Sickness & Absence Policy

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1 Sickness & Absence Policy Policy Statement Peapod Pre-School recognises the importance of the health and well-being of all our employees and is committed to providing good working conditions and health and safety standards. It is the Pre-School s practice to support all employees who are genuinely sick and unable to come to work and to provide a clear, fair and consistent policy for managing short and long-term sickness and absence, whilst recognising that all cases must be dealt with on an individual basis. Key Principles 1. Peapod Pre-School recognises that everybody is sick or subject to emergencies from time to time, however, regular attendance at work is a contractual requirement. 2. Short-term absenteeism refers to a series of illnesses that are often unconnected which result in frequent, short periods of absence. 3. We recognise that occasions do arise when people are away from work on a longterm 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 would normally be classed as at least six weeks continuous absence. 4. This procedure applies to ALL staff within the Pre-School except for employees in their probationary period. 5. In accordance with the Pre-School Equality Policy, this procedure will not discriminate, either directly or indirectly, on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage/civil partnership, pregnancy/maternity, race, religion or belief, sex, or sexual orientation, trade union membership, or any other personal characteristics. 1

2 General Points 1. The Pre-School s procedure for managing absence MUST be followed. It is the responsibility of every employee to report any absence and only in exceptional cases should this procedure be carried out by someone else on their behalf. 2. If an employee knowingly gives any false information or makes false statements about their sickness it may be treated as misconduct and may result in disciplinary action being taken. In proven cases of gross misconduct it could lead to dismissal (e.g. absent on sick leave and working elsewhere). 3. Employees will not be entitled to an additional day off if they are sick on a statutory holiday. 4. The Pre-School reserves the right to request a Doctor s Certificate for periods of absence of less than seven days in cases of short-term persistent absence. Where a cost is incurred, this will be reimbursed by the Pre-School. 5. Any employee who unreasonably fails to comply with this policy and procedure may have their sick pay withheld. 6. The Pre-school has the right to dismiss employees whilst they are receiving sick pay entitlement. Any decision to dismiss will be supported by medical advice. Employees who are dismissed are entitled to receive the full amount that would be equivalent to their sick pay entitlement, plus the relevant notice and leave entitlement. 7. Where appropriate, and with the agreement of the employee, the Pre-School may seek a medical report from the employee s GP or Consultant. Written permission will be gained from the employee first. Employees have the right under the Access to Medical Reports Act 1988 to see their own medical reports before it is given to the Pre-School and to query the contents in it. 2

3 Employee Responsibilities Reporting Sickness If you are unable to attend work due to sickness it is your responsibility to: Contact the managers at the earliest opportunity so that cover can be arranged. Provide a reason for your absence and if possible the anticipated length of absence. Provide details of any work which needs to be covered urgently. Keep your managers informed of your progress and the likely date of return, if the period of sickness continues. Report directly to the managers on return from sick leave. Comply with your managers request to take care of your health generally and comply with health and safety regulations. Sickness Certification Procedure If absent you are required to comply with certification arrangements as follows: Length of Sickness Absence For sickness up to 7 days: If sickness extends beyond 7 days: Your responsibility as an employee Complete a self-certification on the first day of your return to work. The Certificate will be signed by the managers and subsequently will be kept in the employee s personnel file. Provide a doctor s statement of fitness to work certificate promptly to the manager, by no later than the tenth day of absence, covering the absence from the eighth day. Further medical certificates must be submitted to give continuous cover for the period of absence. If the doctor s medical certificate does not specify the period of absence covered, it will be classed as covering a period of seven calendar days only. Return to Work Interview On returning to work, employees will be required to attend a return to work interview with their manager to discuss their absence. The discussion should allow for an exchange of information and be as frank and open as possible as this will prevent any misunderstandings concerning the nature of the absence. This will also enable the manager to discuss any assistance that may be given to enable an employee to return to work or prevent further absence occurring. A record of the interview will be kept by the manager. Register of Absence As part of our Health and Safety requirements, all absences (including children) will be recorded on a register of absence. This is so that we can check if there are any potential outbreaks of a particular illness; we may notify all users of the Pre-School accordingly. 3

4 Serious illness In order to meet our obligations under Food Safety and Health and Safety Legislation, it is very important to let the managers know if you are suffering from or have been in contact with a carrier of any serious illness, if it is: contagious infectious likely to cause food poisoning. Short-Term Persistent Absence Monitoring and Consultation The managers record and monitor absences from all employees. If the amount of time being taken off for illness is giving cause for concern, the managers will discuss this with employees at the return to work interview. Continued Absence If the absence is the consequence of an underlying medical condition then medical advice would be sought to identify any reasonable adjustments or support that the Pre-School can provide. Disciplinary Action Continued non-attendance may result in disciplinary action being taken if no underlying medical condition can be identified. This may be in the form of either verbal, first written or final written warning, and could ultimately lead to dismissal. As part of this process employees will be given the opportunity to improve their attendance. Long-Term Absence Peapod Pre-School recognises that on occasion employees may be unable to attend work for extended periods due to ill-health, therefore any action taken will vary according to individual circumstances. Continuous absence of six weeks or more is considered to be longterm. Consultation and Discussion In cases of long-term absence the managers will arrange to stay in touch with the employee and conduct regular care and concern interviews to discuss possible courses of action should the absence continue; (these interviews will be recorded, a copy of which will be sent to the employee concerned). Employees may choose to be accompanied by a work colleague or trade union representative. The manager may also choose to be accompanied by a Director. If employees are too ill to travel managers may choose to conduct a home visit at a mutually convenient time. Medical Advice 4

5 In cases of long-term absence, regular medical assessments must be sought. Employees must make themselves available to attend medical referrals. Returning to Work Wherever possible the Pre-School will make reasonable adjustments to the employee s job, so that they can return to work on a permanent basis. To establish the most effective way of doing this the Pre-School may seek further medical advice. This may include a phased return to work, or by allowing the employee to return to work on a part-time basis and receive their full pay. This will be for a maximum period of four week; after that the employee will only receive pay for the hours worked. Ill-Health Retirement Should the medical opinion indicate that an employee is permanently unfit, employees may have the option for applying for early retirement on the grounds of ill health, in line with the provisions of their pension scheme. This option should be discussed with individuals in full at the appropriate time. Resignation At any time during this process an employee may choose to resign from their employment. They are required to give their contractual notice and any outstanding accrued holiday entitlement will be paid in lieu. Dismissal on the Grounds of Capability Should the dismissal of an employee be identified during the final care and concern meeting as the only appropriate option (i.e. all other options as outlined above have been investigated and found to be inappropriate) a formal capability review meeting must be held with the employee in question and their manager to fully consider the situation again. The employee has the right to be accompanied by a work colleague during the meeting. Following the meeting if the employee is dismissed, they will be given a letter confirming the reason for dismissal, the date of dismissal, their right to appeal, any payment in lieu of contractual notice and any other outstanding payments to which they are entitled e.g. annual leave. Sick Pay Employees who have worked at Peapod Pre-School for at least 6 months will be entitled to Enhanced Sick pay if absent due to sickness or injury. The following details Peapod Pre- School s Sick Pay procedure: Employees are entitled to a maximum of 5 days Enhanced Sick Pay during every sick pay year, (the sick pay year begins on 1 September and ends on 31 August). The managers keep a record of all sickness absences; employees will no longer be eligible for Enhanced Sick Pay, as soon as their 5 day entitlement has been paid in any one sick year. Enhanced Sick Pay is calculated according to the employee s basic rate of pay and their normal working hours on the relevant day(s) of absence as outlined in the employee s contract. 5

6 Enhanced Sick Pay includes Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) or other benefits to which the employee may be entitled. There is no further entitlement to pay for any absence due to illness or injury, other than SSP if the employee is eligible. Medical and Dental Appointments We prefer you to make appointments with your doctor, dentist or hospital outside working hours or at the beginning or the end of the working day. Where this is not possible, please speak to your manager to agree a mutually convenient time give at least 48 hours notice. You will not be paid during any absence from work for doctor, dentist or hospital appointments. Data Protection All information relating to an individual s absence will be handled in line with Data Protection principles and will be used purely to carry out the management of their employment. Reviewed by Date Reviewed by Date 6

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