Policy Title: Attendance Management Policy. Reference and Version No: HR4 Version 12. Policy Summary

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1 Policy Title: Attendance Management Policy Reference and Version No: HR4 Version 12 Author and Job Title: Roshni Devgan Employee Relations Advisor Executive Lead Director of Human Resources and Education Validated By: Policy Review Group Ratified By: Joint Forum Date Issued: 10 August 2017 Date for Review: 17 July 2020 Policy Summary This policy, procedure and associated guidance has been developed to enable the Trust to effectively manage absence by balancing the provision of care and a safe environment for patients, with maintaining effective service provision and providing a rewarding working environment where employees achieve job satisfaction and are motivated to contribute to providing the highest quality of healthcare. We aim to create a workplace where the balance of personal responsibility and engagement contribute to the successful achievement of the Trust s aims and objectives. Related Documents HR24 Disciplinary Policy and Procedure HR21 Capability Policy and Procedure HR48 Redeployment Policy HR65 Retirement Policy HR2 Grievance Policy inc the Prevention of Bulling and Harassment HR51 Promotion of Good Mental Health and Management of Stress This Policy is Intended for: Trust wide The Trust is committed to the fair treatment of all, regardless of age, colour, disability, ethnicity, gender, gender reassignment, nationality, race, religion or belief, responsibility for dependants, sexual orientation, trade union membership or nonmembership, working patterns or any other personal characteristic. This policy and procedure will be implemented consistently regardless of any such factors and all will be treated with dignity and respect. To this end, an equality impact assessment has been completed on this policy. 1 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

2 Contents 1. Introduction 2. Philosophy 3. Strategic Objective 4. Scope of the Policy and Procedure 5. Definitions 6. Responsibilities 7. Attendance Management Policy General Principles 8. Monitoring Appendices Appendix 1 Appendix 2 Attendance Management procedure Occupational Health referral process 2 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

3 1. Introduction Every employee of the Trust is expected to attend work on the days they are required for duty and to perform their duties to the highest standard. The Trust recognises that employees may need to take time off work due to ill health and may need to receive appropriate health related support and assistance to enable them to fulfil their role effectively or in order to support their return to work after a prolonged period of absence. The Trust recognises that a wide range of factors can influence an employee s absence levels including: motivation; personal commitments and demands external to the workplace; workload or working conditions. The Trust will take whatever steps are reasonably practicable and us available information about employee absence to help inform decisions on what action to take to maximise attendance at work. This will include: regular review and action of reports and information relating to sickness absence, accidents and incidents undertaking return to work interviews following all periods of absence creating and acting on the outcome of risk assessments/ work place assessments and health and safety audits acting on the findings of the annual NHS Staff Survey working with the Occupational Health Service that also incorporates staff support services such as physiotherapy, counselling and other psychological therapeutic interventions to provide integrated employee wellbeing service to support good attendance at work. 2. Philosophy is committed to good employment practices, to promoting the health, safety and welfare of all employees at work and showing concern for employees who may need to be absent from time to time through ill health. Whilst striving to take all reasonable measures to support and assist employees where problems are identified, the Trust recognises the crucial impact that uncontrolled absence has on the effective utilisation of our limited resources and the effect that this has on the ability of the Trust to operate efficiently. The Trust relies on having a well-motivated, healthy workforce for whom consistent and regular attendance is the norm. The Trust recognises that it has a duty of care towards its staff; therefore, it will deal effectively with absence by showing understanding and providing support but will take appropriate action against those who abuse the system or who do not regularly attend work. This policy, and the procedure which follows, will be applied throughout the Trust ensuring that positive, fair and consistent measures are taken to meet both the needs of employees and the Trust s objectives. 3 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

4 The policy incorporates the values of the Trust and the NHS constitution in relation to health and wellbeing. In addition the commitment to the effective implementation and monitoring of this policy and procedure is reflected in the Trust s Health and Wellbeing Strategy which supports the Trust s People and Organisational Development Strategy. 3. Strategic Objective To maximise levels of attendance at work by managing employee absence consistently, fairly and sympathetically and in the interests of the effective operation of the Trust, whilst at the same time, encouraging and supporting improvements to staff health and wellbeing. 4. Scope of the Policy and Procedure This policy and procedure provides clear guidance to employees and managers in dealing with all cases of persistent and/or long-term sickness and other absence. It sets out the roles and responsibility of employees, managers and the Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Service in effective management of absence within the Trust. The policy applies to all members of staff employed by North Tees and Hartlepool NHS Foundation Trust. For medical staff, reference should also be made to policy HR42, procedure for dealing with cases involving conduct, capability and concerns about health for medical and dental staff. 5. Definitions Manager Short-term absence Long-term absence This term refers to managers at every level across the organisation including line managers, supervisors, team leaders, etc. Any one occurrence of sickness absence lasting between 1 and 7 days. Any one occurrence of sickness absence which lasts for more than 7 days. Absence from the 8 th calendar day must be covered by a GP Fit Note. It should be noted that for reporting and referral purposes, reports will show long-term absence as 8 continuous calendar days or more. Episode of sickness Any period of absence due to sickness, i.e. 1 day, 1 week, 6 months, etc. with no return to work in between. Unacceptable levels of absence 3 episodes in a 12 month rolling period, levels of absence which exceed the Trust target and/or patterns of absence which are of concern to the manager including mix of short and long term absence. 12 month rolling period The 12 month period immediately preceding each episode of sickness absence. 4 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

5 6. Responsibilities 6.1 The Chief Executive will be ultimately responsible for and fully endorses the requirements of the Trust s Attendance Management Policy. 6.2 Directors are required to ensure the policy is observed and applied within their sphere of responsibility. 6.3 The Human Resources Directorate will: Oversee the operation, implementation, monitoring and review of this policy. Advise managers, staff and Trade Unions on the content of the policy and its interpretation. Ensure the provision of appropriate training and guidance to enable all managers and supervisors to discharge their responsibilities under this policy in a fair and consistent manner. Ensure that all new starters are aware of this policy and the notification procedures for absence, through the Trust s induction programme. Regularly review the policy and procedure through appropriate consultative machinery. Provide managers with timely and accurate information re trigger points and absence levels within their area. Ensure their involvement in all formal stages of the procedure to ensure that this policy is appropriately applied where necessary. Ensure the policy and procedure complies with the Equality Act Managers will: Ensure that the working environment is assessed to remain appropriate and fit for purpose. Ensure that employees receive appropriate training, supervision and support at work, and that work is allocated appropriately between team members. Ensure that they are available to enable employees to approach them with concerns about their job and/or health and provide them with appropriate support and/or signposting. Be responsible for the effective absence management of their staff. Ensure there is an agreed process in place locally in relation to reporting absence. Ensure that all supervisors, line managers and staff are aware of the requirements of this policy and their individual responsibilities at each level. Be responsible for regular monitoring, analysis of trends and identification of potential problems. Initiate appropriate action fairly and consistently. Refer staff to the Occupational Health Service (see Appendix 1 and 4). Ensure that this policy is followed consistently and applied to all staff. Keep in regular contact with employees during absence to ensure awareness of progress and/or changes in circumstances and offer support where appropriate/possible. In the event of an employee having an infectious disease, ensure that the requirements of Infection Control Policy are met. In the event of an employee reporting stress, ensure that an appropriate Stress Risk Assessment is undertaken as outlined in the Trust s Stress Policy with advice on completion available from the Trust s Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing Department if required. 5 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

6 Keep accurate records of all absences, with reasons and the relevant paperwork (e.g. records of telephone conversations and return to work interviews, notes of employee s discussions and meetings.) Undertake return to work interviews with staff following any period of absence. Collaborate effectively with Workforce and Occupational Health in managing absence. Ensure that the relevant risk assessments are carried out prior to an employee returning to work. 6.5 Employees will; Be responsible for managing their health and wellbeing. This will be evident through adopting positive health behaviours to ensure they are fit to meet the requirements of their role, and informing the Trust if they believe that their work or working environment is having a negative impact on their health and wellbeing. Employees are encouraged to be open and honest about their health in order that the Trust can offer the appropriate support and adjustments (where appropriate). Comply with the terms of their contract of employment by attending work regularly and carrying out their duties to an acceptable standard. Provide appropriate sickness absence certification in accordance with this policy and procedure. Attend meetings with management and Occupational Health appointments in relation to their absence. Comply with any reasonable management requests including provision of documents (such as self and medical certification forms), assistance with enquiries, compliance with any applicable health and safety policies and practices, referrals to and collaboration with Occupational Health including assisting the Trust in obtaining any medical evidence that is reasonably requested. Where the employee can t meet this request, the manager should make contact to agree. It is recognised there may be extreme situations that need to be taken into account. Only submit legitimate claims for sick pay or leave. Making deliberate or wilful false statements may, in serious cases, result in dismissal without notice. Comply with the local notification procedures for absence. If the employee is unable to contact the relevant manager themselves, then they must ensure that a message is given directly to an alternative management representative within their work area. This can be done by a partner, friend or relative. Texting, ing and/or leaving messages with colleagues at work is not acceptable at any stage of the absence management process. Employees must provide a reasonable reason why they are unable to attend work and the anticipated length of absence. Employees on long term sickness absence must maintain regular contact with their manager. Be able to self-refer if they so wish. Seek consent whilst absent from work due to sickness from their manager and or occupational health prior to undertaking any secondary employment or training commitments either within or outside of the Trust Maintain contact with their line manager as per the requirements of this policy during any period of absence. 6 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

7 6.6 Occupational Health, Safety and Wellbeing will; Provide advice and support to the Trust and its employees in relation to fitness for work, to promote health and wellbeing and assist employees to remain at work or return to work after experiencing health problems. Work with managers and Workforce providing advice to assist staff with existing health conditions to remain at work and maximise their performance. This will include provision of appropriate support and interventions which will vary according to the employee and nature of the health condition. Work with the Manager, Workforce, and the General Practitioner to provide advice and to support the development of rehabilitation plans for staff returning to work after ill-health related absence. Provide independent, objective, impartial and evidence-based advice to managers and members of staff relating to an individual s fitness to attend for work and perform the duties of their job, including return to work prospects, any adjustments to work which would improve the employee s attendance and likely future sickness patterns. Obtain informed consent from the employee prior to the release of the Occupational Health report. Only release information without consent in accordance with the HPCP, GMC and NMC Professional Codes of Conduct, where such information is considered to be in the interest of public or patient safety. Give employees access to their Occupational Health record including copies of reports as requested in writing. Work in conjunction with managers and Workforce to identify and resolve absence patterns and trends across the Trust. Provide appropriate advice on the analysis of sickness absence data. Carry out return to work assessments where required and advise managers and staff accordingly in terms of reasonable adjustments, involving external agencies such as Access to Work where appropriate. Liaise and communicate with General Practitioners/Specialists in relation to members of staff as necessary and with permission from the member of staff. 6.7 Trade Unions will: Provide representatives to attend meetings under this policy when requested by one of their members and where a representative is available. Participate fully in the consultative policy review process and assist with the training of staff. Represent and advise their members on both this and any associated policies and procedures. Work in partnership with managers and their members to achieve the strategic objective of this policy. 6.8 Workforce Information team will: Ensure that sickness absence reports and statistics are produced on a regular basis and incorporated into the following workforce reports: Service and directorate monthly attendance reports Trust board reports on a quarterly basis 7 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

8 7. Attendance Management Policy - General Principles Short Term Absence 7.1 Short-term absenteeism refers to a series of episodes of illness, often unconnected, which result in frequent, short periods of absence lasting 7 days or less. The appropriateness of referral to the Occupational Health Service will be discussed between the individual, their Line Manager and a member of the Workforce team where necessary, seeking advice from Occupational Health where appropriate prior to the referral. 7.2 The Trust reserves the right to request a Medical Certificate for periods of absence of less than seven calendar days in cases of short-term persistent absence. Employees will pay for these, in exceptional circumstances, where there is a confirmed underlying condition, the Trust will reimburse. Alternatively or where it has not been possible to obtain a Medical Certificate then the employee may be referred to Occupational Health. 7.3 Cases of repeated unacceptable levels of short term absence may be referred to the Formal Attendance Review process for further action. This could result in formal action being taken, up to and including dismissal from employment. Long Term Absence 7.4 It is acknowledged that occasions do arise when people are away from work on a long-term basis as a result of chronic or acute ill health. Although each case will be dealt with on an individual basis, this policy outlines certain principles that will always be observed. Long-term absence is classed as a period of continuous absence of 8 calendar days or more Unacceptable levels of absence 7.5 It is recognised that some employees may have a high level of uncertified/self-certified/medically certified absence. Formal action will be triggered when: 3 episodes in a 12 month rolling period levels of absence which exceed the Trust target a combination of odd days and/or longer periods of absence; patterns over particular days or time periods; or where an employee has previous formal warnings with regard to their attendance within a relevant time period. Compliance 7.6 In dealing with any sickness absence case, managers must be mindful of any obligations that they and the Trust may have under the Equality Act In identifying whether or not an employee is likely to be covered by the Act, advice will be sought from Occupational Health. Further information can be found in Workforce Guidance Attendance Management A Guide for Managers. 7.7 If an employee knowingly gives any false information, or makes wilful false statements about their sickness, it may be treated as misconduct and may result in disciplinary action being taken. In cases of gross misconduct it could lead to dismissal. 8 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

9 7.8 The Trust will deal with any abuse of this policy or procedure via its Disciplinary Policy. Unacceptable levels of absence or a failure to comply with the requirements of the Attendance Management Policy, including a failure to attend Occupational Health appointments, may also be addressed through the application of the Trust s Disciplinary Policy. 7.9 Any employee who unreasonably fails to comply with the Trust s Attendance Management Policy and Procedure may have their occupational sick pay withheld. This could include (but is not limited to) failing to maintain contact, failing to attend meetings and appointments, and failing to provide documentation. Any decision to withhold sick pay will be made in conjunction with the Workforce Department once advice is sought from the Occupational Health Service. Terms and Conditions of Service (Agenda for Change Section 14 and Annex Z) 7.10 Sick pay is not normally payable for an absence caused by an accident due to active participation in sport as a profession If an employee is absent from work in order to receive surgical treatment of a cosmetic nature (e.g. corrective eye laser surgery, liposuction, etc.), this will need to be arranged as annual leave or unpaid authorised absence unless the Trust is provided with written evidence that this procedure had to be performed for medical reasons An employee who is absent as a result of an accident is not entitled to sick pay if damages are received from a third party. Employees will be paid sick pay in line with their terms and conditions, however they must repay the full amount of sickness allowance when damages are received. Once received, the absence will not be taken into account for the purposes of calculating sick pay entitlement Employees on sick leave and receiving either reduced pay or no pay as a result of an injury or illness that is wholly or mainly attributable to their NHS employment, will be eligible to apply for Temporary Injury Allowance. Applications should be made by the employee to their line manager who will then follow Trust guidance. Further guidance is available in the HR area of the Trust s intranet site. In addition, guidance may be sought from Occupational Health or NHS Pensions. Employees do not need to be members of the NHS Pension Scheme to apply for Temporary Injury Allowance. Temporary Injury Allowance will stop when the individual returns to work or leaves their employment Where an employee is absent due to ill health, they must not undertake any activity that could exacerbate or prolong the condition as defined by the Occupational Health Physician or their GP Where an employee is unfit to undertake their contractual duties for the Trust but proposes to undertake secondary employment, s/he must, before doing so, discuss the matter with their manager. S/he may be required to attend the Occupational Health department to assess whether or not undertaking secondary employment will be detrimental to their recovery. Employees must not be in receipt of payment for secondary employment during periods 9 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

10 of sick leave which occur at the same time that they would otherwise be required to carry out their duties at the Trust Employees are entitled to sick pay in accordance with the rules of the Trust s Contractual Sick Pay (CSP) scheme and the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) scheme which is consistent with Agenda for Change Section 14 and Annex Z. This is calculated by reference to a rolling 12 month calendar period An employee will be expected to work with the Trust in facilitating a return to work following absence as soon as appropriate. In relation to a decision regarding whether an employee is fit to return to work, the Trust will rely on the advice of Occupational Health. Where Occupational Health advise that an employee is fit to return to work, even if this is contrary to the advice of the employee s General Practitioner or treating specialist, and the employee fails to return to work on this basis, their contractual sick pay may be suspended. Where the staff member has given permission, Occupational Health will liaise with the General Practitioner or treating specialist before making a final decision in relation to the individual s fitness to work. The Trust would also discuss this matter with the Occupational Health Physician and seek independent advice which would be from another Occupational Health Physician or someone outside of the Trust Where an employee becomes sick whilst suspended from work, then they will be regarded as being on sick leave rather than suspended. In such circumstances, the manager must ensure that Payroll and the Workforce department are notified of the employee s sickness to ensure that the correct contractual sick pay is paid. The following conditions of suspension will, however, continue to apply until such time that the disciplinary proceedings are concluded or the suspension is lifted: The employee shall notify the Trust of their whereabouts during the period of absence. During the period of absence, the employee should stay off Trust premises unless visiting for medical reasons, or for other reasons agreed in advance with their line manager or the investigating officer. During the period of absence, the employee should not communicate with any work colleagues with regard to the allegation(s). Exceptions to this are; immediate line manager, Trade Union representative or a Workforce representative If, whilst at work, an employee feels unable to continue working due to ill health, they should report this to their manager. The manager will take appropriate action to either support them to remain at work or arrange for them to leave work and get home safely. It is the employee s personal responsibility to decide whether they are well enough to remain at work Where a manager is concerned about a member of staff being at work, they will immediately refer the member of staff to Occupational Health who will advise of their fitness to remain at work. In the case where the member of staff is deemed unfit they will be medically suspended. Further advice will be sought and this could be from their GP, Occupational Health Physician, another Occupational Health Physician or a Specialist. If at a point they were deemed to be fit at the time of medical suspension, then the medical suspension would be lifted and suspension applied retrospectively, 10 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

11 Annual Leave 7.21 An employee who is ill during a period of previously scheduled annual leave has the right, providing that they request to do so in writing to their line manager, to reclaim the amount of annual leave that was originally requested Employees who are ill during a period of annual leave will only receive replacement holiday on their return to work if they fulfil the following conditions: a) The total period of sickness must be fully certified by a qualified medical practitioner where it exceeds seven days. Where the total period does not exceed seven days, a self-certificate must be submitted upon their return to work. b) The employee must contact their line manager on their first day of sickness. c) On the first day back at work, the employee must submit a written request setting out how much of their holiday period was affected by sickness and the amount of leave that they wish to take at another time. d) If the employee is overseas when they fall ill or are injured, evidence must still be produced that they were ill, in the form of a medical certificate or proof of a claim on an insurance policy for medical treatment received at the overseas location. Employees who fulfil these conditions will be granted the same number of day s replacement annual leave as those originally requested Employees who wish to take a holiday away from home whilst on sick leave are required to provide written evidence from a doctor/hospital or the Occupational Health department that the holiday will not be detrimental to their recovery. They must also contact their manager in advance of booking the holiday to request the necessary annual leave. Employees who take holidays away from home whilst on sick leave without taking this course of action may be subject to disciplinary action, which may include having the period of the holiday unpaid Replacement annual leave should be taken in the same leave year in which it was accrued where possible. The Trust may require employees to take all or part of their replacement annual leave on particular days and will aim to provide reasonable notice Employees who are absent from work due to sickness (particularly relevant to long term sickness) will accrue and carry forward any untaken annual leave from a previous leave year, in accordance with the statutory levels as determined by the European Working Time Directive (calculated inclusive of bank holidays). For employees who have exceeded the statutory entitlement of annual leave (4 weeks, inclusive of bank holidays) there is no obligation on management to approve the carryover of additional annual leave into the new leave year. Where appropriate, employees will agree how this accrued leave will be taken with their line manager. Any such leave can be utilised prior to returning to work in order to top up pay if the employee is in a half or no pay situation or to extend a phased return beyond the maximum duration of 2 weeks. 11 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

12 7.26 Employees who are unable to return to work following sickness absence and have not taken their statutory leave entitlements in a previous leave year will receive payment in lieu of statutory levels (4 weeks) on termination of contract. Termination of Employment 7.27 Employment can be terminated under this policy and procedure in the following circumstances: a) When it is established that s/he is permanently unfit for employment; b) When it is established that s/he is unfit to return to their job (or an alternative) before the expiry of their contractual sick pay (CSP); c) When s/he has exhausted their CSP and is unable to return to work in the foreseeable future; d) When it is mutually agreed between the employee and the manager; e) When the employee s level of absence from work is deemed to be unacceptable in accordance with the terms identified within this policy In cases resulting in the termination of employment, appropriate notice, or pay in lieu of notice will be paid in accordance with the terms of the employee s contract of employment. An employee is not entitled to exhaust CSP, or to receive payment in respect of any outstanding entitlement prior to (or on or after) the termination of their employment. Further Advice and Guidance 7.30 Please contact a member of the Workforce Team. Audit and Monitoring 7.31 Compliance with this policy will be monitored by the Director of Human Resources and Education. The organisation s absence figures will be presented to the Trust Board on a quarterly basis who will identify appropriate action plans to address any concerns regarding the level of absence in the Trust and will continue to monitor the plan until its completion Monitoring will include reporting of information from ESR to identify; a) the percentage sickness rate by staff group and Directorate b) the percentage short and long term rate by staff group c) reasons for and costs of absence 12 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

13 8. Monitoring The following processes will be audited as outlined below. Where deficiencies are identified an action plan will be developed to address these deficiencies. Process Monitoring will include reporting of information from ESR to identify: 1. Short-term sickness 2. Long term sickness 3. Cost of Absence 4. Reasons for Absence 5. Regional Comparison Process Reference Sections 1, 4 and 7. Lead Auditor (Job Title) Director of Human Resources and Education Scrutiny Committee Trust Board Frequency Quarterly Board Reports This information will include analysis at a Trustwide level, with additional reporting by Directorate and Staff Group. If an employee is absent or unable to carry out their normal duties as a result of an injury/incident at work for more than seven days, the Trust is required to report this to the Health and Safety Executive. Appendix 1, Section 7.5 Director of Human Resources and Education Health and Safety Executive Monthly (by exception) 13 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

14 Appendix 1 ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT PROCEDURE 1. Introduction The Trust recognises the need to treat employees as individuals and expects managers to consider each case of absence on its own merits. The overall purpose of this procedure is twofold; 1.1 to support employees in maintaining and sustaining attendance in line with contractual obligations, therefore improving the operational efficiency of the Trust and the quality of the services it provides, and 1.2 to support managers with managing employee absence by providing clear guidelines and effective management tools This procedure has been designed to ensure absence is managed fairly and consistently whilst contributing to reducing the cost of absence across the Trust. The purpose of this procedure is: a) to provide a fair and reasonable framework for the management of sickness absence; b) to provide clear guidance on unacceptable levels of absence and how they will be managed; c) to ensure employees receive appropriate advice and support to help them achieve and sustain the necessary levels of attendance; d) to minimise any adverse impact on employees when a colleague is absent through appropriate management arrangements. The role of the line manager is essential to the effective management of attendance and it is their responsibility to ensure that attendance levels in their areas are regularly and carefully monitored and managed. Line Managers must also ensure that all employees are aware of: a) the Trust attendance standards b) that they are expected to attend work on the days they are required for duty c) the correct reporting procedures for notifying sickness absence, maintain contact during absence and sickness certification requirements. 2. Procedure Reporting absence 2.1 Employees must notify their manager (or designated deputy) of their absence due to sickness at the earliest opportunity and in any event by 10am on the first day of absence to ensure that, where necessary, appropriate arrangements can be made for cover. Where staff work shifts, they must notify their line manager at the earliest opportunity and at least 4 hours before they are due to commence work. Where staff are due to work an early shift, they must contact their manager as soon as they are aware that they are unwell and will not be attending work. 14 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

15 If the employee is unable to contact the relevant manager themselves, then they must ensure that a message is given directly to an alternative management representative within their work area. In exceptional circumstances this can be done by a partner, friend or relative. Texting, ing and/or leaving messages with colleagues at work is not acceptable. 2.2 When notifying the Trust, the employee must give details of the nature of their absence, and likely date of return to work. If the absence is likely to be prolonged, an update should be provided on a weekly basis to their Line Manager (or designated deputy), or it may be agreed with the Line Manager that this update is scheduled to coincide with medical appointments. Employees must contact their manager on a regular basis during days one to seven of absence (inclusive). This will be recorded by the line manager on the Sickness absence call in record (available on the Trusts SharePoint site). 2.3 When the absence is for a period of one to seven calendar days, employees must complete a Self Certification of Absence upon return to work, stating the reason for absence. It is the employee s responsibility to ensure this document is completed, and given to their Line Manager or designated deputy. Failure to complete and provide this document may result in the absence being treated as unauthorised and therefore unpaid. 2.4 Sickness of eight or more consecutive calendar days must be certified by a registered medical practitioner and be submitted within ten days of the first day of absence. Subsequent fit notes must be received within five working days of the expiry of the previous one. 2.5 Failure to follow the correct procedure for absence reporting and/or recording may result in the withholding of pay and/or a deduction from pay for absence which is either not notified on time, or is not covered by the appropriate certification. Any decision to withhold pay will be the Line Manager s, in conjunction with the Workforce Department. Repeated failure to comply with the reporting and recording requirements of this policy may result in disciplinary action and/or the withholding of sick pay. 2.6 Staff who are absent and subsequently find they are fit to return to work should immediately inform their manager that they are fit to return so that the date is formally recorded. They will be expected to complete a return to work form in conjunction with the line manager and provide self-certification where applicable on their first day back in the Trust. Maintaining contact 2.7 The Trust recognises the benefit of constructive discussions between managers and their staff, involving Workforce and Trade Union representatives, as appropriate, to help facilitate these discussions. We see keeping in touch as important and for those staff on long term absence it is really important that regular contact is maintained and the support of Trade Unions in these discussion can be helpful. This would be informal or formal processes. 2.8 It is every employee s responsibility during sickness absence to maintain regular contact with their manager during any period of absence, this includes providing personal contact details to enable managers to contact them, to be available to attend meetings during normal office hours, normally at their 15 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

16 place of work (an alternative venue may be offered if the work place is deemed unsuitable), to discuss their condition and to keep their manager informed of any changes in their condition affecting their length of absence and/or return to work. 2.9 Employees must inform their manager in advance if they are unavailable to meet for any reason, taking account of exceptional circumstances Employees must request permission in writing from their manager if they intend to go on holiday or be away from their normal place of residence whilst absent due to sickness. The manager should contact the Workforce Department to discuss prior to making a decision. Where appropriate, before the manager confirms any decision advice from the Occupational Health Service should also be sought. Return to Work 2.11 All employees must take reasonable care to facilitate a return to work as soon as possible. This includes not undertaking any other alternative employment unless appropriate and agreed with the Trust (following advice where appropriate), and anything, as defined by the Trust, that could exacerbate or prolong the condition unless the express prior permission of the Line Manager is given in writing. Where an employee submits a Fit Note indicating that with additional support the employee would be fit to return to work, advice is sought from the Workforce Department and/or the Occupational Health Service prior to agreeing to any adjustments to ensure the appropriateness of any adjustments and determine whether or not a risk assessment and or a work based assessment is required When an employee returns to work there must be arrangements in place for the employee and their Line Manager (or designated other) to meet on their first day back to ensure the employee returns to a well-supported, organised working environment. A Return to Work discussion must be undertaken after all periods of sickness absence and a written record completed (available on the Trusts SharePoint site). This discussion will normally be conducted on a one-to-one basis between the manager and the employee The purpose of the discussion is to: a) Confirm the date(s) of absence, establish the reason(s) and determine whether future absence is likely to occur and discuss the employee s fitness for work and whether any action is required to enable them to undertake their duties safely and effectively. b) Update the employee on any relevant work matters that may have occurred during their absence; c) Review the employee s absence record and discuss any points, such as any concerns or patterns to the absence, the amount of days and occasions, and the time-frame over which the particular record has occurred d) Confirm/discuss any additional support / adjustments that may be required or has been arranged 16 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

17 e) Identify what action (if any) is required by the employee and the manager. If formal action is deemed appropriate, the employee will be made aware and this will be dealt with separately via a formal process during which staff have the right to be accompanied f) Complete a stress risk assessment, if the employee has indicated that stress has been a contributory reason to their absence. Sufficient time and support will be provided to complete this process and regular review and monitoring of this assessment should continue following the return to work. g) Ensure that where appropriate, employees are informed of the impact their absence has on the patients/service and/or their colleagues. Phased Returns to Work 2.14 A phased return to work may be implemented, if appropriate, and agreed by the Line Manager, with advice from Occupational Health and where applicable an employee s GP or Specialist. A phased return may be to adjusted duties or working arrangements and will be subject to; a) The employee being assessed by the Occupational Health Service in which it is agreed that phased return is appropriate, of health benefit and would facilitate an earlier return to work. b) Normally a maximum paid duration of 2 weeks (where the phased return is supported by Occupational Health), after which annual leave or flexi time may be utilised or a temporary reduction in working hours implemented. At this point, any reduction in working hours will result in a reduction in paid working hours Where the employee requests a phased return, and this is not recommended by Occupational Health or included in a fit note, employees may use annual, flexi time or a temporary reduction in working hours (with reduced pay) to facilitate a phased return, with the agreement of their line manager Managers must ensure that activity and working arrangements must be clearly defined during the phased period Staff will be expected to return to their normal shift working arrangements following absence due to sickness, before being eligible to work bank shifts or overtime Where a phased return has been agreed, regular review meetings must take place between the line manager and employee. The frequency of such reviews will be determined by the needs of the employee. The review will be documented in writing by the Line Manager and agreed by the employee as an accurate reflection of the meeting. A copy will be provided to the employee. Formal Action 2.19 Where appropriate, formal action may be taken against employees who fail to achieve an acceptable level of attendance. If the unacceptable level of attendance is as a result of persistent short term absence or where absence exceeds the Trust s absence targets, the Formal Attendance Review procedure should be considered: 17 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

18 Triggered Return to Work Meeting This meeting should be combined with the return to work meeting, where the most recent episode of absence has reached a trigger/cause for concern with the manager and employee. The purpose of the meeting will be to: review the employee s record of attendance; explore any underlying medical conditions which may have contributed to the absence; review patterns in absence which may be of concern to the manager; consider a referral to occupational health, if necessary; discuss the employee s role and responsibilities with consideration of any reasonable adjustments, if appropriate. The manager will advise the employee that they will continue to monitor the individual s absence over a three to six month period, in a manner consistent with that of all other employees. The length of the review period will vary dependent upon the individual circumstances of the case. The details of this will be documented on the return to work form and signed by both manager and employee. If there is little or no improvement of the employee s level of attendance during the defined period, the manager will progress the case to a formal Stage One Review Meeting. Where a further trigger has occurred during the review period consideration will be given to proceed to the formal process. If the employee s level of attendance has improved during the defined monitoring period then no further action is required and the individual s attendance will continue to be informally monitored Stage One Review Meeting a formal meeting with the employee s line manager, the member of staff and a Workforce representative. This meeting will be held in light of the fact that the employee has failed to maintain a satisfactory level of attendance. The individual may choose to be accompanied at the meeting by a trade union representative or a colleague employed by the Trust. Friends/relatives are not permitted to attend the actual meeting but they may accompany the individual and wait in a waiting area. The purpose of the meeting will be to: Review of the employee s attendance record during the monitoring period; Confirm the steps taken (if any) to improve levels of attendance; Allow the employee the opportunity to raise any concerns or mitigating circumstances that they consider should be taken into account; Consider if further occupational health support/advice is required; Where necessary set a formal warning period for improvement ranging from 6-9 months dependent upon the case and circumstances Agree clear improvements and expectations of the individual during the monitoring period; Set a review date which will coincide with the end of the monitoring period; 18 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

19 Inform the employee that, if there is little or no improvement by the end of or during the defined review period, a Stage Two Review Meeting will be convened; Where attendance has improved or there have been no further episodes of absence, the individual s attendance will continue to be informally monitored. All discussions must be followed up in writing to the employee Stage Two Review Meeting a formal meeting with the employee s line manager, the member of staff and a Workforce representative. This meeting will be held in light of the fact that the employee has failed to maintain a satisfactory level of attendance. The individual may choose to be accompanied at the meeting by a trade union representative or a colleague employed by the Trust. Friends/relatives are not permitted to attend the actual meeting but they may accompany the individual and wait in a waiting area. The purpose of the meeting will be to: Review of the employee s attendance record during the monitoring period; Confirm the steps taken (if any) to improve levels of attendance; Allow the employee the opportunity to raise any concerns or mitigating circumstances that they consider should be taken into account; Consider if further occupational health support/advice is required; Where appropriate set a formal warning period for improvement ranging from 9-12 months dependent upon the case and circumstances Set a review date which will coincide with the end of the monitoring period; Inform the employee that, if there is little or no improvement by the end of or during the defined review period, a Final Review Meeting will be arranged where the outcome could be dismissal. Where attendance has improved or there have been no further episodes of absence, the individual s attendance will continue to be informally monitored. All discussions must be followed up in writing to the employee Final Review Meeting a formal meeting with a senior manager/general manager, the member of staff and a Workforce representative. The employee s line manager will also be in attendance to provide details and information on the employee s attendance history to date. The individual may choose to be accompanied at the meeting by a trade union representative or a colleague employed by the Trust. Friends/relatives are not permitted to attend the actual meeting but they may accompany the individual and wait in a waiting area. The purpose of the meeting will be to: Provide a review of the meetings and agreed actions that have taken place to date; Review the history of the individual s record of attendance and the impact of their absence upon their colleagues, the department and the Trust; 19 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

20 Discuss the support and actions that have been taken to address the situation; Consider occupational health advice; Allow the employee the opportunity to raise any concerns or mitigating circumstances that they consider should be taken into account. Following the discussion, a decision will be made whereby the employee could be dismissed on the grounds of incapability to maintain an acceptable level of attendance Where the unacceptable level of attendance is as a result of long term absence, consideration should be given to paragraphs 5.19 to 5.22 of the Attendance Management procedure Should the situation arise whereby subsequent sickness absence occurs prior to the attendance at a Formal Attendance Review meeting, advice will be sought from the occupational health department on fitness to attend the hearing whilst absent from work. Should the employee be deemed fit to attend however they choose not to attend the meeting, the employee will be advised that the hearing may proceed in their absence. 3. Occupational Health 3.1 The Occupational Health Service offers confidential and impartial advice and support to assist employees to remain at work or to facilitate an earlier return to work following absence. The Trust reserves the right at any time to refer an employee to the Occupational Health Service for assessment. Managers will discuss the reasons for the referral with the employee and provide them with a copy of the referral document. An employee does not need to be absent to be referred to the Occupational Health Service as referral may be made in order to assist and support them to remain at work wherever possible. 3.2 Following referral to Occupational Health, advice relating to fitness for work and appropriate adjustments will be provided in the form of a written report to the Line Manager, Workforce and copied to the individual employee. Reports can only be released with full informed consent of the employee to which they relate, and formal consent will be sought from the employee at their Occupational Health appointment. 3.3 It should be noted that where employees refuse to attend occupational health or withhold consent to release reports from such, any decision relating to their future employment may be taken by the Trust without the Occupational Health advice being taken into account. 3.4 On receipt of a report from the Occupational Health Service, the Line Manager will determine how to proceed with the matter on an individual basis. The Workforce Department may also be asked to provide advice. Where further clarification relating to Occupational Health advice is required, the Line Manager is encouraged to contact the Occupational Health clinician directly to discuss. 20 of 31 (Date for review 17 July 2020)

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