GROUP SICKNESS & ABSENCE POLICY

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1 GROUP SICKNESS & ABSENCE POLICY

2 Sickness & Absence Policy General Principles The following guidance is also a statement of the Group Sickness & Absence Policy operated by the Group. These guidelines are aimed at managing absence in a fair and consistent manner. They are not contractually binding and may be varied or waived depending on the circumstances. All employees have a responsibility to contribute to its effectiveness by being aware of, and implementing/complying with the requirements of the Policy/Procedure. It is the responsibility of each Manager to ensure that each employee is fully aware of his/her responsibilities in relation to sickness and absences. The company recognises that each case is individual and this policy is a guideline on the treatment of sickness and unauthorised absence. Any decisions will be based on its own individual merits, taking into account the contents of this policy. Purpose This procedure is designed to give guidance to colleagues to help manage attendance at work in a fair and consistent way across the Group. We seek to ensure that absence is, wherever possible, kept to a minimum whilst treating colleagues affected by sickness in a sensitive manner. Every effort will be made to assist recovery and safeguard the employment of those who are sick. However, we recognise that sickness absence has a significant impact on the costs of the Group and therefore it needs managing effectively. Reporting procedures It is the responsibility of each employee to ensure that when absent from work due to sickness or absence, they comply with the following arrangements:- On the first day of sickness/absence they notify, or ensure the office or Supervisor is notified, by telephone, at least half an hour before their usual start time they will not be attending for work. An employee or their representative when making such a call, should inform the manager of the nature

3 of the illness/absence, if possible give an estimate of the likely absence and any work-related matters that could be affected by the absence, so the manager can make arrangements for such work-related matters to be covered by other staff. It is the employees responsibility to keep the Group advised of circumstances, which are preventing the employee from attending work, and maintain regular contact throughout the period of absence. Returning to Work When returning to work following an absence, employees must notify their manager or nominated person by 4.30pm the day before they intend to return to work. An employee must not return to work before a certificate of fitness to return has been issued by his/her doctor, where during the period of sickness absence more than one medical certificate was issued or where a single certificate was issued covering a period of 14 or more days. The certificate of fitness to return to work must be submitted on the return to work of the employee to his/her manager. Sickness Monitoring Line managers have the responsibility for monitoring sickness and unauthorised absence amongst their staff. In particular when the following levels of sickness or unauthorised absence have been reached by an individual employee. Line managers must ensure that accurate sickness records are sent to the Human Resources Department on a weekly basis, and where possible a return to work interview should be conducted on the employees first day back at work. Short-term Sickness/Absence a. Where an employee has been absent from work for 10 (certified/uncertified) working days during any 12 calendar month period apart from one continuous absence covering the whole 10 day period. b. Where an employee has been absent (certified/uncertified) on 3 separate occasions irrespective of the length of the total absence, during any 3 calendar month period.

4 Long-term Sickness Absence c. Where an employee has been continuously absent due to sickness for a period of 6 weeks. Notwithstanding the application of the above criteria, if a manager considers that an interview could contribute to the welfare of any particular employee or contribute to the efficiency and effectiveness of the service, an employee may be requested to attend an interview at any time following or during a period of absence. Sickness absence certification No payment can be made for any intervals of sickness absence that are not covered by appropriate certification. The following certification is required: For the first 7 days of sickness absence (including weekends) a Self Certification Form (SC2), Employee s Statement of Sickness Form or doctor s certificate must be submitted to the Group. Thereafter a doctor s certificate (Fit Note) must be submitted within 4 days of issue immediately to your line manager. Failure to do so may result in sick pay being delayed or withheld and disciplinary action may be taken. You must inform your line manager when a sick note/self-certificate expires so that we are aware of your date of return. The Employee s Statement of Sickness Form can be obtained from your line manager and should be completed for all periods of absence including holidays. Where the reason is for sickness, the form should be completed immediately following your return to work. For Operational staff, absence on the grounds of sickness for a period of 24 hours immediately preceding or following a public, statutory or annual holiday will be treated as unauthorised unless supported by a doctor s certificate or authorised Employee s Statement of Sickness Form.

5 Sick pay Certain colleagues are entitled to receive company sick pay when they are absent from work due to sickness. However, your contract of employment will specify any sick pay entitlement if different from the following: Period of continuous service Period of sickness allowance (months) Full pay Half pay Not exceeding 4 months 1 0 Exceeding 4 months but not exceeding 1 yr 1 2 Exceeding 1 yr but not exceeding 2 yrs 2 2 Exceeding 2 yrs but not exceeding 3 yrs 3 3 Exceeding 3 yrs but not exceeding 4 yrs 4 4 Exceeding 4 yrs but not exceeding 5 yrs 5 5 Exceeding 5 yrs 6 6 To qualify for statutory sick pay (SSP) you must be earning enough each week to be paying National Insurance Contributions. We may provide additional benefits over and above any entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay for certain employees; this is determined by your contract of employment. In certain cases payments for sickness absence are not made before the expiry of 3 waiting days. Where this applies it will be explained in your Contract of employment. Periods of sick pay are calculated on a rolling 12 month basis and all payments made are based on contractual earnings. Where you exceed any contractual entitlement to Group sick pay, SSP may apply for up to a maximum of 28 weeks. If you are absent after receiving a formal notification of the time and date of a disciplinary hearing, you may not receive Group sick pay in respect of that period of absence. Our Sick Pay Scheme does not prevent us from terminating your employment prior to the expiry of the entitlement.

6 You will accrue holidays when we are in receipt of a sick note or self-certification. Recovering payments from third parties If absence results from an accident that may result in damages being received, sickness payments are made subject to you agreeing to refund from damages the amount of sick pay or the proportion represented in the amount of damages received. Counselling services A counselling service may be provided through Occupational Health to provide support for your welfare. We may encourage colleagues to use the service as part of our absence management programme. Occupational health During a period of sickness we may ask you to attend a medical examination by an occupational health advisor or independent doctor. Where you refuse to attend, we will have no alternative but to act on the information already available. Access to medical reports In certain circumstances it may be necessary for us to obtain a medical report from your doctor or specialist in order to establish your ability to work or if we have founded concerns regarding the health or welfare of any individual employee. Where we wish to obtain a medical report you will first be asked for your written consent and given your rights under the Access to Medical Reports Act If you withhold this consent this company will have not option but to make decisions based on the information we have at this time. Conclusive GPs report In the event that a GPs report concludes the employee will not be able to return to work in the same capacity or at all, then a decision should be made as to the continuance of the employee s employment. If it is decided that the best way forward is to terminate employment then the employee should be invited to attend for interview.

7 It should be made clear prior to the interview that the employee faces possible termination on the grounds of ill health. The employee may be accompanied by a trade union representative or work colleague. The employee has the right to appeal against any decision made. Inconclusive GPs Report A request will be made to refer the employee to an independent Occupational Physician (usually via Occupational Health), the individual s consultant (if applicable) or an independent consultant nominated by the company for a full medical report and/or examination. Industrial injury/accident If you become incapacitated for work by reason of injury sustained, or disease contracted in the actual discharge of your duties, and specifically attributable to the nature of your duties (and not being wholly or mainly due to or seriously aggravated by your own serious and culpable negligence or misconduct), then payments will be made in accordance with the Group Sick Pay Scheme or your contract of employment, when the following conditions have been complied with: Certification of absence due to industrial disease or accident should be made in accordance with the procedure for reporting sickness. Any accident/incident arising out of, and in the course of employment with us must be reported and recorded properly in the accident report book and an accident form completed within 24 hours, in accordance with the procedures laid down by our health and safety procedures and the HSE s regulations. The accident/incident has been fully investigated and recorded by appropriate management. Where you seek medical advice about an illness that is suspected or alleged to have resulted from an accident/incident or the nature of your own employment, you should report this to your Manager at the first opportunity. In the case of the first and any subsequent absence due to industrial disease or accident, you will be required at any time during the absence, if requested by management, to attend a medical examination by a registered medical practitioner nominated by the Group. In the event

8 that our doctor is not satisfied that the absence is due to an industrial disease or accident, you will have right of appeal to an independent medical referee. Dismissal from the Company on the grounds of ill health The decision to dismiss an employee from the company on the grounds of ill health will always remain a management decision. Medical advice/opinion is given for the purpose of assisting management in making a decision, not making the decision for them. Dismissal If dismissal on the grounds of ill health is identified as the way forward, the company should then issue the employee with written notice to terminate their employment. Such notice should be contractual notice or statutory notice of one week for each continuous complete years of service, up to a maximum of 12 weeks whichever is the greater. A payment in respect of any outstanding holidays should be calculated. The employee has the right to appeal against this decision. Redeployment If redeployment is possible and deemed to be the way forward, there will be no salary/grade protection in respect of redeployment to a lower graded post. The terms and conditions of employment will be those relating to the new post. Any offer of alternative employment made to an employee will be subject to a trial period during which the suitability of the alternative employment shall be sought to be established. This trial period will be a period of 3 months. In the event of the trial period being unsuccessful the employee will be given the appropriate notice to terminate their employment. Prior to an employee commencing alternative employment a medical certificate must be provided by the employees GP confirming their fitness to undertake the duties of the alternative post offered.

9 Monitoring Procedure Line managers will conduct return to work interviews on the 1st day after a period of absence to discuss the colleague s sickness record and assist them on their return. Colleagues need to be aware that unacceptable levels of absence will be considered a breach of this procedure. A record of the interview should be made on Return to Work Form. If a GP or Occupational Health Physician referral is required the form should be sent to the Human Resources Department for action. This form will be returned to you for the employees file. A copy should be given to the employee for their own records. Interviews for both short and long-term sickness/absence should be conducted in a constructive manner. The objective of the interview is to establish the facts and circumstances relating to the employees sickness/ absence and develop a joint remedial strategy, if deemed appropriate. The structure of interviews by their very nature will vary depending on individual circumstances but should include the following:- a. An explanation by the Manager of the reasons why an interview is being held. b. Verification of the dates of sickness/absences and the nature of the illness/illnesses or reasons causing the absences. c. Agreeing, if appropriate, that an improvement in the employees sickness/absence record is necessary d. Identify possible courses of action to obtain such an improvement. Examples of courses of action could be, seeking medical advice/opinion, reviewing the duties and responsibilities of the employees post (if possible), reviewing the working environment, considering if redeployment could be beneficial. e. Agree with the employee future remedial action and a period over which the remedial action will be reviewed. The remedial action and the review period agreed must be confirmed in writing on the interview form. Review taking place at the appropriate time and the necessity for further action being evaluated as a result of the non-improvement over the review period.

10 f. Where there is a serious concern about the level or pattern of absence it may be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure. Some of the above elements apply equally to short-term and long-term sickness absence. Other elements may not be appropriate in the case of long-term sickness absence. However, long-term sickness absence does require additional action and considerations by the Company. If absence exceeds 6 weeks in consecutive working days it will be considered long term. Your line manager will inform the Human Resources Department who will review the absence and advise on an appropriate course of action, the objective of which will be to get you back to work as quickly as possible whilst offering a sympathetic approach. This may include: A home visit/welfare meeting to discuss your absence and seek your views. Counselling services to provide confidential and impartial support. Occupational health advice to provide with medical advice to aid decision making. Offering a phased return to work, which may include temporary light duties (where available). Where a disability is identified within the definition of the Disability Discrimination Act 1996, reasonable adjustments may need to be made in order to support you returning to work, these may include: Changes to your working hours. Changes to your work environment. Changes to your place of work. You may be required to attend a medical to ensure we have all the necessary support to assist you in your employment.

11 Sickness Absence leading to disciplinary action Disciplinary action should only occur when a return to work interview has taken place, as per the above and no significant improvement has taken place over the agreed review period. Disciplinary action should always take place in those circumstances unless exceptional reasons exist. An employee who is in receipt of sick pay (including SSP) is not allowed to undertake any form of paid alternative employment, self-employment or voluntary work. Any breach of this rule will be regarded as Gross Misconduct, which could result in dismissal. Misconduct Unauthorised absence may lead to sick pay being withheld and disciplinary action being taken in accordance with the Group Disciplinary Procedure and may result in dismissal. Any absence without a reasonable explanation and failure to return to suitable alternative duties could result in disciplinary action being taken. Gross Misconduct Disciplinary action may also be considered where there are reasonable grounds for believing that the absence results from a dishonest claim to be ill and is therefore an abuse of the sick pay scheme, or if there are repeated unauthorised absences for which there is not a satisfactory reason. Giving incorrect information on a self-certificate will be dealt with via our Disciplinary Procedure and may be grounds for summary dismissal. If you have been absent due to sickness and it is found you have not been genuinely ill, you will be subject to disciplinary action that could result in dismissal. Withholding sick pay Group sick pay will not be paid for accidents resulting from participation in professional sport, or in cases where the sickness results from or is attributable to your misconduct. Group sick pay will also not be paid when an employee has been notified of a date/time of a disciplinary hearing for other unconnected cases and is subsequently absent from work due to illness.

12 Additional Information 1. Treatment of termination payments Employees on FCC Environment, FCC Environment Services and TWS Group terms and conditions Employees employed on FCC Environment Services Group terms and conditions of employment are entitled to the statutory notice period, together with outstanding holiday entitlement. As their contract of employment specifically states a payment may be made in lieu of notice, the Inland Revenue treats this as a taxable emolument; therefore the normal PAYE deductions would be made on their notice payment. Holidays are also subject to PAYE deductions. Employees on NJC terms and conditions Employees who are employed on NJC terms and conditions have the right to receive notice payments free of PAYE deductions; however holiday payments are subject to the usual PAYE deductions. 2. Employees in the Local Government Pension Scheme Where it is identified that an employee may be dismissed on the grounds of ill health and they are a member of the LGPS their pension may be applied for early on the grounds of ill health. In order for this to be considered they have to undergo a medical with the pension schemes nominated occupational health physician. The new look LGPS in England and Wales introduced a three tier ill health system as from 1 April 2008 for employees who are members of the LGPS. To qualify for a benefit: - the employee must have at least 3 months membership or have had a transfer of pension rights into the LGPS, and - the employer must terminate the employment on the grounds that the employee s ill health or infirmity of mind or body renders him / her permanently incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of his / her employment, and

13 - the employee must have a reduced likelihood of obtaining gainful employment before age 65. Note: gainful employment means paid employment for not less than 30 hours in each week for a period of not less than 12 months. Details will be provided should this be a potential option. Timekeeping You are responsible for attending punctually for work in accordance with the hours defined within your Contract of employment. Persistent lateness will be considered to be a breach of procedures and may result in disciplinary action. You may not leave work prior to your normal finishing time without permission from your line manager. In the event that you require time away from work during the normal working period, you must report to your line manager upon leaving and returning to work. If you are required to clock in you must ensure that you clock in on arrival and clock out on departure from the premises. You must ensure that you use the same clocking machine on arrival and departure from the premises. It is strictly forbidden to clock in or out for another employee. You will only be paid for time worked. Where hourly paid colleagues are late the Group reserves the right to apply the following: More than 3 minutes late colleagues will lose 15 minutes pay thereafter, 6-30 minutes late 30 minutes pay minutes late 45 minutes pay minutes late 60 minutes pay.

14 Persistent lateness, unacceptable levels of absence, and/or unauthorised absence will be considered to be a breach of procedures and will result in disciplinary action.

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