MANAGING ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCE POLICY AND PROCEDURES JANUARY This policy supersedes all previous policies for managing attendance and absence

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1 MANAGING ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCE POLICY AND PROCEDURES JANUARY 2016 This policy supersedes all previous policies for managing attendance and absence

2 POLICY TITLE Managing Attendance and Absence Policy and Procedure POLICY REFERENCE POLICY CATEGORY HR17 Human Resources RELEVANT TO All staff DATE PUBLISHED February 2016 IMPLEMENTATION DATE February 2016 DATE LAST REVIEWED January 2016 NEXT REVIEW DATE February 2018 RESPONSIBLE PERSON Louise Thomas, Head of HR & BP CONTACT DETAILS Telephone: ACCOUNTABLE DIRECTOR Director of Nursing and People APPROVED BY APPROVED BY Workforce Committee Date: May 2015 Joint Policy Sub Group Date: July 2015 Date Version Amendments Apr Policy reviewed DOCUMENT HISTORY Oct Policy reviewed Sept Policy reviewed section 11 & related amendments added Sept Appeal timeframe amended v Policy reviewed Dec Policy reviewed May Policy reviewed Jan Policy reviewed MEMBERSHIP OF THE POLICY DEVELOPMENT/ REVIEW TEAM HR; Staffside Representatives; Trust Managers/Directors CONSULTATION Joint Policy Sub Group Workforce Committee i

3 DO NOT AMEND THIS DOCUMENT FURTHER COPIES OF THIS DOCUMENT CAN BE FOUND ON THE TRUST INTRANET. ii

4 Contents Page 1 Introduction 1 2 Aims & Purpose 1 3 Roles & Responsibilities 2 4 tifying Sickness and Absence 3 5 Fitness for Work 4 6 Return to Work Interviews 5 7 Managers Responsibilities Under the Equality Act Procedure for Managing non-attendance and absence from work 7 9 Unauthorised Absence or Abuse of Trust Rules on Sickness Absence General Information 10.1 Time off for appointments 10.2 Rehabilitation 10.3 Redeployment 10.4 Ill Health Retirement Review 14 Appendix 1 - Absence Procedure Flowcharts 15 Appendix 2 - Formal Hearing Procedure Appendix 3 - Sick Pay Entitlement Appendix 4 - Return to Work Meeting/Exploratory Interview Record Appendix 5 - Guidance for Employees Completing the Self Certification Form Appendix 6 - Self Certification Form Appendix 7 - Checklist for Staff and Managers when reporting absence Appendix 8 - Workplace Assessment Form Appendix 9 - Equality Impact Assessment Tool iii

5 1. INTRODUCTION 1.1 The objective of this document is to ensure robust staff management and support mechanisms are in place to report and monitor all sickness absence, to deal with sickness absence in a fair, consistent and sensitive manner, whilst minimising the effect of absences on the delivery of services. 1.2 Unplanned absence is costly. High levels of sickness and absence can have an effect on the level and quality of service provision and can result in increased costs through the use of NHSP staff, agency staff and overtime. 1.3 The Foundation Trust recognises the right of employees to enjoy reasonable job security when absent through sickness. At the same time, employees have a responsibility to ensure regular attendance at work. Consequently, managers should deal with sickness absence in a clear and consistent manner. 1.4 This policy applies to the handling of sickness and absence during both paid and unpaid sickness/absence. Entitlement to occupational sick pay for staff on Agenda for Change terms and conditions of employment is set out at Appendix Camden and Islington NHS Foundation Trust believes that it is a mutual benefit to the Trust and its employees to work in partnership with Staff side. This policy has been developed and agreed by management and Staff side, in order to ensure staff are treated consistently and fairly. 2. AIMS & PURPOSE The aim of the policy is to: Attain and maintain a healthy workforce Support staff who are unwell in their return to the workplace. Ensure all sickness absence is reported, managed and monitored appropriately. Ensure appropriate support is available for staff and managers. Know when to take action. Minimise impact on service delivery. Ensure a consistent and equitable approach is taken. 2.1 However, deliberate misuse of the provisions for sick leave and sick pay will be regarded as misconduct and dealt with as a disciplinary issue. The purpose of this policy is to act as a guide on how to deal with sickness absence. This policy sets out the principles under which the Foundation Trust will manage attendance at work and minimise absence due to sickness. One of the guiding principles behind this policy is that of supporting and keeping upto-date with the employee. In managing absence pro-actively, opportunities may also arise in relation to improving working conditions generally and so improving the working lives of employees. 1

6 3. Roles & Responsibilities 3.1 The Responsibilities of the Line Manager To accurately record, report and monitor attendance and absence of all staff for whom they are responsible; To resolve absence problems and support staff to achieve satisfactory levels of attendance; To maintain a clear and accurate record of attendance; To initiate referrals for Occupational Health assessments; To undertake a workplace assessment when appropriate; To maintain contact with the employee who is absent as a result of sickness; To inform all staff of this policy and of any local procedures for notifying sickness; To conduct a Return To Work Interview with all employees as soon as they return to work after every absence, regardless of the length; To inform HR that a monitoring period has been set to review an employee s attendance as part of the informal stage of the procedure, and forward documentation to support this (outcome letter or return to work meeting record); To complete and submit to Payroll attendance records for all staff by the 5 th of every month, ensuring that accurate, timely reporting is undertaken to enable the correct sickness payment to be made. 3.2 The Responsibilities of the Employee To ensure regular attendance at work; To notify their manager of absence in accordance with departmental procedures if they are unable to attend work for whatever reason. This should be prior to (or where this is not possible within one hour of) their expected time on duty or in accordance with local absence reporting arrangements if applicable; To submit timely certification for all absences including self certificates from the 1 st day of absence and medical certificates from the 8 th day of absence; To attend a health assessment at the request of their manager; To keep their manager informed of progress during absence and of dates for returning to work. 3.3 The responsibilities of Occupational Health o o o o o o o To provide impartial, expert advice to managers on the fitness of employees to undertake their role; To liaise appropriately with managers in managing absence providing clarification if required. To provide health assessments on employees; To provide confidential advice on supporting employees to assist in returning to work in a safe and secure manner at the earliest opportunity To flag risks to individuals/groups to whom the Trust has a duty of care Advice from Occupational Health may include: The impact of a health problem on the staff member's ability to work Likely duration of absence/timescales for improvement Limitations on work activities/conditions Options to assist rehabilitation/continued employment Return to work programmes 2

7 o o Application of the Disability Discrimination Act Ill health retirement where appropriate. Occupational Health advice given to the manager will not contain confidential medical detail. 3.4 The responsibilities of the Human Resources (HR) Department To provide up to date advice to managers on dealing with sickness and absence; To ensure accurate monthly absence reports are provided to managers to develop plans for ensuring absence rates are kept to a minimum; To provide support and training to managers to help keep absence levels low and to develop appropriate skills to deal sensitively, fairly and reasonably with absence; To advise on correspondence and give relevant support at all formal stages. 4. NOTIFYING SICKNESS AND ABSENCE 4.1 First day of absence It is a condition of employment that staff who are unable to attend work because of illness should notify their manager by telephone as soon as possible on their first day of sickness (unless there is a substantial and acceptable reason preventing notification). Each department will determine the normal limits within which notification of sickness should occur and the manager to whom the employee should report. In the absence of any local procedure, the default requirement is to report absence to the immediate line manager prior to (or where this is not possible within one hour of) their expected time on duty. The employee must indicate the cause of absence and the expected duration. If the employee cannot give a clear indication of the duration of absence then each further day they must call to confirm their continued absence. If no contact is made, the line manager may telephone the employee for clarification. Managers have a responsibility to ensure their staff know and understand the procedures. (Appendix 7 has guidelines on information to obtain from the initial contact) 4.2 Eighth Day of Absence and ongoing On the eighth day of absence the employee must submit a medical certificate to the line manager. The employee must send further sick notes to the line manager when the previous note has expired to cover the full period of absence. This must be received within 3 working days of the previous note expiring. An agreement should also be made as to how regular contact will be made to the manager to keep them updated on the employee s absence. If an employee is absent for more than 10 working days an automatic referral should be made to occupational health whether they have returned to work or not. 3

8 4.3 Certification As shown in the table below self-certification is required for any period of absence from Day 1 (see Appendix 6 & 7 for self-certificate & guidance notes). The line manager needs to ensure this has been completed at the Return to Work interview (see Appendix 4). Table 1: Certification Requirements Any single period up to 7 calendar days Provide a self-certificate (available in Appendix 5 & 6) within 3 working days of the start of sick leave or the day of return to work (whichever is earliest) for any period of sickness of 7 days or less. If sickness extends beyond 7 continuous days (weekends included) Provide a doctor's certificate (known as a fit note) within 3 working days after your 7 th day of absence and provide a doctor's certificate on day of expiry of previous certificate if period of sickness continues. Failure to supply either a self-certificate or a medical certificate will result in the withholding of pay. Exceptionally the Trust reserves the right not to guarantee payment on backdated certificates from GPs and employees will need to provide detailed reasons in writing to their line manager if this becomes necessary. If pay is to be stopped the manager will confirm the details to the employee. Staff should not undertake work whilst claiming sick pay from the Foundation Trust nor engage in activities inconsistent with the nature of their illness. Falsely claiming sick pay form the Foundation Trust is considered as gross misconduct and the matter may therefore be referred to the Local Counter Fraud Service and be dealt with under the Foundation Trust's Disciplinary Procedure. 4.4 What counts as a day s sickness absence? All off duty days and statutory holidays will count as an absence day unless the employee has reported back as fit to work. For example if an employee is sick on a Friday and does not return until Monday the absence will count as 3 days even if they would not be on duty over the weekend. If any employee leaves work early due to sickness and less than half the shift has been worked this will then count as a full day s absence. 5. FITNESS FOR WORK 5.1 If a manager is concerned about an employee s fitness to return to work safely or if a GP has stated on the fit note that an employee can only carry out restricted duties, the employee will not be allowed to resume or undertake their normal duties until Occupational Health advice has been received. 4

9 Occupational Health advice is likely to fall into one of the following categories: The employee is fit for work and may return to normal duties. The employee is fit for work but requires a phased reintroduction to work. The employee is fit for work but requires restriction of duties or adjustments in the workplace. The employee is fit, or will shortly be fit to return to work, and they do not need a phased return to work. The employee is not fit and is unlikely to be fit in the near future. In this case the employee will be advised to go back to their GP to be declared unfit to resume the normal duties of their post. The Occupational Health Practitioner will obtain the employee s consent to liaise with the employee s GP if necessary. In cases where there is a disagreement in relation to an employee s fitness for work between Occupational Health and the GP, Occupational Health s decision will take precedence. 6. RETURN TO WORK INTERVIEWS Following any period of sickness absence the manager should meet with the employee to complete a return to work interview. This return to work interview will take place on the employee s first day back at work. As a guide, the meeting might include the following: Checking the employee s absence record and that they have followed the reporting procedures. Seek HR advice if appropriate. Ask how the employee is, if they are fit to return, if they require any support Update the employee on events of note that have occurred during their absence Discuss the reasons for any failure to report absence and how this will be dealt with Consider referral to OH if: o Either party has any concerns about the individual s fitness to work, or o Either party identifies any risk associated with the employee s work, or o Due to illness or injury, adjustments are likely to be required to support their return to work, or o The absence is over 10 days in length. If absence has exceeded 8 days in the last 12 months or 3 instances of 1 day or more in the last 3 months, or if absence is unacceptable due to a particular pattern of absence, meet with employees in line with the informal stage of the procedure and put in place a monitoring period to review attendance levels over a set period of time (up to a period of 3 months). Where possible if the employee has triggered the informal stage of the process this should be held alongside the return to work interview. Possible outcomes of the meeting may include: 5

10 o o o o o Referring the individual to Occupational Health for advice and to support the employee (the Management Referral Form can be found on the Trust intranet under the Occupational Health Section); Seeking further HR advice; Advising the employee to contact the staff counselling and advisory service for additional support; Putting in place a monitoring period to review an employee s attendance at work, as part of the informal stage of the procedure (see Section 8); Arranging a Formal Stage 1 or 2 Advisory Interview/Formal Hearing (see Section 8). Make a record of the meeting. The pro-forma at Appendix 4 can be used for this purpose. Ensure HR are informed of any monitoring period set. Paperwork to support this (an outcome letter or a copy of the return to work meeting record) will also need to be provided. 7. THE EQUALITY ACT 2010 At all phases in the application of this policy and procedure due regard must be paid to the provisions of the Equality Act 2010, which replaced the earlier legislation concerning disability, the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 (DDA), and the numerous statutory instruments which amended and supported that Act. The Act states that a person has a disability if they have a physical or mental impairment, which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal dayto-day activities. In addition, the Act automatically treats people with HIV, Multiple Sclerosis and Cancer as disabled. People with mental illness are protected in the same way as everyone else by the Equality Act, which also removed the requirement that the illness be clinically recognised. The Trust has a legal duty: a) t to treat less favourably a disabled employee/job applicant/worker because of their disability or for a reason related to their disability; and b) To consider reasonable adjustments to the workplace in order to help a disabled person overcome any disadvantage caused by their disability. Reasonable adjustments The Trust s duties under the Equality Act mean that all line managers must take positive and proactive steps to identify, discuss and action reasonable adjustments for disabled workers. Examples of reasonable adjustments include (but are not limited to): Flexibility in the application of a policy e.g. allowing a disabled worker time off to attend medical appointments; Making physical changes to the workplace e.g. ensuring that an appropriate chair is reserved and available for a disabled worker in a hot-desking situation; Provision of extra equipment or support e.g. the provision of specialist software such as an adapted keyboard or text to speech software. 6

11 The Act does not define reasonable, but managers and staff can seek advice in each case from the HR team, the Occupational Health Department or the Access to Work scheme (see below). Access to Work Access to Work is a government scheme which provides practical and financial support to help disabled people overcome barriers in employment. The Trust will support disabled employees in applying for funding or support from Access to Work. Employees must contact Access to Work directly to apply for support, however HR will provide guidance on how to apply and support to progress an application. NHSP and Agency staff Contract workers are also covered by the Equality Act and are entitled to have reasonable adjustments made to avoid being put to a substantial disadvantage compared with nondisabled people. 8. PROCEDURE FOR MANAGING NON ATTENDANCE AND ABSENCE FROM WORK The following procedure is designed for the management of: a) Short-term absence, which is defined as absence of 8 days or more in a rolling 12 month period, or 3 occasions of 1 day or more in the last 3 months; and b) Long term absence, which is defined as absence of 28 days or more. c) Particular patterns of absence, for example if someone regularly takes sick leave following on from annual leave (but have not triggered the policy) Please note - a discussion should take place with the employee about the pattern before a decision to apply the policy is made. There may be exceptional circumstances where it is not deemed appropriate to deal with an employee s sickness absence through this procedure. An example of this may be where a manager knows that a member of staff is going to be off for a particular period of time, e.g. for a surgical procedure, broken limb, etc., whereby regular contact and support is needed and a return can be predicted within a reasonable timeframe. Managers are advised to discuss any such exceptional circumstances with HR before reaching the decision to not progress the matter through the procedure, to ensure consistency of approach. In cases of long term absence where there is a serious underlying health problem, it may be appropriate to immediately hold a formal meeting without carrying out the Informal Stage and Advisory Interview stages of the procedure. This may occur, for example, where it is clear that progressing through each stage is not likely to assist in resolving the matter and redeployment, ill health/voluntary retirement, or dismissal on the grounds of incapacity may be the only realistic option. The following procedure sets out the process to be followed in managing non attendance and absence from work by Trust employees. The process is as follows: Informal Stage (section 8.1) Formal Stage 1 Advisory Interview (section 8.2) Formal Stage 2 Advisory Interview (no underlying health problem) (section 8.3) Formal Stage 2 Advisory Interview (underlying health problems) (section 8.4) 7

12 Formal Hearing (section 8.5). If an underlying health problem/s has been identified, consideration is to be given to Ill Health or Voluntary Retirement/Redeployment Options at this stage of the procedure. Please refer to the flowcharts at Appendix 1. Please note that in cases where Occupational Health advise that an employee is not fit to undertake their role for the foreseeable future, it may be necessary to proceed directly to Formal Stage 2, or Stage 3 in exceptional circumstances. 8.1 Informal Stage It is in everyone s interest to prevent the need to invoke the formal stages of the procedure in relation to an employee s attendance at work. Where an employee has hit the triggers in operation within the Trust due to persistent short-term absences, long term absence, or a particular pattern of absence, the manager will arrange to discuss their concerns informally with the employee using the return to work interview process. The manager will outline within this meeting the expected standards/levels of attendance and the outcome of the discussion will result in a monitoring period being set up to regularly review attendance levels with the employee This meeting provides an opportunity for the manager to discuss with the employee the frequency, reasons and amount of absence. The manager should advise that the employee s absence is causing concern and offer any support that might be appropriate. Advice and guidance can be sought from HR. If it is agreed that the attendance problem is caused by health reasons, the employee should be referred to Occupational Health for assessment. If no underlying health reasons exist the manager may want to refer to the Foundation Trust s Flexible Working Policy Following this meeting, the manager shall put in place a monitoring period to review the employee s attendance (over a period of up to 3 months). This will be done at either the return to work interview or at a later date (when the information is known that an employee has hit the sickness triggers). Detail of the improvement required, and the time scale for improvement will be set out in the return to work interview record. A note of the return to work interview should be agreed and signed by both others. Appendix 4 can be used for this purpose A letter confirming the informal discussion, the dates of any monitoring period set, and the possible consequences of failure to improve will be written by the manager (and a copy retained by the manager on the local file) and sent to the employee within 7 calendar days 1 of the meeting. It is important that during the monitoring period, the manager continues to provide day-to day management and ensures that the employee is appropriately supported to help them achieve and maintain the required standard of attendance. A copy of this letter can be found on the Trust intranet A date will be set to formally review the attendance levels during the monitoring period (typically towards the end of the 3 month period). If the employee s attendance has improved, the manager will then discuss how this improvement can be sustained in the longer term. However, if the employee s attendance has not improved to an acceptable level, the formal stage of the Managing Attendance and Absence Policy will be initiated. The formal stage of the policy will be invoked prior to the end of the monitoring period if the level of absence persists during this time. 1 Does not include public holidays 8

13 8.1.6 However, there may be circumstances where a manager will deem it appropriate to not use the informal stage or to start the formal process at Stages 2 or 3, particularly when an employee has a pattern of acceptable attendance during a monitoring period, but the attendance becomes unacceptable after the caution and monitoring period has expired. 8.2 Formal Stage 1 Advisory Interview Where there is no improvement in an employee s absence following the informal stage of the procedure, or where it is deemed appropriate to move straight to the formal stage of the Managing Attendance and Absence Policy (for example, 28 days or more in a one year rolling period), the manager should seek the advice of Human Resources and arrange a Formal Stage 1 Advisory Interview with the employee. Five working days notice of the meeting should be given in writing The purpose of the meeting is to inform the employee of the consequences of continued poor attendance and inform the employee of the results of the Occupational Health assessment (where applicable). An HR representative will, at this stage, and subsequent stages, be present at the meeting. The employee must be informed that they may be represented by a trade union representative/officer or an appropriate workplace colleague employed by the Foundation Trust. If appropriate, the employee should be advised of the: - Improvement in attendance levels required (and that this level of attendance should be sustained beyond the review period) - Length of the review period; which should normally be over a period of up to 3 months; - Likely consequences of failure to achieve and maintain a satisfactory improvement during the review period Failure to sustain the required level of attendance beyond the review period may lead to the process being reinstated at the point at which it had stopped. This discretion should be exercised only when it is reasonable to do so in the circumstances The manager will confirm the outcome of the meeting including the above details in writing to the employee and his/her representative. A copy must be sent to the Human Resources representative In appropriate cases, consideration should be given to retirement or termination of contract on the grounds of ill health following receipt of such advice from the Occupational Health Department (see below). 8.3 Formal Stage 2 Advisory Interview - Underlying Health Problems Where there is no underlying health problem and if there has not been a sustained improvement in the employee s attendance during the review period at Formal Stage 1, a further Advisory Interview should be arranged. The employee should be given five working days notice of the hearing, advised of their right to representation and an HR advisor should be present. The causes and frequency of the absence should again, be discussed and, if necessary, a health assessment or further health assessment may be obtained. 9

14 8.3.2 The employee should be given a second opportunity to improve their attendance record against the expected standards. A further period of review would be agreed and the employee s attendance would be monitored for an appropriate period (over a period of up to 3 months) and reviewed either within or at the end of the period, depending on the standards of attendance achieved. The employee must be informed of the consequences of further failure to improve their attendance and that, if the expected standards of attendance have not been achieved, further action would be taken up to and including dismissal. This must be confirmed in writing following the Advisory Interview. 8.4 Formal Stage 2 Advisory Interview - Underlying Health Problems Where there is an underlying health problem, and: a) If there has not been a return to work, or b) There has been no sustained improvement in the employee s attendance as a consequence of the Advisory interview, or c) The Occupational Health advice is that the individual is not fit to undertake their role for the foreseeable future, a further Advisory Interview should be arranged. An HR representative will, at this stage, be present at the meeting. The employee may be represented by a trade union representative or a workplace colleague. The arrangements for the meeting should be confirmed in writing to the employee. Five working days notice of the meeting will be given in writing The causes and frequency of the absence should again, be discussed and, if necessary, a further health assessment may be obtained The aim of the meeting is to consider, with the employee, the range of options that might be available as alternatives to the termination of their contract on the grounds of capability. Circumstances will determine the range of options available, but these may include: a) Any opportunities for permanent or temporary duties within the employee s capabilities elsewhere in the Trust; b) The possibility of changing working arrangements or environment on an established temporary basis retraining where applicable and appropriate; c) The possibility of voluntary retirement or retirement on the grounds of ill health; d) Arrangements for a return to work if the assessment indicates a return immediately or in the foreseeable future and an ability to undertake full duties; e) A further health assessment if doubt prevails A reasonable timescale should be set to explore these alternatives and sufficient time be given for the employee to consider the options. The employee should be informed in writing of the actions to be pursued and the timescale over which they would be considered. At this stage, the employee will also be informed that if there continues to be no sustained satisfactory improvement in attendance, or the range of options explored cannot be realised, a formal hearing will be arranged and this could lead to termination of employment on the grounds of capability. 8.5 Formal Hearing In the event that the employee s absence has not improved and the Foundation Trust s procedures have been exhausted, a formal hearing will be convened. 10

15 8.5.2 Management will submit a full report of the actions taken to manage and support the absence issue to the Chair of the formal hearing. The Chair will consider any mitigating circumstances presented The Formal Hearing will be based on the procedure outlined in Appendix The decision of the hearing must be confirmed in writing to the employee within 7 calendar days 2 of the hearing. Where the employer terminates the contract, this will be on the grounds of capability, either because: a) There is an underlying health problem and no likelihood of improvement or return to normal or adjusted duties, or b) The unrelated episodes of ill health are believed to be genuine but levels of attendance continue to be unacceptable. Abuse of sick pay benefits, unauthorised absence, failure to follow the procedure and any other misconduct associated with absence will come under the scope of the Disciplinary Procedure. 8.6 Formal Hearing Panel Membership & Hearing Attendees The case will be heard by the line manager s manager or a senior manager who has not been previously involved in the case and who has authority to dismiss. Details of managers with authority to dismiss are set out in the Disciplinary Procedure The Chair of the hearing will be supported by a HR representative The line manager will present the case The employee has the right to be supported by a trade union/staff representative or an appropriate workplace colleague Where considered necessary, a person with specialist knowledge in the field of work of the employee or a professional assessor will be invited to join the panel to give advice on matters relating to the professional or technical competence of the employee Employees will be required to attend formal meetings under the Managing Attendance and Absence policy. If the employee is unable to attend the meeting, a decision may be taken to proceed with the meeting in the employee s absence. The situation may occur if either the employee has not attended a pre-arranged meeting on more than one occasion or there is Occupational Health advice to confirm that the individual is not fit to attend. A written statement can be submitted by the employee if they are not fit to attend the hearing If a formal hearing is arranged but appropriate representation cannot be obtained, the employee may request for the meeting to be rescheduled and they should provide to the line manager details of alternative dates and times over the five days following the original date of the meeting that they and their representative/companion will be available. Failure to do so may then mean the meeting being rescheduled without regard to the employee and their representative s/companion s availability. The 2 Does not include public holidays 11

16 hearing may take place in the employee s absence if they have failed to attend once before due to Trade Union non attendance. 8.7 Right of Appeal An employee has the right to appeal the decision of the Formal Hearing. The appeal must be made in writing to the next in line manager within 21 calendar days of the date of the letter of notification, giving their full reasons for the appeal. Failure to comply with this requirement may mean that an appeal is not heard. The procedure to be followed at an appeal hearing is as set out in the Foundation Trust s Disciplinary Procedure. 9 UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE OR ABUSE OF FOUNDATION TRUST RULES ON SICKNESS ABSENCE 9.1 This occurs when an employee is absent from work and fails, without good reason, to communicate this absence and the reason for it within a reasonable period of time to their manager (or the person in charge at the time), usually on the first day of absence. 9.2 Failure to notify the relevant manager of a period of absence and reason for the absence will be regarded as a disciplinary offence and pay may be suspended immediately. If no notification is received on the first day of absence, and there is no substantial and acceptable reason for this, a recorded letter will be sent seeking an explanation for the absence and informing them that their pay has been suspended. Additionally, this communication will inform the employee that a continued failure to communicate may result in a disciplinary hearing being scheduled. Where there are exceptional, extenuating circumstances, such action would not be appropriate. 93 A further failure to communicate will automatically result in a hearing being scheduled which may result in disciplinary action being taken up to and including dismissal. 9.4 Where an employee fails or ceases to submit timely medical certificates, pay will be suspended and the manager should write by recorded letter to the employee on at least two occasions. On the first occasion the employee should be informed that a continued failure to submit certificates will result in a disciplinary hearing being scheduled and that pay has been suspended. On the second occasion the employee should be informed that a hearing has been scheduled which may result in disciplinary action being taken, up to and including dismissal. 9.5 Employees who wish to absent themselves during normal working hours must gain the permission of their manager (or the person in charge at the time) beforehand. Failure to do so may result in disciplinary action. 9.6 An employee who otherwise abuses Foundation Trust rules on sickness absence, e.g. falsely claiming sick pay, will be dealt with under the Foundation Trust's Disciplinary Procedures and may be referred to the Local Counter Fraud Service. 12

17 10. GENERAL INFORMATION 10.1 Time off for appointments Hospital appointments and similar should where possible be booked outside of service hours/duties. If this is not possible in order to keep disruption to the service at a minimum then appointments should be booked at the beginning or the end of the day. This will be granted at the managers discretion but should be agreed where reasonable to do so Workplace assessments If Occupational Health recommends that an employee should undergo a workplace assessment the employee should do the following: Complete a Display Screen Assessment Form (see Appendix 8). The completed form should be discussed with their line manager. The manager should review any actions or findings indicated in the form. If problems still persist or the relevant line manager still has concerns about the employee, they should refer the employee to Occupational Health or alternatively the employee can self-refer. Employees should provide the completed form to Occupational Health during their appointment Rehabilitation Where a member of staff is fit to return to work but not on full contractual hours or full range of duties (usually after long term sickness), the manager should consider returning them to work on a phased basis on full contractual pay for a defined period of time (up to 4 weeks). This rehabilitation period is to allow an effective, sustained return to work. It should be supported by an agreed and structured programme taking into account the advice of Occupational Health. The length of the rehabilitation programme will be based on clinical need. Where annual leave has been accrued beyond the statutory entitlement of 4 weeks, the manager and member of staff should discuss and agree how this can best be used to support the return to work Redeployment Where there is an underlying medical condition and the member of staff is unable to fulfil the full requirements of the post, the manager, in consultation with Human Resources and Occupational Health staff, should explore the possibility of seeking redeployment into a suitable alternative post within the Trust. The redeployment period would normally be for a period of 28 days up to a maximum of 3 months. For employees whose absence levels have reached Stage 3 of the procedure, redeployment opportunities will be sought up to the date of the Stage 3 hearing. Factors to be taken into account may include: The needs of the service and the best interests of the service users. The views of the employee. Whether the job description can be amended to allow the employee to remain in a workplace within which they are familiar. The availability of other suitable posts. 13

18 Possible use of physical, technological or other support to assist the employee. An analysis of the ability of the employee to undertake work of a different kind including the consideration of retraining. The employee will be required to complete a redeployment form, in order to assist HR in identifying possible roles within the Trust. Suitable alternative employment will be sought at the employee s current band or one band lower, in line with the Trust policy. Where a member of staff moves to a post on a lower band or working fewer hours etc., there will be no protection of salary or other conditions. However, each individual case should be fully explored with the member of staff and their representative Ill Health Retirements Employees who pay into the NHS Pension scheme may apply for the benefits under the scheme where: They have an underlying medical condition and the medical opinion of the Occupational Health doctor and/or their own GP/specialist indicates that they are unable to carry out their duties due to permanent ill health. They have been a member of the scheme for a minimum of 2 years or have chosen to leave the scheme, and are still working in the NHS. They have a terminal illness and may be eligible for commutation i.e. exchanging the pension and lump sum for a bigger lump sum payment. Full details of the benefits payable are outlined in the NHS Pension scheme handbook. The payment of benefits under the scheme has to be approved by the Pension Agency subject to strict eligibility criteria. The success of any application for the payment of ill health retirement benefits can in no way be guaranteed by the Trust. If approval is given by the NHS Pensions Agency, the ill health retirement date will be the date of approval by the Pensions Agency, this does not apply for terminal or similar illnesses where payment is urgent. 11 REVIEW It will be the responsibility of the Associate Director of HR/OD to monitor the progress of the policy and procedure. A review of this policy and procedure should be carried out every two years by Human Resources in conjunction with Staff side. 14

19 APPENDIX 1 Absence Procedure Flowchart Underlying Health Problem Pattern of Absence Identified Informal Stage Return to work interview Meeting & referral for health assessment (if appropriate) Underlying health problem identified Formal Stage 1 Advisory Interview Improvement Acceptable Attendance Improvement Formal Stage 2 Advisory Interview Inform of consequences of failure to improve Improvement Acceptable Attendance Improvement Redeployment Formal Hearing Ill Health or Voluntary Retirement 15

20 APPENDIX 1 Absence Procedure Flowchart Underlying Health Problem Pattern of Absence Identified Informal Stage Return to work Interview Meeting & referral for health assessment (if appropriate) underlying health problem identified Formal Stage 1 Advisory Interview Improvement Acceptable Attendance Improvement Formal Stage 2 Advisory Interview Inform of consequences of failure to improve Improvement Acceptable Attendance Improvement Formal Hearing 16

21 APPENDIX 2 FORMAL HEARING PROCEDURE 1) The manager will present the case in the presence of the employee and his/her representative and may call witnesses. 2) The employee and his/her representative will have the opportunity to ask questions of the manager and any witnesses. 3) Members of the panel will have the opportunity to ask questions of the manager and witnesses. 4) The manager will have the opportunity to re-examine his/her witnesses on any matters raised by the employee, his/her representative or members of the panel.. 5) The member of staff or his/her representative will present their case in the presence of the manager and may call witnesses. 6) The manager will have the opportunity to ask questions of the employee, their representative and any witnesses. 7) Members of the panel will have the opportunity to ask questions of the employee, his/her representative and witnesses. 8) The employee or his/her representative will have the opportunity to reexamine their witnesses on any matters raised by the manager or members of the panel. 9) The manager and the employee or his/her representative will have the opportunity to sum up their cases, with the employee or his/her representative having the right to speak last. Neither party can introduce any new matters pertaining to the case at this summing-up stage. 10) The manager, employee and his/her representative shall depart from the immediate panel venue. 11) The panel shall deliberate in private on the evidence presented. Where there are points of uncertainty they will recall both parties, irrespective of which of them has the points which need to be clarified. 12) Where possible, the full panel will be reconvened and the Chair will verbally deliver the decision, which will be confirmed in writing within 7 calendar days 3 of the hearing. 13) The employee and his/her representative will be advised verbally and in writing of their rights of appeal. 3 Does not include public holidays 17

22 APPENDIX 3 SICK PAY ENTITLEMENT During the 1 st year of service 1 month s full pay and 2 months half pay During the 2 nd year of service 2 month s full pay and 2 months half pay During the 3 rd year of service 4 month s full pay and 4 months half pay During the 4 th and 5 th year of service 5 month s full pay and 5 months half pay After completing the 5 th year of service 6 month s full pay and 6 months half pay 18

23 APPENDIX 4 RETURN TO WORK MEETING OR EXPLORATORY INTERVIEW RECORD Section One Employee name Line Manager Date of Absence From To Number of Days Certified (delete as appropriate) Reason for Absence & Additional Information/Circumstances (NB: unwell or ill are not acceptable) Self Certificated Medical Certificate Section 2 Dates Self- Certificated Covered by Medical Certificate From To Total absence during last rolling 12 month period From From To To From To Additional Information/circumstances surrounding previous episodes Has absence hit the Trust triggers? (e.g. 8 days in the last 12 months, 3 instances in last 3 months or one absence of 28 days in length) If yes, please complete Section 5 19

24 Section 3 Date of Meeting Meeting Attendees Plan/Discussion of how to minimise future occurrences (Please use reverse of form if necessary) Section 4 Detail support discussed with employee (Include any risks identified and how these will be mitigated. Include all reasonable adjustments made e.g. phased returns, adjusted hours, restrictions to role and the timescales for which these will be in place) Has an Occupational Health referral been made? Date: Section 5 (To be completed if employee s absence has hit one of the Trust s triggers) Agreed Monitoring Period Set Agreed Final review meeting date From: To: 20

25 Attendance target agreed (e.g. no more than 3 absences in 3 month period): NB for Line managers: The Employee Relations team must be informed of the details of any monitoring period set, and sent a copy of the informal meeting outcome letter. Signed (Manager): Date: Signed (Employee): Date: 21

26 APPENDIX 5 tes for Employees Completing the Self Certificate Form Self Certificates are now required for ALL periods of sickness absence from Day If you are absent from work for 7 calendar days or less because you are sick and your absence is not covered by a doctor s statement of incapacity for work. You must complete a self certificate form on the day of your return to work or 3 days after the start of your absence (whichever is soonest). This form should be completed from Day 1 of any period of absence. 2. You are also required to complete this form if you are absent for more than 7 calendar days and the first 7 days of your absence is not covered by a medical certificate. You must complete a self certificate form on the day of your return to work or 3 days after the start of your absence (whichever is soonest). 3. It is important that the information on this form is not misleading, false or incomplete. If you fail to provide full, accurate information the matter may be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure and referred to the Local Counter Fraud Service and pay may be withheld. 4. When describing why you could not come to work, be as specific as possible. General descriptions such as illness or unwell are not sufficient and may jeopardise payment of sick pay. 5. You must hand the completed form to your immediate manager, who will discuss your absence and check the form is correctly completed. 6. If you are sick and you do not report in to your manager as well enough to return to work before your rostered days off (including Saturday and Sunday for staff who work Monday to Friday), your days off will be considered as sickness days even though they are rostered as days off. NOTES FOR MANAGERS COUNTERSIGNING SELF CERTIFICATE FORM This information should be treated confidentially at all times Once signed, absence should be noted on monthly absence return forms and sent to payroll by the 5 th of each month The self certification should be kept securely on your management file for the employee 22

27 APPENDIX 6 SELF CERTIFICATE FORM This form is to be completed by the employee for all periods of absence up to and including seven calendar days. Full details of sickness and absence reporting and certification requirements are set out in the Foundation Trust s Managing Attendance and Absence Policy and Procedure. To be completed in block capitals. 1. Surname: 5. Reason for Absence: First Name: Dept/Ward: Base: 2. Employee Number: 6. Was this due to an accident at work? 3. Inclusive Dates of Absence YES / NO From: To: If yes, was an incident form filled in? YES / NO 4. Date of Return to Work: 7. I declare that the information given is full and true to the best of my knowledge and is in no way misleading. I understand that if I give false information I can lose my entitlement to sick pay and disciplinary action may be taken and the matter may be referred to the Local Counter Fraud Service. I confirm that I have not undertaken paid work elsewhere during this period or engage in activities inconsistent with declaring myself unfit for work and understand that such a matter would be referred to the Local Counter Fraud Service and disciplinary action may be taken. Signed: 23

28 Dated: Received by Manager on: Signed by Manager: 24

29 APPENDIX 7 Checklist for managers and staff when reporting absence Checklist for Staff You must let your manager at the soonest opportunity if you will be unable to attend work due to illness. At the latest this should be an hour before you are expected at work. When reporting your absence this must be communicated by phone, other correspondence such as s or text messages are not acceptable. Need to report directly to your line manager, if they are not available then must leave a message for them (or their nominated deputy if they are not at work that day) leaving a contact number. You must ensure you have a conversation with your manager (or their nominated deputy) on your first day of absence You need to keep your manager updated of your absence and when it is you will be likely to return Checklist for Managers Questions you need to ask member of staff Establish reasons for absence Ensure you have a correct contact number for the employee If possible establish when the member of staff expects to return to work, if unknown, advise the employee they must keep you informed each day of absence Discuss any outstanding work that the staff member has that might need attention in their absence Establish a keep in touch schedule with the employee- for example if you know they will be off for a period of time to call every day would be excessive so an agreement to call once or twice a week would be appropriate. For short term illness such as colds a daily update would be more appropriate. Ask if they are going to see their GP or seek medical advice Confirm contact details for employee. 25

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