between the sickness absence taken and particular work
    patterns, e.g. adjoining weekends or annual leave?
•   has Personnel, Welfare or Medical advice previously been sought?

Notification

The employee should be requested in writing to attend the interview (5 working days
notice should be given) and any factual information e.g. details of dates/type of absence
should be enclosed. In addition the employee should be reminded of their right to be
accompanied by a Trade Union representative or workplace colleague.

The Interview

Although this is the first recorded interview, the discussion should be as relaxed and as
informal as possible as the objective is to clarify precisely the facts and circumstances
of the employee’s absence, and they are more likely to reveal the underlying reason for
absence if the interview is not “threatening”. It is essential that the employee is given
ample opportunity to explain the reasons for their level of absence and, unless
circumstances dictate otherwise, the following format should be adopted:-

•   in order to help the employee to feel comfortable, they should be reassured that
    the purpose of the interview is to investigate a concern – it is not a disciplinary
    interview
•   the employee should be informed of the facts held by the school
•   the employee should be invited to explain their level of attendance and
    clarify/dispute facts
•   the employee should be asked if there are any personal or domestic circumstances
    which have been affecting their attendance




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•       if appropriate, the employee should be encouraged to seek medical/welfare advice
        through Personnel
•       if appropriate, changes in working arrangements should be discussed
•       if appropriate management will undertake to give the employee any advice and
        assistance necessary
•       if appropriate, attendance will be further reviewed after 3 months

A representative from Personnel should also be in attendance to offer support and
guidance on procedures to be maintained. Details of the interview should be agreed by,
and copies given to, all parties.

The Review Process

It is essential that in the period following the first interview, an employee’s attendance
is monitored. In most cases the review date will be set for 3 months’ after the first
interview. The Headteacher must ensure that any advice or assistance, which was
offered at the original interview, has been given. If a review was felt to be appropriate,
as the end of the review period approaches the Headteacher should prepare for the
review in the same way as for the first interview. However, where medical/welfare
advice has been sought, the Headteacher should ensure that this has been received and
that any implications have been discussed with Personnel.

At the interview, the level of absence over the period will be discussed. However, if
appropriate the employee may be informed that the review period will be extended for a
further three months. Details of this interview should be agreed by, and copies given
to, all parties.

As a result of the second review if there are no concerns it should be explained to the
employee that the process is concluded. The employee should receive confirmation of
this, in writing.

If by the end of the second period there is still a concern advice should be sought from
Personnel as to the most appropriate course of action. The advice may be that:

(i)        there has been reasonable improvement and that the monitoring should stop.
(ii)       that the review process continue
(iii)      consider whether to refer the case to a disciplinary hearing. This is only likely
           to be appropriate if the Headteacher believes absence is unjustified or
           unauthorised, or if the employee indicates that they have no intention of
           attempting to resolve the problem.

If, following an acceptable first three months, an employee’s attendance record reverts
to an unacceptable level, the procedure detailed above should be followed.

If, on the advice of Personnel/the Occupational Health Unit, it is clear that no long-
term improvement is possible, then a disciplinary hearing is definitely not appropriate,
because it is pointless to issue a warning to improve. In such cases, the most
appropriate course of action will be recommended by Personnel.




                                                                                          9
                              MAINTAINING CONTACT

The following advice is offered as guidance to Headteachers on maintaining contact with
employees who are off sick.

The Headteacher has a dual responsibility, concern for the welfare of the employee and
to keep up to date regarding the employee’s absence. They should make it clear to the
employee the purpose of making contact and whether it is in relation to the informal or
formal stage of the procedure.

The Headteacher should always consider whether they are the best person to make
contact or whether there is another employee who could establish and maintain a better
link. Either way it is the Headteachers’ responsibility to keep abreast of any
development and to take appropriate action.

Headteachers should decide on the most appropriate method of making contact based on
their knowledge of and relationship with the employee, the nature of the illness, the
general circumstances, the length and/or frequency of absence.

The purpose of such contact is to:

•   provide support to the employee;
•   demonstrate the school’s interest in the employee’s welfare;
•   ensure the employee complies with sickness reporting procedures so that they do
    not lose pay or benefits;
•   help the Headteacher assess the possible length of the absence to plan how to cover
    the employee’s duties during their absence and to prepare for their return to work
    if appropriate.

Before the contact is made it is recommended that advice is sought from a Personnel
Officer (if appropriate this may involve the Occupational Health Unit) and that where
appropriate the Trade Union Representative is informed.

Welfare contact may take the form of a telephone call, a card or letter, a visit by the
Headteacher in person or by proxy, e.g. by a colleague of the employee, a visit with
another person, e.g. Personnel Officer or a combination of the above.

Any contact made with a employee must be handled sensitively. Whilst having a
responsibility to keep abreast of the situation Headteachers must be mindful that the
contact must not be seen as harassment.

Telephone Contact

In cases where the absence is stress/anxiety related, or where disciplinary action may
be/has been taken or in particularly complex situations, where telephone contact is
proposed, advice should be sought from Personnel in consultation with the Trade Union
where appropriate, before contact is made. Contact should always be made by the
Headteacher or a nominated person who knows the employee well. The purpose of the
telephone call is to demonstrate concern. Calls should not be too frequent or intrusive
and should not normally be made before the employee has been absent for two weeks or


                                                                                    10
when a second medical certificate has been received indicating absence for a further
two weeks or more.
Meetings

Prior agreement should be made with the employee regarding date, time and venue for
the meeting. Possible locations may be the employee’s home, the school or an LEA
establishment. Employees should be advised that they have the right to be accompanied
by a Trade Union representative or workplace colleague.

Headteachers are advised to call upon the services of Personnel, who will give specific
advice and guidance.

Potential Difficulties

If the employee appears uneasy and requests the presence of their Trade Union
Representative, adjourn the visit and re-schedule to include the representative.

If the employee does not wish the visit to take place please contact Personnel for
further advice.

Exchange of Information

Invite the employee to tell you about the problem they are experiencing. (This may well
differ from those shown on the sick note). Sensitivity is required here. Use open
questions, listen actively, prompt and encourage where necessary.

Note any queries and concerns which the employee may have concerning their pay,
benefits, pension situation, half-pay date, expiry of pay date, etc.

If you do not have the answers to hand, assure the employee that you will find out and
let them know as soon as possible.

Summary/Close Interview

Summarise the situation to give the employee the opportunity to agree/disagree with
your assessment and correct it if appropriate. Outline the agreed action.

Contact by the Employee

For details of notifying the school regarding sickness absence please refer to the
section on sickness reporting procedures.

It also helps the school to cope with cover for absence if, in the case of long term
absence, the employee visits the doctor before the expiry of the sick note and/or
obtains a sick note for a longer period if the doctor is clear that the absence will
continue.

This applies to all staff but is particularly important for employees, to allow the school
sufficient time to arrange appropriate cover.




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It is obviously helpful to the school if the employee is able to contact the school as early
as possible to update them on the situation.

                                    LONG TERM ABSENCE

Advice should be sought from Personnel as to when a sickness absence is viewed as long
term.

Consultation/Communication

It is essential that consultation continues between the school and the employee whilst
they are absent. In practice this means:

1.   Maintaining contact with the employee once it becomes clear that the illness is
     likely to be long term.
2.   Periodic contact with the employee throughout the duration of the illness.
3.   Seeking the employee’s own views as to their likely recovery and ability to
     undertake different kinds of work in the school or reasonable adjustments that
     could be made, mechanisms to assist the return to work, if appropriate; the
     Occupational Health Unit through Personnel will offer advice in this area.
4.   Discuss the possibility of any return to work meeting.
5.   Keeping the employee informed of the likely implications of continued absence from
     their job. This should be done in a non-threatening way.

N.B.       Where the GP provides a definite return date it would normally be ill advised for
           the school to take action. This also applies when the employee has applied for ill-
           health retirement. Following a long-term absence of an employee if the GP
           cannot provide a return date the school may feel it has no alternative but to
           take action.

The Process

1.   Regular contact between the school and the employee.

2.   Assistance in the return to work.

     (a)     the offer of provision of reasonable support in consultation with the employee
             and Personnel Officer/Employee Support Officer/the Occupational Health
             Unit.
     (b)     on the basis of medical advice, the consideration of any alternative
             work/reduced hours within the school where this is practicable.

N.B.       Employers are required under the Disability Discrimination Act to make
           reasonable adjustments to accommodate disability. Personnel, the Welfare
           Service and Disability Services Team will provide further advice.

3.   After a long term absence if the employee is still not fit to return to work at this
     stage:




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     (a)   The school should advise the individual of their entitlement to sickness pay
           (please refer to the section on this later in the guidance notes).
     (b)   The school must obtain an up to date medical report via the Occupational
           Health Unit.
     (c)   the employee must be informed that the school is considering taking action
           against them, which may result in dismissal.

4.   A hearing is held by a Committee of the Governing Body to determine the
     employee’s medical capability to undertake the duties of their contract of
     employment. The employee and/or representative will be invited to attend.

5.   In the unlikely event that an employee refuses to co-operate in providing medical
     evidence or to undergo an independent medical examination management may have
     to make decisions on the information available and the employee should be informed
     of this in writing (plus the fact that dismissal is being considered).

6.   It the governors decide to terminate the contract the employee will receive the
     appropriate entitlement to full notice period as well as the right of Appeal to the
     Appeals Committee of the governing body.

7.   At any stage in the process Personnel will be available to meet with the employee
     and to provide estimates if the employee is considering ill health retirement.


                                  RETURN TO WORK

There are two instances to take account of firstly short-term absences and secondly
medium to long term absences.

Where an employee is returning from a short-term absence the Headteacher or
designated senior employee should hold an informal discussion with the employee. The
purpose of such will be to ascertain the health of the employee and whether or not
there are any underlying issues (either personal or work related) which need to be taken
into account. It also enables the employee to be updated on any new developments
within the school.

Issues which are seen as good practice to raise with the employee are:-

•    Ascertain the health of the employee
•    Are there any areas of work the employee feels may cause problems
•    Any changes to work patterns
•    Developments in the school during the absence of the employee
•    Changes to staffing structures in the school during the absence

Where an employee is returning from a medium to long term absence then any medical or
welfare information available should be taken into account. This is vital where the
employee may be classified as disabled under the definitions outlined within the
Disability Discrimination Act. Possible options for returning an employee to the work
base could be reduced hours over an agreed period of time; change in working areas.
Advice should be sought at all times from Personnel on how to proceed.



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                      THE ROLE OF THE PERSONNEL SECTION

The LEA’s Personnel Section has a dedicated team monitoring sickness absence through
the monitoring of monthly returns from schools.

If concern is raised then the Personnel Section will make contact initially with the
school to ascertain the current situation regarding an employee. If that employee still
remains unfit for work and the school are in agreement then contact will be made
offering welfare support. Should follow-up visits be made then the support of a
dedicated Employee Support Officer will be made.

The Personnel Officer will keep the school updated at all times on the current state of
health of employees together with co-ordinating any meetings/referrals to Occupational
Health. Personnel are also on hand to offer advice and guidance on the procedures to be
followed at all times. Personnel will also liase with Trade Union representatives as
appropriate.

NB      The extent of the involvement of Personnel/the Employee Support Service will
        depend on the Service Level Agreement adopted by the “employing school” in
        respect of Personnel Services.

        Personnel will be able to establish what support can be offered at first hand.

Also attached to the Personnel Section are two dedicated Employee Support Officers
who provide a confidential counselling and welfare service to all employees within the
Directorate of Education & Personal Development.


                  THE ROLE OF THE OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH UNIT

1.   To provide management with up-to-date medical advice on the health of an
     employee.
2.   To advise, support and counsel staff regarding their health problems with the view
     to assisting their return to work wherever possible.
3.   To obtain medical reports to assist the employee and management in the return to
     work.
4.   To liase with medical practitioners and other health professionals and management
     regarding phased return to work.
5.   To advise management of their duties under the Disability Discrimination Act 1995
     in relation to redeployment, adaptation of working environments.
6.   To obtain medical reports to ascertain the up to date medical position/a prognosis
     of the likely return to work, and when this would be/if the person is unlikely/unable
     to return to work. These reports will be confidential to the Occupational Health
     Unit and full contents released only with written consent of the employee.

Medical Reports

In the case of medical reports by medical practitioners who are or who have been
responsible for the clinical care of the employee, the Access to Medical Reports Act
1988 gives the employee certain rights:



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1.   The employee has to consent in writing to a report being obtained.
2.   The employee has the right to withhold this consent.
3.   The employee has the right to have access to the report.
4.   The employee has the right to withhold consent to the report being supplied to the
     employer.
5.   The employee has the right to request amendments to the report, and have the
     amendments attached to the report if the doctor refuses to amend the original
     report.

This will therefore apply to medical reports from an employee’s own general practitioner
but not to reports obtained from independent consultants who are not and have not been
involved in the clinical care of the employee.

Under the Access to Health Records Act 1990 employees have the right to apply for
access to records relating to them to the health professionals who hold these records,
although this applies only to information recorded after 1st November 1991.

N.B. In the unlikely event that an employee refuses to co-operate in providing medical
     evidence or to undergo an independent medical examination management may have
     to make decisions on the information available, and the employee should be
     informed of this in writing (plus the fact that dismissal is being considered if this
     is the case).



             GUIDELINES FOR REFERRALS TO OCCUPATIONAL HEALTH

The Occupational Health Unit’s aim is to support the employee through their problems,
where this is possible, with the intention of helping the employee to eventually return to
work if this is what the employee wishes.

There may be occasions when the health of an employee may be a concern to the
management of a school. In these cases, the Headteacher may feel it appropriate to
request the services of the Occupational Health Unit via the Personnel Section.

The Occupational Health Unit will try to clarify the underlying health problem, this
action can range from consulting an employee’s doctor or specialist to determine the
likely length, type and cause of the illness to arranging counselling for the employee.

The Process

1.   The concern should be raised initially by the Headteacher with the Personnel
     Section.

     Personnel will be responsible for co-ordinating referrals, to ensure that the correct
     process is followed and that all parties to the case are kept informed of progress.

     They also provide counselling where appropriate.




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2. The employee must be made aware of the potential referral to the Occupational
   Health Unit. Where the Headteacher wishes to counsel the employee they should
   have informed that member in writing that if such a meeting takes place they have
   the right to be accompanied by their union representative or workplace colleague.
   Any such meeting should take place before referral and is subject to medical
   constraints. The purpose of this is to ensure that the employee:-

   -   is aware of the potential referral to Occupational Health and the reason for this
       referral.
   -   is informed of the role of Occupational Health to allay any unnecessary fears or
       concerns.
   -   understands that their consent is necessary before referral takes place.

3. Employees should be allowed adequate time to consult with their union
   representative before a referral takes place.

Support Mechanisms

In those cases where an employee has been absent from work due to ill-health for a
considerable period, Occupational Health may recommend mechanisms to assist the
employee to cope with their return to work.

A phased return to work has often been found to be successful and is one mechanism to
be considered on full pay wherever possible.

Extension of Sick Pay

Referrals to Occupational Health do not affect the employee’s right to sick pay
entitlement as detailed in their conditions of service and Manuals of Guidance.

In the past the LEA has granted extensions to sick pay in particular cases and governing
bodies are advised to consider whether they would wish to exercise this discretion in
individual cases.

Access to Medical Records

On referrals to the Occupational Health Unit, the Nurse and/or Doctor may feel it
necessary to request medical information from an employee’s GP or consultant.

Current regulation states that an employee has to give their permission before their
medical information can be made available.

The employee also has the right to see any report supplied to or written by the
Occupational Health Nurse/Doctor before it is sent to the employer and make
amendments if they so wish.




                                                                                     16
                               MEDICAL SUSPENSION

Occasionally it is necessary to suspend a teacher because the health, education or
welfare of the pupils will be put at risk by the teacher’s condition.

There are many medical conditions which may lead to the suspension of a teacher from
duty and advice should always be sought from a Personnel Officer if a Headteacher has
any concerns about a person’s fitness to teach.

Conditions which may present a particular risk are pulmonary tuberculosis or other
infectious diseases, epilepsy and psychiatric disorder (including alcohol and drug misuse)
and as required by the Education (Employees) Regulations 1993 and DfEE Circular 4/99
dated 12th May 1999, a teacher must be suspended:

Pulmonary Tuberculosis

Immediately if they have active pulmonary tuberculosis and should not be permitted to
return to duty until the Occupational Health Unit confirms they are fit;

Epilepsy

i.     from teaching PE (not from general teaching) and any other area with particular
       physical risk is he/she has an epileptic attack; OR
ii.    pending investigations or until treatment is established, if advised to do so by
       the Occupational Health Unit;

Advice should be sought from the Occupational Health Unit in other cases of epilepsy
where seizures are severe or recurrent;

Psychiatric Disorder

If advised to do so by the Occupational Health Unit whilst investigations are proceeding
and treatment is being established.

A employee must not resume teaching, if absent for a continuous period of more that 3
months arising from a psychiatric disorder until they have produced satisfactory
evidence to the Authority that they are fit to do so. It is necessary for a report to be
sent to the Authority by a consultant psychiatrist or the family doctor (if the person
has not been referred to a specialist) stating whether or not the teacher is sufficiently
recovered and fit to teach pupils and be a member of the school community.

Headteachers should contact a Personnel Officer immediately if any of these
situations occur, who will advise on the suspension.




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               EMPLOYEE NOTIFICATION OF SICKNESS ABSENCE

First Day Absence

If you are unable to attend work because of illness or injury you must notify the
Headteacher immediately on the first day of absence. Please note, the first day of
absence is not necessarily the first day of sickness.

On First Day Notification the employee MUST state:

-      The reason for the absence (to simply state “sickness or sick” is not acceptable).
-      Whether the illness is a result of an accident at work;
-      The expected date of return;
-      The date and time you first felt too ill to work.

NOTE: This should be the date and time you first felt too ill to work whether you were
      at work; had finished work or were due to start work.

Fourth Calendar Day of Absence

EMPLOYEES – includes holidays if sickness starts before and/or continues after, but
does not include weekends.

If your absence from work continues beyond three days, further notification must be
made to your Headteacher on the fourth day of absence. Again on the fourth day
notification you must confirm;

-      the nature of your illness
-      the expected date of return

Absence After Seven Days of Sickness

(A Doctor’s statement has to be produced after seven days of sickness, which includes
Saturdays, Sundays and holidays if the sickness starts before and/or continues after.
Days of sickness are different from days of absence).

If your sickness continues after seven days (including Saturday and Sunday) you must
submit to your Headteacher a doctor’s statement i.e. a sick note. This should be
submitted no later than the eighth day of absence.

Continuous Absence

If your absence from work extends beyond the period covered by the first doctor’s
statement (sick note), subsequent doctor’s statements must be submitted to cover your
absence as required by the Department of Health.

In cases where the first doctor’s statement covers a period exceeding 14 days or where
more than one doctor’s statement has been issued, you must obtain a further statement
from your doctor as to your fitness to resume your duties.




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In addition should your health improve during holiday periods and your GP has signed you
fit for work, then you must produce a doctor’s certificate to that effect. If your school
operates normally during the holiday periods then you must send your certificate to the
school to ensure that your sick pay entitlements are not affected. If your school does
not operate normally during the holiday periods then you must send your certificate to
the Personnel Section at Hewson House, Station Road, Brigg.

Return to Work

In respect of Employees, Part 3 – Declaration, of the Medical in Confidence, Self-
Certification Form:

1. does not have to be completed and signed by the Employee for absences of less than
   4 days sickness.
2. has to be completed and signed by the Employee for absences of 4 days or more.

In cases where you feel that for personal reasons you are unable to communicate the
nature of your illness to your Headteacher, you MUST contact one of the following;

1. Employee Support Officer
2. Your dedicated Personnel Officer

Sickness Benefit and/or Compensation

If you are entitled to claim Sickness Benefit or any form of compensation etc, it is
essential that you declare to the Council, details of any payments received.

The above are conditions of employment with the Authority consequently failure to
comply with them may result in:

-    a financial loss to the employee
-    entitlement to S.S.P. being inaccurate
-    an under claim of sickness allowance from the D.H.S.S
-    formal action being taken against the offending employee

Sick Leave Entitlement

The sick leave entitlement of employees is long established and is contained in the
Conditions of Service for SchoolTeachers in England and Wales (the Burgundy Book) and
the National Agreement on Pay & Conditions of Service (the Green Book). Governing
Bodies can extend sick leave (on full or half pay) at their discretion.

The entitlements in North Lincolnshire LEA are as follows:

Teaching Staff

In the first year of teaching – 30 working days fully paid leave (after 4 calendar months
service) and 66 half-paid leave.




                                                                                      19
In the second year of teaching – 60 working days fully paid leave plus 99 working days
half-paid leave.

In the third year of teaching – 99 working days fully paid leave plus 99 working days
half-paid leave.

Between four and six years of teaching – 125 working days fully-paid leave plus 125
working days half-paid leave.

Between seven and ten years of teaching – 140 working days fully-paid leave plus 140
working days half-paid leave.

Ten years of teaching or more – 155 working days fully-paid leave plus 155 working days
half-paid leave.

The year for the purposes of the sickness entitlement runs from 1 April to 31 March. A
sickness absence which spans these dates is counted wholly against the entitlement of
the year ending 31 March, i.e. if a employee has exhausted full-pay entitlement in a year
and suffers a two week illness commencing on 26 March, full-pay entitlement will not
revive when the new sick pay year begins on 1 April. The new year’s entitlement will not
commence until after a return to work.

Other Employees

During the 1st year of service – 1 month’s full pay and (after completing 4 months
service) 2 months half pay.

During the 2nd year of service – 2 months full pay and 2 months half pay.

During the 3rd year of service – 4 months full pay and 4 months half pay.

During the 4th and 5th years of service – 5 months full pay and 5 months half pay.

After 5 years service – 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay.

      HEARING TO DETERMINE THE EMPLOYEE’S MEDICAL CAPABILITY TO
       UNDERTAKE THE DUTIES OF THEIR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT

1.   The hearing will be held by the Staff Dismissal Committee of the Governing Body to
     undertake this function.

2.   Also present at the meeting will be:
     - The employee and their Trade Union Representative or a Work Colleague if the
         employee so wishes
     - The Headteacher (or a member of School Management dealing with the case).
     - A Personnel Officer
     - Any witnesses if appropriate for their part only

3.   Whilst the hearing is an important meeting (i.e. to reach a decision on whether or
     not to terminate the employee’s employment on the grounds of incapability), it


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     should be handled as sensitively as possible bearing in mind the employee’s state of
     health.

     The process is as follows:

     *   Management present evidence and introduce witnesses if any
     *   Staff side question evidence (and witnesses)
     *   Staff side present evidence and introduce witnesses, if any
     *   Management question evidence (and witnesses)
     *   Management sum up
     *   Staff side sum up

     NB         Governors may ask questions at any stage.

4.   Both parties will leave while the decision is made (if clarification is required both
     parties will be recalled). The Personnel Officer will advise on points of law,
     procedure or the Council’s Personnel Policies if required.

5.   The Governors will give their decision and explain the reasons for the decision.
     Alternatively they may decide that the employee will be informed of the decision
     and reasons later in writing.

6.   If as a result of the meeting Governors decide that a employee’s employment be
     terminated, the employee will have the right of appeal to the Appeals Committee of
     the Governing Body. The appeal to be lodged within 10 working days of the date of
     the written decision. A copy of the decision will also be sent to the Trade Union
     representative.




CJLC
March 2001




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