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POLICY DOCUMENT 79 CAREER BREAK SUMMARY The general aim of good employment relations is to harmonise conditions of service wherever possible for all staff and this policy aims to extend provision for career breaks to both police officers and support staff. This policy document applies to all employees both Police Officers and Support Staff. Career break provisions are linked to length of service and are in accordance with employee’s Terms and Conditions of Employment and therefore entitlements may vary. The provisions are applicable to part time as well as full time employees. This Policy was written in December 2002 and was found to be compliant with the Human Rights Act 1998. (office use only) Reference No. PD 79 Policy Manager: (designation not Director of Personnel name) Date approved by Force Policy January 2003 Group Replaces Policy Document(s) N/A Last review completed on: (date) N/A Next policy review due: (date) January 2005 CAREER BREAK PROVISION FOR POLICE OFFICERS AND SUPPORT STAFF 1. STATEMENT OF PURPOSE 1.1. Lincolnshire Police is committed to fair treatment and providing equality of opportunity in the employment of staff and aims to retain valuable skills and experience. 2. SCOPE 2.1. This policy document applies to all employees both Police Officers and Support Staff. Career Break provisions are linked to length of service and are in accordance with the employee’s Terms and Conditions of Employment and therefore entitlements may vary. The provisions are applicable to part time as well as full time employees. 3. QUALIFICATION 3.1. Any police officer is eligible to apply for a career break provided they have successfully completed their probationary period. 3.2. Support staff may also apply for a career break following one year’s service. 3.3. Applications should be submitted in writing at least three months before the proposed date of commencement of the career break. 3.4. There is no automatic entitlement to a career break for either Police Officers or Support Staff and applications will be determined according to the staffing levels in the Force, the purpose of the career break and the views of the Divisional Commander/Head of Department. 3.5. Any decision to reject the application will be notified within 28 days of the application with written reasons for the rejection. 3.6. Any appeal against the rejection of the career break application must be submitted to the Chief Constable within 28 days of receipt of the notice of rejection. The Chief Constable’s decision will be notified to the individual in writing within 28 days of receipt of the appeal. 4. DURATION 4.1. The duration of the career break will be agreed between the employee and the Chief Constable, up to a maximum of five years. The commencement and return dates, and the objectives of the career break will be agreed before it commences. 4.2. The career break should not extend beyond compulsory retirement age. 5. STATUS DURING CAREER BREAKS 5.1. Police Officers 5.1.1 Police Officers on a career break are not required to resign and will retain their warrant card. 5.1.2 Police Officers who take career breaks remain subject to Police Regulations for the duration of the career break. 5.1.3 If the application is approved, written confirmation will be given subject to the Officer accepting the terms of the career break by signing the Career Break Agreement 5.1.4 Police Officers will remain subject to the Code of Conduct and misconduct procedures. 5.1.5 Restrictions under regulation 9 on private life and regulation 10 on business interests will continue to apply. In particular officers must not undertake full- time education or activities for which they are paid, reimbursed expenses or which involve them in the sale of goods or services without the prior agreement of the Chief Constable. 5.1.6 Officers will be required to keep HQ Personnel Department informed of their address and contact details during their career break. If officers are undertaking full time education or other paid employment, subject to the above conditions, they will also be required to provide details of the name and location of the organisation 5.1.7 In exceptional circumstances Officers may be recalled to duty. Officers should therefore, be able to return to the force within 7 days of recall. 5.1.8 It may be necessary to return to the force for a short period of time to satisfy any need to keep up to date with new legislative requirements. This would be arranged by mutual agreement and due consideration will be given to the officer’s circumstances at that time. 5.2. Support Staff 5.2.1 Current UK and European employment law gives employment protection rights to persons who may be employed to cover absentee staff eg on a career break. 5.2.2 Support staff may, therefore, be required to resign from their post on commencement of a career break. This will depend upon the length of the career break, the requirement to fill the post in their absence, the nature of the post and the degree of training required for the replacement member of staff. 5.2.3 In the event of being required to resign support staff will be favourably considered for any suitable current vacancy at the expiry of the career break, and will not be required to go through the full recruitment and selection process. They will be considered for an interview with the relevant head of department prior to any external candidates being invited for the post. 6. CONDITIONS OF SERVICE 6.1. Police Officers 6.1.1 Officers will not be paid during career breaks 6.1.2 Service will not count for the purposes of reckoning entitlements to contractual benefits during a career break. Entitlement on return will be identical to that prior to the commencement of the career break, subject to relevant changes in Regulations, PNB agreements or Home Office Circulars. 6.2. Support Staff 6.2.1 Support Staff will not be paid during the career break 6.2.2 Time spent on a career break will not count towards any contractual benefits during a career break. 6.2.3 On return/re-engagement from a career break staff will be able to count their previous service towards annual leave and sick pay entitlements. 7. ANNUAL LEAVE 7.1. Provision should be made for granting any remaining annual leave entitlement due before the commencement of the career break. 8. HOUSING 8.1. Housing/Rent allowance will not be paid during absence on a career break but entitlement on return will be identical to that on commencement of the career break, subject to relevant changes in Regulations. 8.2. An officer living in accommodation provided by the force should discuss with the Chief Constable, before applying for a career break, their future in the property. The police authority may charge officers who are allowed to remain in police force accommodation for the entirety of the career break. In circumstances where an officer is living/married to a police officer, this would be subject to the spouse/partner’s eligibility for provided accommodation. 9. UNFORM AND EQUIPMENT 9.1. All uniform and equipment must be returned to your division or department prior to the commencement of the career break. Your equipment and uniform, with the exception of radios and CS Spray, which will be re-allocated or withdrawn as appropriate, must be stored securely pending the Officer’s return to duty. 10. PENSIONS 10.1. Police Officers 10.1.1 Service during career breaks is not pensionable but on return from the career break an officer may be able to buy back service at the normal officer contribution rate. Further information is awaited from the Home Office 10.1.2 Officers on a career break will have protected entitlement to all pension benefits at the point of commencement of the career break, including death benefits, enhanced ill-health pensions and injury benefits 10.2. Support Staff 10.2.1 If an employee is a member of the Local Government Pension Scheme an employee may be able to repay pension contributions for the period of the career break, if they subsequently re-join Lincolnshire Police at the end of the career break. 11. MATERNITY PROVISIONS 11.1. Police officers and support staff who become pregnant while on a career break are entitled to the same maternity benefits as officers/employees not taking a career break. 11.2. A member of staff on a career break who becomes pregnant should give notice as soon as reasonably practicable after she becomes pregnant of the probable date of birth of her child. The provisions of the appropriate maternity scheme will then take effect and the career break suspended unless the she expressly states in writing that she does not wish them to apply. 11.3. Resumption of the career break in due course should be subject to further agreement between the Chief Constable and the member of staff. 12. CONTACT 12.1. The HQ Personal Development Officer will be designated as the contact officer for all staff on a career break and keep them informed of issues arising during their break. 13. REVIEWS 13.1. Police Officers 13.1.1 Police officers should establish the career break objectives and timescales with the Chief Constable. These may be reviewed at any time during the career break by agreement between the Chief Constable and the Officer. 13.1.2 Officers will be under a general duty to inform Lincolnshire Police of any circumstances, which may affect the agreed objective, or timescales of a career break. The Chief Constable’s need to know should be balanced with protection of the officer’s right to privacy. 13.1.3 Where a Chief Constable has reasonable grounds for believing that the agreed objectives and timescales of a career break may not be achievable they may require that the officer attend a review. As a result of such a review, the Chief Constable may require that an officer return to duty after a minimum notice period of 28 days. 13.2. Support Staff 13.2.1 Support staff should establish the career break objectives and timescales initially with their Manager. These may be reviewed at any time during the career break by agreement between the employee and HQ Personal Development Officer. 13.2.2 An employee will only be permitted to return to work earlier than the previously agreed end of the career break to the same post where it has been held vacant during the period. Where a replacement member of staff has been recruited under a fixed term contract the employee on the career break will be required to wait until the expiry of that fixed term contract. 14. RETURN TO DUTY 14.1. Police Officers 14.1.1 The officer will return to duty on the return date agreed between the officer and the Chief Constable 14.1.2 If an officer decides to return to duty from a career break before the end of the agreed period of leave they shall be permitted, subject to there being a suitable vacancy, within 28 days of giving notice of the wish to return. In any event the officer should return within three months of having given notice. 14.1.3 An officer should not be required to return to duty from a career break before the agreed date without her/his consent (but see 11.1.3 above). 14.1.4 Officers returning to duty after their career break will return to service with Lincolnshire Police with the same determined hours and work pattern. However this may not be at the same station/post that they leave. 14.1.5 Prior to the actual return to duty, the officer will attend a meeting with the HQ Personal Development to discuss a posting, determine any development needs and arrange appropriate refresher training. 14.1.6 Officers should ensure that they maintain their standard of fitness throughout the period of their career break. An officer may be required to attend an appointment with Occupational Health Service to ascertain fitness to resume duties. 14.1.7 If an Officer decides that they does not wish to return at the end of the career break they should submit a letter of resignation in accordance with Police Regulations giving at least 28 days’ notice. 14.2. Support staff 14.2.1 The member of support staff should inform HQ Personnel Department in writing at least 3 months in advance of their intended return date. 14.2.2 The member of support staff will attend a meeting with the HQ Personal Development to discuss their return to work, subject to there being a suitable vacancy available 14.2.3 Where their previous post was held as a vacancy or covered by a Fixed Term Contract every effort will be made to allow the employee to return to the same post and grade. 14.2.4 Where the employee was required to resign every effort will be made to identify a suitable alternative role. This may however not be at the same station or grade. 14.2.5 Any training and development needs will also be discussed prior to the employee’s return to work.
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