Sickness and Absence Policy

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1 Sickness and Absence Policy Page 1 of 9

2 1.0 Purpose 1.1 This procedure is intended to support staff whilst enabling managers to manage sickness absence in a way, which is fair, consistent, that adheres to employment, education and health and safety legislation. 2.0 Aims 2.1 The school is committed to ensuring that employees experiencing ill health are treated with understanding and sensitivity whilst facilitating an optimal level of attendance at work. 2.2 In cases of partial recovery, or in order to facilitate a full recovery, the school will seek to make reasonable adjustments such as a revision of hours, duties or redeployment. 2.3 Where employees who are absent long term due to sickness and have no or little prospect of a return to work within a reasonable time scale, their employment may need to be terminated on medical grounds. 2.4 That in the application of the policy the school ensures that no employee receives less favourable treatment on grounds of sex, trans-gender status, sexual orientation, religion or belief, marital status, civil partnership status, age, race, colour, nationality, national origins, ethnic origin, disability, part-time status or trade union activities. 3.0 Scope and Definitions 3.1 This policy applies to all school employees. 4.0 Standards 4.1 Attendance has a direct effect on teaching and learning and the School therefore expects employees to attend work regularly, be a regular timekeeper, conform to sickness and absence reporting procedures and to make every effort to: - Attend work when fit to do so. Comply with the Sickness Absence Reporting Policy. Ensure medical advice and treatment, where appropriate, is received as quickly as possible in order to facilitate a return to work. Ensure the Line Manager receives medical certificates promptly. Keep the line manager informed of any significant developments, which may affect attendance at work. Page 2 of 9

3 As far as possible to make domestic arrangements including medical appointments out of school hours. 4.2 Employees who reach the following levels of absence will be interviewed by their line manager: 8 working days sickness absence in a rolling 52 week period 20 consecutive working days Or when a pattern of absence is identified e.g. every Monday, etc. Employees who do not work five days a week will have their absence levels adjusted accordingly. 4.3 Any part day sickness absence will not be included when an employee is specifically sent home by their line manager. Any subsequent days sickness will be included. 5.0 Reporting Absence 5.1 First Day Employees should contact their school no later than one hour before their normal starting time on the first day of absence; only in exceptional circumstances should a representative of the employee make contact on the employee s behalf. Brief details of the reason for absence and, if possible, some indication of a return to work date should be given If the Headteacher is absent s/he should contact the Chair of Governors who will inform the Head of Personnel and request advice as appropriate If the absence is the result of an accident or an injury sustained at work, then this information must be made known. In this context the employee should indicate if the incident has been reported and to whom. 5.2 Fourth Day If the absence continues beyond four days, including Saturdays, Sundays and Bank Holidays, the employee must contact their line manager as above. If the fourth calendar day occurs on a weekend or Bank Holiday, the line manager (or in the case of the Headteacher, the Chair of Governors) should be notified on the next available day. The Chair of Governors should then inform the Head of Personnel 5.3 Eighth Day and beyond If the sickness absence extends beyond seven calendar days, the employee must obtain medical certification to cover the remainder of the period of illness. The first medical certificate obtained must be submitted to the line manager (or in the case of the Headteacher, the Chair of Governors) no later than the eighth calendar day of absence. Any further certificates issued by the GP must also be submitted as they become due. Page 3 of 9

4 5.3.2 During periods of long-term absence the employee has a responsibility to keep the line manager (or in the case of the Headteacher, the Chair of Governors) informed of their progress. The above reporting procedures may be amended or added to by any local arrangements in place by the school' 5.4 Return to Work On their return to work the employee must notify the line manager (or in the case of the Headteacher, the Chair of Governors) and complete a self-certification (Return To Work) form if it has not already been completed Wherever possible employees should give notice of at least one day of their intention to return to duty. 6.0 Unsatisfactory Attendance 6.1 There are three main courses of action to consider in cases of unsatisfactory attendance: Note the position and take no further action: - this applies in cases of previous good attendance Refer to Occupational Health Advisor: - this will involve cases where length of absence is high and it is not appropriate to use the long term sickness procedure straight away or there are a number of short term absences that are causing concern Instigate the Formal Sickness Procedure: - this will involve cases of recurring sickness and long term sickness due to a particular problem that causes poor attendance and the possibility of the employee being unable to continue their normal job. 7.0 Short Term/Frequent Absences 7.1 First Day Back at Work The employee should complete a Return To Work Form, which should be returned to the Headteacher The Headteacher/Manager should arrange a return to work/attendance interview to: 1. Welcome the employee back to work 2. Check how the employee is feeling 3. What treatment and medical advice the employee has received to date 4. Give the employee a copy of the Sickness Absence Policy and explain the Policy 5. Let the employee know about The Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) 6. Identify any trends to the absence Page 4 of 9

5 7. Consider whether a referral to Occupational Health is required. 8. Consider any steps that can be taken to assist the employee to improve their attendance at work. 9. If appropriate, consider setting targets and timescales for improvement 10. If appropriate, arrange the First Formal Meeting (Please see below, 8.2). and in the case of all the above warn the employee that if their attendance does not improve that their future employment may be at risk. Referral to Occupational Health A referral to Occupational Health will normally be made when: - When there are concerns about the frequency and possibly the nature of the sickness absence Occupational Health will be asked for their view on: - The prospects of the employee being able to attend work more regularly The likelihood of the employee continuing the present pattern of sickness in the future Whether the employee has an underlying medical condition and what support/reasonable adjustments are required The referral should be made in writing giving all relevant details (notes of interviews, copies of medical certificates etc) and should specifically state the questions, which need answering The employee should be informed in writing of the referral to Occupational Health before any appointment is arranged 8.0 Long Term Sickness/Recurring Sickness/Underlying Medical Condition 8.1 Referral to Occupational Health A referral to Occupational Health will normally be made when: - An employee s sickness absence reaches 20 consecutive working days or Where an employee has had high levels of sickness absence Occupational Health will be asked for their view on: - The prospects of the employee being able to attend work more regularly The likelihood of the employee continuing the present pattern of sickness in the future Whether the employee has an underlying medical condition Whether the employee is unable to continue his or her present job for medical reasons and is unlikely to become fit again in the foreseeable future; if so whether ill health retirement or medical redeployment is appropriate The referral should be made in writing giving all relevant details (notes of interviews, copies of medical certificates etc) and should specifically state the Page 5 of 9

6 questions, which need answering The employee should be informed in writing of the referral to Occupational Health before any appointment is arranged Employees are required to attend the Occupational Health referral arranged. If unable to do so, the employee must notify their line manager of this who will arrange another date. Failure to attend the subsequent appointment or to notify the line manager of not being able to attend the original appointment may render the employee liable for formal disciplinary action. Failure to attend an appointment will not prevent the continuation of the process; decisions will be made on the information available to the Headteacher or Governing Body Upon receipt of the occupational health report, the line manager will arrange the first formal meeting To comply with management responsibilities, it is expected that line managers keep in regular contact with employees that are on long term sickness even if medical certificates have been provided for a specific period of time. 8.2 First Formal Meeting The line manager will give at least five working days notice of the meeting At the meeting the employee has the right to be accompanied by a work place colleague or a representative from the employee s trade union. There will also be a school appointed note taker present If an employee or their representative cannot attend the meeting, the employee can suggest another date so long as it is reasonable and is not more than ten calendar days after the date originally proposed by the line manager. If the employee and/or their representative do not attend the rescheduled meeting, then it may be held in their absence It is not the policy of the school to undertake home visits. A home visit will only be arranged if the employee is deemed medically incapable of any form of travel The purpose of the meeting is to find out: - How the employee is feeling What treatment and medical advice the employee has received to date What work activities the employee feels s/he can and cannot do The prospects of a full return to work Whether a recovery can be facilitated by a phased return to work Whether temporary or permanent medical redeployment should be considered. That if their attendance does not improve that their future employment may be at risk For cases of long-term sickness, if there is no firm return to work date, then a further occupational health referral and subsequent meeting should be set. Page 6 of 9

7 8.2.7 For employees with a high of level of certificated absence, if it is established that there is an underlying medical condition then a further occupational health referral and review meeting should be set A letter should be sent to the employee to confirm what was discussed and the outcomes of the meeting within five working days 8.3 Review Meeting The provisions as set out from to inclusive shall apply The line manager at the end of the review meeting can decide to: - Set a further review period (unless a further review period has already been set) Discuss with the employee whether it is possible to transfer to an alternative post within the school on the terms and conditions of service of the new post Refer to a consideration hearing At the meeting the employee has the right to be accompanied by a work place colleague or a representative from the employee s trade union. There will also be a school appointed note taker present If an employee or their representative cannot attend the meeting, the employee can suggest another date so long as it is reasonable and is not more than ten calendar days after the date originally proposed by the line manager. If the employee and/or their representative do not attend the rescheduled meeting, then it may be held in their absence A letter should be sent to the employee to confirm what was discussed and the outcome/s of the meeting within five working days. 8.4 Consideration Hearing The employing manager will hear the consideration hearing. For the purposes of this policy the employing manager will either be the Headteacher or a panel appointed by the Governing Body At least five working days notice will be given of the hearing together with the written report prepared by the line manager At the meeting the employee has the right to be accompanied by a work place colleague or a representative from the employee s trade union. There will also be a school appointed note taker and a personnel representative present to give advice to the employing manager If an employee or their representative cannot attend the meeting, the employee can suggest another date so long as it is reasonable and is not more than 10 calendar days after the date originally proposed by the line manager. If the employee and/or their representative do not attend the rescheduled meeting, then it may be held in their absence At the conclusion of the hearing the employing manager can decide upon the Page 7 of 9

8 following: - Refer back for a further review meeting Discuss with the employee whether it is possible to transfer to an alternative post within the school on the terms and conditions of service of the new post Terminate employment with contractual /statutory notice (or pay in lieu of notice) because the employee is incapable of satisfactorily performing the job for which they are employed The decision of the employing manager and notification of the employee s right of appeal must be confirmed in writing within five working days. 8.5 Appeals The employee may submit a formal written notice of appeal to the Chair of the Governing Body within five working days from the date of the letter from the employing manager The appeal hearing will be heard by a Governing Body panel of two or three governors who were not at the consideration hearing At least five working days notice will be given of the appeal together with the notes of the consideration hearing At the meeting the employee has the right to be accompanied by a work place colleague or a representative from the employee s trade union. There will also be a school appointed note taker and a personnel representative present to give advice to the appeals panel If an employee or their representative cannot attend the meeting, the employee can suggest another date so long as it is reasonable and is not more than ten calendar days after the date originally proposed by the appeals panel. If the employee and/or their representative do not attend the rescheduled meeting, then it may be held in their absence The purpose of the appeal is for the employee to challenge the grounds by which the consideration hearing reached its decision and also to submit any factors, which the employee considered, were not taken into account or could not have been known at the time At the conclusion of the appeal, the panel can make one of the following decisions: Uphold the decision of the consideration hearing Change the decision of the consideration hearing The decision of the Governing Body appeal panel is final and the employee will be formally notified of the outcome in writing within five working days. Page 8 of 9

9 9.0 Factors to Consider In making a decision regarding an employee s continuing employment the following should be considered: Operational Factors The extent to which the particular duties and responsibilities of the employee who is ill can be effectively reallocated without undue detriment to the school The pressures which the absence is placing on other employees Pupils need for stability and continuity, particularly, perhaps, during the run up to public examinations Levels of staffing and continuity prevailing in the school as a whole The maximum period over which the school could reasonably contain the absence or phased return to full time working Possible temporary restructuring to contain an initial part-time return to work or to minimise disruption. 9.2 Personal Factors Particular experience and expertise that the employee is able offer Length of service and past attendance record Nature of the illness and prospect for full recovery Whether the employee has a disability and what reasonable adjustments may be necessary His/her ability and willingness to be flexible in the short term Advantage of a further period of time off to improve health and regain fitness What reasonable adjustments to the workplace might be necessary to enable him/her to continue to fulfil their job Monitoring & Review 10.1 This policy will be reviewed six months after implementation date Implementation of the policy will be monitored through statistical reporting by Personnel Department. Date Draft Dec 2013 Adopted Review date Location of the policy By whom? Page 9 of 9

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