APPROVED 1 FORUM HOUSING ASSOCIATION ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT FORMERLY ABSENCE

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1 FORUM HOUSING ASSOCIATION Forum Housing Association is fully committed to all principles of Equality and Diversity and takes an approach which recognises the importance of the nine Protected Characteristics covered by the Equality Act (Age, Disability, Gender Reassignment, Pregnancy and Maternity, Race, Religion or Belief, Marriage and Civil Partnership, Sex, Sexual Orientation). As a demonstration of our commitment, this policy and procedure has had an Equality Analysis undertaken on it to ensure we offer a service and employment that is inclusive for all. ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT FORMERLY ABSENCE POLICY The Association aims to secure the attendance of all staff throughout the working week and is committed to ensuring the health, safety and welfare of all its employees. The Association endeavours to manage absence in a fair, flexible and sympathetic way at all levels. However, misuse of the Absence Policy can cause considerable disruption and disharmony within the Association as without the attendance of a skilled and motivated workforce, the Association is unable to produce the high quality service to residents it prides itself on. Additionally, high levels of absence results in direct and indirect costs for the Association, including colleagues having to take on additional duties. Therefore, misuse of the Policy and Procedure will be taken seriously by the Association and dealt with in accordance with the Association s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. Throughout this Policy, due regard has been given to the requirements of the Equality Act when considering employees with disabilities. PROCEDURE FOR ABSENCES (EXCLUDING SICKNESS ABSENCE) 1. Notification In all cases of absence from work, it is important that staff comply with the Association's Notification procedure. Prior permission must be obtained from the manager to be absent from work, unless the reason for the absence is sickness or injury. Unauthorised Absence from work will result in the loss of pay unless there are extenuating circumstances. 2. Authorised Absences The Association has a number of Policies and Procedures which cover the following types of Authorised Absences: Annual Leave (Refer to Annual Leave Policy and Procedure) Appointments (Refer to Hours of Work Policy and Procedure) Public Duties (Refer to Time Off for Public Duties Policy and Procedure) Caring for Sick Dependent (Refer to Time Off for Dependent Incidents Policy and Procedure) Maternity, Paternity, and Adoption, Parental Leave and Shared Parental Leave (Refer to applicable Policy and Procedures) Trade Union Officials (Refer to Trade Union Policy and Procedure) 1 of 7

2 Study Leave (Refer to Learning and Development/Learning and Development Policy and Procedure) Time Off in Lieu (Refer to Hours of Work Policy and Procedure) 3. Other Authorised Absences Compassionate Leave Compassionate leave will be granted at the discretion of the Head of Human Resources after consideration of the particular circumstances a maximum of 2 weeks paid leave will be granted. Compassionate Leave will only be granted for the loss of immediate family members including parents, children, siblings, spouses/partners. Consideration will also be given to parents in law and step parents/children. Forum Housing Association will give sympathetic consideration to any hardship or difficulty which may arise and necessitate a request for absence from work on compassionate grounds. Each request will be considered on its own merits without recourse to any precedent and leave may be granted with or without pay or on reduced pay. Authorised Unpaid Absence In circumstances such as when a staff member has taken all their Annual Leave but requires time off work, they can apply to the Head of Human Resources to take Unpaid Leave. This will be considered against the needs of the business. Jury Service Under the provisions of the Juries Act 1974 all men and women between the ages of 18 and 70 are liable to be summoned by the Lord Chancellor's Department to attend jury service, subject to certain limited exceptions or disqualifications. Staff who have been summoned for Jury Service will be required to claim compensation directly from the Courts. Attending Court as a Witness Time off will be granted where a member of staff has been required to attend court as a witness for incidents that have occurred at work. Payment will be at the discretion of the Head of Human Resources. Study Leave Refer to Learning and Development Policy and Procedure. Unauthorised Absence Unauthorised Absence is not permitted and will not be paid and may result in the Association s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure being instigated. 2 of 7

3 SICKNESS ABSENCE POLICY The Association does realise that a certain level of absence may occur due to sickness and it is the Association s Policy to ensure staff have the security of employment subject to operational requirements. The Association has made financial sick leave provision which is dependent upon length of service as detailed below. Please note that the first 3 days of any sickness will not be paid regardless of length of service. Length of Service Less than 6 months 6-12 months 1-3 years 3 5 years 5 years + Full Pay Nil 1 week 4 weeks 8 weeks 12 weeks ENTITLEMENT Half Pay Nil 1 week 4 weeks 8 weeks 12 weeks Entitlement to payment in the event of sickness is calculated on a 12 month, roll-on roll-off basis. It is important to note that company sick pay provision is not a legal entitlement, therefore it will only be paid by the Association if the following procedure is followed and it will also only be paid when a selfcertification form or a medical certificate have been received. In addition to the Association's Sick Pay Scheme staff may be eligible for Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) up to a maximum of 28 weeks. SSP is subject to tax and National Insurance deductions and is payable through the PAYE system. After a complete period of full and half pay entitlement has been exhausted in a 12 month period, staff will only be entitled to receive SSP (if eligible). SSP runs alongside the Association s Sick Pay Scheme, therefore SSP starts at the beginning of a period of sickness and not once the Association s Sick Pay Scheme has been exhausted. If a member of staff has used all his/her entitlement to SSP or if he/she is not eligible for SSP they will be issued with the appropriate documentation and may be able to claim from the Department of Work and Pensions. It is the Association's policy to consider the termination of a member of staff's contract after a period of absence exceeds their Association's Sick Pay Scheme entitlement by 16 weeks. This will be considered after full consultation with the member of staff concerned. The Association will wish to seek medical advice and would do this after receiving written permission from the member of staff. 3 of 7

4 GENERAL PROCEDURE FOR SICKNESS 1. Staff who are away from work due to sickness or accident must follow the procedure below, failure to do so may lead to disciplinary action and staff will not be entitled to the Association s sick pay provisions. 1.1 Telephone their line manager or the Human Resources Department to give details of their absence no later than am on the first working day of absence for office based staff and at least four hours before the start of the shift for staff who work shifts. If this is outside of office hours the Association s On Call System should be utilised. Relatives/friends should not be asked to phone on the staff member s behalf unless the staff member is physically unable to phone themselves. Text messages or s will not be accepted as a method of reporting absence from work. 1.2 The staff member will be expected to state when they think they will be fit for work. If they are unable to do this, the staff member must contact the line manager (or if this falls outside of working hours, the Association s On Call System should be utilised) at an agreed time the next day with an update and this will continue on a daily basis until the staff member knows when they will be fit for work. If a staff member fails to maintain contact, the line manager will contact them. 1.3 When a staff member returns to work after no more than 7 days' absence, they must complete a self-certificate (ABS-01) in the presence of the line manager, or a representative from the Human Resources Department. Medical certificates are neither required nor expected for any absences of less than 7 days, however if absence lasts for longer than 7 days the staff member must forward medical certificates to the Human Resources Department once in receipt of these. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, backdated notes are not acceptable. It is the responsibility of the staff member to provide up-to-date medical certificates and they should contact the Human Resources Department by telephone to inform them if they have been issued with a new medical certificate and the dates covered and then proceed to send the certificate via the postal system. Failure to do so without a reasonable explanation will result in the Association s sick pay provision being withheld. 1.4 When a staff member has been absent from work due to sickness, a Return to Work interview (ABS-02) will be carried out by their Line Manager within 2 days of becoming fit again for work. The Return to Work interview will be arranged for a time that meets the needs of the business. The purpose of the Return to Work intreview will be to: welcome the staff member back and inform them of any changes; identify the frequency and reason for the absences and ensure that the member of staff is made aware if their absence record is giving cause for concern; advise the member of staff to seek proper medical attention if there is an underlying medical problem. A medical report could be requested if appropriate; 4 of 7

5 if applicable, inform the member of staff that the persistent short-term absences are unacceptable and puts continued employment at risk; give consideration to the member of staff's personal problems and possible ways of helping the employee resolve them; indicate what the next step will be if he/she fails to reach the standard required. 2. Payment in the event of sickness will be in line with the payment scales outlined in the Policy. However, if the above procedure is not followed, the Association reserves the right to not pay the sick leave provision and only pay Statutory Sick Pay (SSP). 3. If it is apparent that a staff member s absence has increased and they undertake an average of more than 20 hours overtime in any month, they will be stopped from undertaking the overtime until their sickness record has improved. Additionally, if a staff member is absent from work due to sickness, they cannot undertake any overtime within that same month. PERSISTANT SHORT-TERM SICKNESS PROCEDURE 1. If a staff member is absent from work on 3 or more occasions in a 6 month period and will therefore already have been informed during previous Return to Work Interviews that their persistent short-term absence record is giving cause for concern, the staff member will be notified in writing that their absence record has reached the Association s trigger point and they are required to attend a First Stage Absence Disciplinary meeting. Those staff members absent from work due to a disability, will not have their absence included towards the Association trigger points. The letter will also confirm the date and time of the meeting and that the staff member has the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative or colleague. 2. At the Disciplinary Meeting, the maximum sanction that can be issued is a 3 month Verbal Warning in accordance with the Association s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. 3. After the meeting a letter will be drafted by the Human Resources Department confirming the outcome of the meeting including the disciplinary sanction that has been issued, the reason for this and the need for improvement. The staff member will be advised that if they have a further two bouts of sickness in the next 6 months, they will have met the Association s second trigger point. It will also inform the staff member of their right to appeal. 4. If after reaching this first trigger point, the staff member have a further two bouts of sickness in the following 6 months, they will be required to attend a Second Stage Absence Disciplinary meeting to discuss this further. The maximum sanction that can be issued is a 6 month Written Warning in accordance with the Association s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. The staff member will be advised that if they have a further two bouts of sickness in the next 6 months, they will have met the Association s third trigger point. 5 of 7

6 5. If after this meeting the staff member has a further two bouts of sickness in the next 6 months, they will be required to attend a Third Stage Absence Disciplinary meeting to discuss this further. The maximum sanction that can be issued is a 12 month Final Written Warning in accordance with the Association s Disciplinary Policy and Procedure. The staff member will be advised that if they have a further two bouts of sickness in the next six months they will have met the final trigger point and will be invited to a Disciplinary Hearing and dismissal will be the next stage. Please note, the above procedure can still be applied in the case of staff who persistently fall just below the trigger points. LONG-TERM SICKNESS PROCEDURE 1. Long term sickness is defined as continuous or regular periods of absence through ill health which are sufficiently long enough to raise the question of whether the staff member is capable of undertaking the duties and responsibilities required in their post. A staff member can be fairly dismissed as a result of long-term sickness due to incapacity to perform their job. The Association will take all reasonable steps to maintain employment and will only terminate a contract on health grounds where no suitable alternative course of action is available. 2. A three week trigger period of continuous absence will activate the long-term absence procedure. On identification of the staff member reaching the trigger point, the Human Resources Department will write to the staff member to arrange a welfare visit in order to assess an appropriate course of action. For those staff off work with work related stress, the Human Resources Department will write to them to arrange a welfare visit within one week of being absent. 3. Once a welfare visit has taken place, if the staff member remains off work they may be requested to allow the Association to contact his/her doctor in order to establish the likely length of absence and the long-term effect on capability in relation to job performance and attendance at work. Alternatively, the member of staff may be asked to see a doctor appointed by the Association to enable a medical report to be prepared for the employer. Noncompliance with this may result in the Association having to make decisions about an employee s receipt of sick pay and continued employment without the benefit of further information that could be helpful. 4. Once in receipt of this information, the Association will arrange a meeting with the staff member which will: consider offering alternative employment or a shorter working week if this would enable him/her to return to work; inform the member of staff that long-term absence due to ill health may put the employment at risk, bearing in mind the needs of the Association at that time; set a date at which point dismissal will be considered if he/she is still unable to return to work. A letter will normally be drafted confirming the facts and the action to be taken. 6 of 7

7 5. If the attendance record does not improve, or if the member of staff's long-term absence continues, a second meeting will be arranged. The staff member will have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative or Colleague. At this point, unless Forum Housing Association has reasonable grounds to believe that there will be an improvement in the foreseeable future, the Association's decision to dismiss the member of staff by reason of Capability will be explained. 6. Staff may appeal against the decision to dismiss, by writing to the Chief Executive at the Association's address giving the reasons for the appeal. This appeal must be made within 5 days. EXCEPTIONAL CASES There may be occasions, e.g. urgent medical cases or terminal ill health where the nature of the illness is such that strict control measures or absolute adherence to this procedure may be inappropriate. In such cases, the Head of Human Resources will report the individual cases to the Chief Executive for consideration. This policy will be reviewed on at least a 3 year cycle, or sooner as directed. Date of next review October Staff non-compliance with this policy may result in disciplinary proceedings. ABS-01 ABS-02 Self Certification of Sickness Return to Work Interview Form 7 of 7

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