SICKNESS MANAGEMENT POLICY

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1 SICKNESS MANAGEMENT POLICY

2 Sickness Management Policy and Procedures Introduction Wyvern Academy recognises the importance of establishing a formal policy and procedure for addressing circumstances where employees become unfit for work through illness and injury. Wyvern Academy recognises that employees will have periods of genuine illness during the course of their employment that may result in some absence from work. However, sickness absence can cause operational difficulties and impact on the education of pupils within Wyvern Academy. It can also impact on the workload of other employees. Improving levels of staff attendance will improve Wyvern Academy s capacity and make most effective use of its financial and human resources. As such, sickness absence rate is a key performance indicator for Wyvern Academy. To improve staff attendance Wyvern Academy will: Strive to provide a positive and supportive working environment which enables all employees to attend and contribute; Recognise its responsibility for implementing a fair and effective procedure for the management of absences due to sickness; Provide reasonable support and adjustments to staff and/or the work environment to achieve a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence; Monitor and evaluate the effectiveness of this policy and procedure. As part of pre-employment vetting processes all prospective permanent employees will be asked to complete a medical questionnaire. All staff have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or workplace colleague to any formal meeting, hearing or review outlined in this policy. Where staff submit a fraudulent sickness claim i.e. claim to be absent for sickness related reasons and this is not the case, this matter will be investigated under Wyvern Academy s Disciplinary Policy and would be considered an act of Gross Misconduct.

3 This Policy applies to all staff employed by Wyvern Academy. Responsibilities under this policy are set out below: Employees Employees with staff management responsibilities Must acknowledge that Wyvern Academy pays them to attend work and that maximum attendance is accepted as the norm. They must comply with this policy and the related procedures and maintain contact during any periods of absence. Have responsibility for managing sickness absence effectively in their teams through both the short-term absence and long-term absence procedures. They must ensure that they report absence promptly, participate in meetings under the policy and maintain contact with employees who are absent due to sickness. Headteachers Wyvern Academy s Business Committee The HR Team Have responsibility for ensuring that sickness absence is managed effectively in their schools and for attending meetings including Stage Three meetings under the short-term absence procedure and Medical Capability Hearings. Is responsible for approving and reviewing this policy and monitoring sickness absence levels and the policy s effectiveness. Is responsible for monitoring sickness absence, advising managers, attending meetings, hearings and reviews and providing training. They will also gather and analyse management information on sickness absence and report this to the Business Committee.

4 Sick Pay Entitlements Individual occupational sick pay entitlements are contained in the relevant terms and conditions or statement of particulars and terms of employment. This should not be taken to mean that high levels of sickness absence are acceptable. Wyvern Academy reserves the right to terminate employment before the expiry of contractual sick pay in line with provisions of this policy. Where a member of staff receives compensation as a result of an accident, they are required to notify Wyvern Academy of such payments as in these circumstances sick pay is reimbursable to Wyvern Academy; therefore, any compensation claim made by the member of staff should include the reimbursement of sick pay paid by Wyvern Academy. In order to administer the sick pay schemes all staff are required to provide information about their absence and reasons for them. In some case this will be by way of self-certification or medical certificates (fit notes). Failure to submit such notification in a timely manner may result in cessation or suspension of sick pay or disciplinary action. Wyvern Academy reserves the right to cease or suspend sick pay in the event that the employee fails to adhere to reasonable requests to engage in Wyvern Academy sickness management process e.g. attendance at meetings, provision of medical certificates, etc. Prior to cessation or suspension the employee will be provided with written notification of the proposed action. Sickness Notification Procedure To enable Wyvern Academy to arrange cover and accurately record sickness absence all employees are required to comply with the sickness reporting procedure within their school. Return to Work Meeting Following each period of absence the line manager should meet with the employee within 3 working days and undertake a return to work meeting. This will provide an opportunity to discuss adjustments to the working environment, if necessary, and any other matters to facilitate the employee with a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence. The meeting with the line manager should be held at a mutually convenient date and time and a brief summary of the discussion should be recorded on the return to work form on the HR Portal. Employees who Return to Work Prematurely On occasion, an employee returns from sick leave before they have made a complete recovery and has to be sent home or take further absence. In such cases, if the employee returns to work for less than one full day (based on their working pattern) then this will not be classed as a successful return to work and it will be recorded as one continuous period of absence.

5 Short-Term Sickness Absence Procedure Stages in the Management of Short-Term Sickness Absence The management of short-term sickness absence has three distinct stages and to guide staff on the application of these stages, triggers have been developed. Stage Trigger for formal action Sanction Stage One Three or more separate occasions or has a total of 10* or more days in a six month period (calculated on a rolling basis) First Absence Caution Stage Two If after a Stage One meeting subsequent absences occur for a further two or more separate occasions or 8* or more days in a six month period (calculated on a rolling basis) Final Absence Caution Stage Three If after a Stage Two meeting subsequent absences occur for a further two or more separate occasions or 6* or more days in a six month period (calculated on a rolling basis) Termination of employment * For part-time staff the number of days absence will be pro-rated for the purposes of monitoring against the above trigger points. For the purposes of this policy an employee will only be classed as part-time if they normally work less than full-time during term time. Once an employee has hit a trigger under Stage One or Stage Two of the policy they will receive a warning called an Absence Caution. Termination of employment due to short-term absence will usually only be considered when an employee has received a Stage One and Stage Two Absence Caution and the trigger within Stage Three is hit. Wyvern Academy provides a guide on the triggers to short-term sickness absence. However, where Wyvern Academy has concerns regarding an on-going pattern of sickness absence Wyvern Academy reserves the right to amend the triggers in such cases. Employees will be notified of these concerns and the adjustment to the triggers for short-term sickness in such cases. Additionally, Wyvern Academy reserves the right to enter this procedure at any stage with due consideration of the employment history and sickness record of the employee and any previous actions taken under this procedure. Hence, where an individual has previously been subject to a Stage One meeting and following cessation of the formal process their absence deteriorates again, Wyvern Academy reserves the right to re-instigate this procedure at Stage Two. Where Wyvern Academy remains concerned about an individual s short term sickness record, it may extend Stage One or Two for a period of three months

6 All staff have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or workplace colleague to any formal meeting or review. Wyvern Academy recognises that there may be occasions where an underlying condition, which is considered a disability, is the cause of cases of short-term sickness absence. In such cases, Wyvern Academy may adjust the trigger points appropriately following a Stage One meeting. However, it is important to reiterate that this process is a supportive measure and as such the meetings held in accordance with this policy allow discussions surrounding reasonable adjustments and support to take place. Stage One and Stage Two Meetings Once a trigger has been hit the employee will be invited to the formal sickness meeting under this policy. This communication will be sent at least seven calendar days prior to the meeting and will confirm/detail: The nature of the concern(s) The fact that the meeting is being held under Wyvern Academy Sickness Absence Policy and that a copy of this is available upon request The employee s right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or workplace colleague The sickness pattern which has led to a formal instigation of the relevant Stage of the policy Copies of any medical information or reports The sickness record of the employee for their entire employment or last five years (whichever is the shorter) That the employee has hit a trigger and will be issued The purpose of the meeting will be to: Establish any common theme to the absence and seek to address this with the employee Confirm that there is a need to achieve a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence and this will be the principle consideration for both the manager and the employee Allow an opportunity to review the employee s sickness record over their entire employment with Wyvern Academy or the last five years (whichever is the shorter) and to highlight any emerging patterns, e.g. falling just before or after weekends or school closure periods. Wyvern Academy may also review discretionary leave of absence if this is felt to be impacting on the employee s attendance. Provide an opportunity to outline/review the support available to the employee and discuss the support Identify any adjustments which could be made to the working environment to achieve a sustained improvement in attendance Seek the employee s views on any actions Wyvern Academy could take to support a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence Confirm that the employee is under formal review for sickness absence, that a significant and sustained reduction in absence is required and detail the review period for such a reduction in sickness absence Outline the improvement required and the timescales for this.

7 Following the meeting the employee will be issued with a written record of the discussions, the improvement sought and the timeframe for improvement. The employee will also be notified that a review meeting will be held at the end of the monitoring period to consider the improvements made and determine the next steps. Authority to take action under each stage of the procedure is detailed in the table below. This shows the lowest level of manager who can take action under the policy but this does not preclude a more senior manager taking these actions if appropriate. Stage Action Authorised Manager Stage One First Absence Caution Line Manager Stage Two Final Absence Caution SLT Line Manager Stage Three Termination of Employment Headteacher Review Meeting The formal review meeting will be held with the employee at the conclusion of the review period which will identify whether the employee is meeting the requirement for a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence. Wyvern Academy reserves the right to bring forward such a review if the employee s sickness record is demonstrating that there is no significant and sustained reduction in the employee s sickness absence. The review meeting will ascertain whether the employee has: A Sustained and Significant improvement in Attendance Where an employee shows sustained and significant improvements they will be informed: Stage One Review That the formal procedure is concluded and the employee will be removed from the Shortterm Sickness Absence process. Stage Two Review That they are meeting the requirements for a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence and that the formal process will revert to Stage One and, subject to a sustained improvement at the end of the Stage One process the employee will be removed from the Short-term Absence process. Failed to demonstrate a Sustained and Significant Improvement Where the employee does not meet the required standard and there is no significant and sustained improvement, the employee will be notified that the matter will be escalated with the Short-term Absence process:

8 Stage One Review Escalated to a Stage Two meeting, however, in exceptional circumstances Wyvern Academy reserves the right to take the matter to a Stage Three meeting. This will usually be where an employee has had a poor attendance period over an extended period or short service. Stage Two Review Escalated to a Stage Three meeting Stage Three Meeting Should the employee show no or insufficient improvement during a review period, a Stage Three meeting will be arranged within 14 calendar days of the written notification to the employee of the outcome of the Stage Two review (in exceptional cases Stage One). Wyvern Academy reserves the right to bring forward any such review if the sickness record is demonstrating that there is no significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence. The Stage Three meeting will be convened to consider the continued employment of the member of staff and will be held with the Headteacher. Another senior manager within Wyvern Academy may conduct the meeting in the absence of the Headteacher in line with Wyvern Academy s Scheme of Delegation. A member of the HR Team will support the Headteacher at the Stage Three meeting. Wyvern Academy will write to the individual by Recorded Delivery and First Class Post to invite them to the Stage Three meeting. If the individual would prefer another method of communication (i.e. work or home ) they must notify the HR Team of their preference. In addition to informing the employee of the purpose and arrangement for the meeting the communication will confirm that Wyvern Academy is considering termination of employment. If the employee fails to attend the Stage Three meeting the Headteacher will decide whether to proceed in the employee s absence or to reconvene the meeting at another time. Before such a decision is taken, attempts should be made to contact the employee to ascertain the reason for his/her absence. If the Headteacher decides to proceed with the meeting in the employee s absence, the representative of the employee can attend the meeting to either present the employee s case or simply observe the proceedings. The postponement of the meeting will be allowed on one occasion. If the employee is still unable to attend the meeting, they should be provided with the option of either making written submission to the Headteacher, or briefing their representative sufficiently to allow them to adequately represent their wishes and views in the meeting. At this meeting the Headteacher will consider all the evidence relating to the case, reviewing the actions and support taken at previous stages. Managers involved in earlier Stages of the procedure may be asked to attend the meeting if required to answer questions or present information. The Headteacher will seek the views of the employee and what improvement is demonstrable: a) Some notable improvement has been made but the significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence has not yet been met.

9 In such cases, serious consideration will be given to extending the review period once, for three months and deferring the meeting. Following the extension of the review period, and where the employee is meeting the requirement for a sustained and significant reduction in sickness absence, the formal process will revert to Stage Two of the process a) Significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence as required by Wyvern Academy has not been made. Where the Headteacher has considered the evidence and determines that there has not been a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence and that the employee s sickness absence falls below that which can be reasonably expected of staff, then he/she may give notice of dismissal to the employee and provide details on the individual s right of appeal. The employee will be notified of the decision at the Stage Three Meeting in writing within seven calendar days of the meeting. If applicable the letter will specify the reasons for dismissal, the date on which the employment will end and the right of appeal against the dismissal or the notice of dismissal. A flow chart summarising the Short-term Sickness Absence Procedure is attached at Append Long-term Sickness Absence Procedure Stages in the Management of Long-term Sickness Absence Long-term absences are generally defined as being four weeks or longer or where the date of the person returning to work is unclear. In exceptional cases, where the employee has a chronic underlying medical condition which results in a number of short-term absences in quick succession Wyvern Academy may decide to follow the Long-term Procedure rather than the Short-term one. It is important that communication is maintained between Wyvern Academy and the employee in relation to such absence. This communication will usually be between the manager and the employee but may also be with a member of the HR Team. Support arrangements may include: Visits to the employee at home or other designated locations it is important in relation to such visits that the preferences of the employee are paramount and accommodation of these views are undertaken in order to facilitate the meetings. Communications with the employee in the first instance the employee s condition may preclude direct contact with the line manager. However, it is important that communications are maintained either in writing or verbally. For the duration of the sickness absence/welfare process the individual should detail their preferred method of contact (e.g. home , letter, etc.) In the absence of any preference Wyvern Academy s default method of communication for this process will be via First Class post

10 Occupational Health Referral Wyvern Academy will refer any employee whose condition could reasonably be concluded to have the likelihood of being for a sustained period, to Occupational Health to enable Wyvern Academy to provide support and assistance to the employee. All staff have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or workplace colleague to any formal meeting, hearing or review in this procedure. Welfare Meeting The line manager and a member of the HR Team will meet an employee on long-term sick as necessary (e.g. as indicated by the medical condition). The purpose of these meetings will be to: Discuss the prevailing medical opinion in respect of the employee s condition Identify a date of return to work within a reasonable timeframe Highlight and discuss any reasonable adjustments to the working environment Keep the employee informed of any work-related developments Identify any additional support and assistance that can be provided to the employee Wyvern Academy reserves the right to cease or suspend sick pay in the event that the employee fails to adhere to reasonable requests to engage in Wyvern Academy welfare process (e.g. attendance at meetings, provision of medical certificates, etc.) Prior to the cessation or suspension of sick pay the employee will be notified in writing of the proposed action. Return to Work following Long-term Sickness Absence Prior to any return to work following long-term sickness absence the line manager and the employee should meet, supported by a member of the HR Team, to establish a return to work programme. The employee may be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or workplace colleague. This programme will seek to establish: A return to work date Any required reasonable adjustments to the working environment Availability of Wyvern Academy s support mechanisms A formal review of the return to work programme to evaluate its effectiveness and to amend as appropriate Wyvern Academy recognises that it is important to have a clear return to work programme. Each programme will be informed by the needs of the individual. Should a return to work programme involve the employee working reduced hours for a temporary period then the employee will be paid at a rate no less than the occupational sick pay they would have received had they remained absent. Phased returns will generally last no longer than four weeks. For teaching staff the reintegration plan may include a short-period when they are not required to undertake any or all of their timetabled teaching commitments. However, this decision will depend on the reason for absence, the received medical advice and the employee s wishes.

11 To support the employee on the plan the SLT line manager or other designated manager will undertake a number of observations of the individual s teaching during the duration of the phased return. These observations will not form part of the employee s Appraisal process or observations performed under the Teaching and Learning Policy. The observations will be used to identify any support or training needs as part of the return to work programme, seek to ensure the plan is successful and enable the member of teaching staff to successfully undertake the independent teaching responsibilities of their role. During any reintegration plan the employee will not participate in any observations under the individual school s teaching and learning programme. Termination on Grounds of Medical Capability Where the employee s medical condition is such that he/she is unlikely to resume his/her duties within a reasonable timeframe, and there are no reasonable adjustments that can be made to facilitate such a return, consideration of termination on the grounds of medical capability will be given. Generally, if an employee is absent for four months and is not likely to make a successful return to work within six months consideration will be given to termination of employment. These timescales are given as a guide and Wyvern Academy reserves the right to amend these to the reasons for absence of the individual and their length of service with Wyvern Academy. A Medical Capability Hearing will be convened to consider the continued employment of the member of staff and will be held with the Headteacher Another senior manager within Wyvern Academy may conduct the meeting in the absence of the Headteacher in line with Wyvern Academy s Scheme of Delegation. A member of the HR Team will support the Headteacher at this meeting. Wyvern Academy will write to the individual by Recorded Delivery and First Class Post to invite them to the Hearing. If the individual would prefer another method of communication (i.e. work or home ) they must notify of their preference. In addition to informing the employee of the purpose and arrangement for the meeting the communication will confirm that Wyvern Academy is considering termination of employment. If the employee fails to attend the Hearing the Headteacher will decide whether to proceed in the employee s absence or to reconvene the meeting at some other time. Before such a decision is taken, attempts should be made to contact the employee to ascertain the reason for his/her absence. If the Headteacher decides to proceed with the meeting in the employee s absence, the representative of the employee can attend the meeting to either present the employee s case or simply observe the proceedings. The postponement of the meeting will be allowed on one occasion. If the employee is still unable to attend the meeting, possibly for health reasons, they should be provided with the option of either making written submission to the Headteacher, or briefing their representative sufficiently to allow them to adequately represent their wishes and views in the meeting. At the Hearing the Headteacher will consider all the evidence relating to the case, reviewing the actions and support taken at previous stages. Managers previously involved with the case may attend the hearing to provide information or answer questions. The Headteacher will seek the views of the employee and consider:

12 The medical evidence available to Wyvern Academy at the time of the hearing Any reasonable adjustments that can be made to facilitate a return Evidence from the welfare meetings Whether a date for return to work can be established within a reasonable timescale Where the Headteacher has considered the evidence and determines a return to work within a reasonable timescale cannot be established then the panel may give notice of dismissal to the employee and provide details on the individual s right of appeal. The employee will be notified of the decision to terminate their employment on the grounds of medical capability within seven calendar days of the hearing and will specify the reasons for dismissal, the date on which the employment will end and the right of appeal against the dismissal or the notice of dismissal. Alternatively, if the Headteacher considers that the employee will be able to make a successful return to work within a reasonable timescale then he/she may decide to postpone a final decision for a period of up to three months. Appeals against Dismissal or Notice of Dismissal Where the employee wishes to appeal against dismissal or notice of dismissal they should write within 14 calendar. The employee should state, in their written communication: The grounds for the appeal, (these grounds will normally be an error in procedure or error in fact or error in law) Supply sufficient details to support the grounds of appeal The outcome that they are seeking from the Appeals process How they would wish to have their appeal considered The employee may have their appeal addressed by correspondence or attendance at an Appeal Hearing. On the conclusion of the Appeal process, the employee s rights of appeal within Wyvern Academy are concluded. Support Mechanisms In addition to the support mechanisms already detailed in this document Wyvern Academy has a number of specific support mechanisms available to all staff to support regular and sustained attendance at work and minimising sickness absence. These are: Managing Stress at Work Wyvern Academy is responsible for the health, safety and welfare of its employees at work and recognises that their wellbeing is important to Wyvern Academy s performance.

13 Wyvern Academy, therefore, aims to take positive measures to manage stress effectively and to create an environment where stress is managed out of the organisation as far as is reasonably practicable. However, where it becomes an issue for individual employees despite the range of measures taken to address stress they are encouraged to seek relief and support via Wyvern Academy s Stress at Work Policy. Reasonable Adjustments When considering the working environment the line manager should consider reasonable adjustments to either: a) Prevent individuals from having any sickness absence; b) Facilitate a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence by the employee; or c) Facilitate a sustained return to the working environment, normally from long-term sickness absence. Such reasonable adjustments should be discussed with the employee and may include: Adjustments to the premises/working environment; Transferring the employee to an alternative vacant role or alternative duties; Amending the working hours; Allocating a different place of work; Allowing attendance during working hours for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment; Re-training; Acquiring or modifying equipment; Modifying instructions or processes. This list is not exhaustive and employees are encouraged to identify reasonable adjustments. Adjustments may be made on a permanent or temporary basis and this will be considered on an individual basis. Where arrangements are permanent an assessment will be undertaken to ascertain if the changes to be made will have an impact on the employee s remuneration. Probationary Employees For employees during their probationary period, sickness absence is one of the factors which will be considered by Wyvern Academy in making a decision regarding the continued employment of the probationary employee. Monitoring The success of this policy depends upon the effective reporting and monitoring of sickness absence. An effective monitoring system which provides statistical information to managers on a regular basis to highlight sickness absences within their sphere of control.

14 Wyvern Academy s Business Committee will receive an annual report, which will enable them to evaluate the level of sickness within Wyvern Academy and the actions being taken to support staff and minimise absence. Policy Review The effectiveness of this policy will be monitored and reviewed every three years by Governors. This mechanism recognises that changes to employment legislation may prompt a review of the policy before the three years stipulated. In considering the effectiveness of this policy, consultation will be undertaken with Trade Unions, staff and managers to assist in the review and monitoring of this policy.

15 HR monitor s sickness absence to identify employees who have hit a trigger point Stage 1 of the Sho r t - term Sickness Absence procedure triggered employee invited to a formal Stage 1 meeting Following the meeting the employee will receive written notification of the outcome of the discussion, improvement sought (i.e. trigger points) and the timeframe for improvement A formal review to be held with the employee which will identify whether the employee is meeting the requirement for a signif icant and sustained reduction in sickness absence Employee has sustained a significant improvement end of process, employee removed from Short - term Sickness Absence procedure No significant sustained improvement (Stage Two trigger hit). Employee informed that they will be invited to a Stage Two meeting within 14 calendar days Employee invited to a Stage 2 meeting under the Short - term Sickness Absence procedure Following the meeting the employee will receive written notification of the outcome of the discussion, improvement sought (e.g. trigger points) and the timeframe for improvement. A formal review to be held with the employee, which will identify whether the employee is meeting the require ment for a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence. Employee has sustained a significant improvement revert to Stage One No significant, sustained improvement ( Stage Three trigger hit). Employee informed that they will be invited to a Stage Three meeting within 14 calendar days

16 Stage Three meeting with the Headteacher arranged to consider the continued employment of the member of staff If the employee fails to attend the Stage Three meeting the Headteacher will decide whether to proceed in the employee s absence or to reconvene Headteacher decides to proceed with the hearing in the employee s absence the employee s representative can attend the hearing to either present the employee s case or observe the proceedings Headteacher decides to postpone. Postponement of the hearing will be allowed on one occasion only. The Headteacher determines: There has not been a significant and susta ined reduction in sickness absence the Headteacher gives notice of dismissal to the employee and provide details of the employee s right of appeal. That some notable improvement has been made but the significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence has not yet been met. Serious consideration will be given to extending the review period once, for three months and deferring the decision. Following the meeting the employee will receive written confirmation of the decision Employee will be invited to a formal review with the Headteacher after 3 months of the Stage 3 Meeting The Headteacher determines: There has not been a significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence the Headteacher gives notice of dismissal to the employee and provide details of the employee s right of appeal. That some notable improvement has been made but the significant and sustained reduction in sickness absence has not yet been met. The employee will revert to Stage 2 of the process.

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