ABSENCE THROUGH SICKNESS POLICY

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1 ABSENCE THROUGH SICKNESS POLICY June 11

2 Absence through Sickness Policy Introduction This policy is aimed at enabling the Campus to address staff sickness and other absences consistently and fairly by: providing a supportive environment for those members of staff affected by ill-health; balancing the interests of the individual and the operational needs of the Campus in cases of long-term sickness and debility; encouraging and developing a positive culture towards attendance at work with a consequent benefit of reduced rates of absence due to sickness. providing a framework within which cases falling within the scope of the disability discrimination legislation can be more readily identified and supported; Scope and purpose This Policy relates to all employees of Stantonbury Campus. The Campus would not wish staff who are genuinely too unwell to come to work to do so. Staff who are ill will be treated sympathetically and every effort will be made to assist their recovery and safeguard their employment. All staff need to have clear procedures to follow when they are unwell and they should expect the Campus to treat them fairly when they are unable to work. However, it should be recognised that the loss of working days through sickness can have a significant impact on the Campus in terms of the effects on students, colleagues and customers along with the additional cost of arranging absence cover. Repeated sickness absence places additional pressure on colleagues. This policy and the related procedures are intended to help to create the expectation that absence from work should not be taken lightly. As sickness absence impacts directly on colleagues, it should be subject to scrutiny with robust systems to ensure that every absence is justified. This policy outlines contractual sick pay arrangements. However, all staff should be aware that paid sickness leave is not an automatic entitlement and may not be available in the event of a failure to follow the correct procedures which are described in a separate document available to all staff from the HR Office and on the staff intranet. Application of the policy Line managers should monitor staff absence and ensure that staff follow the correct procedures. Line managers should make contact with all staff immediately upon their return to work after any absence and should hold return-to-work conversations after absences longer than three days. Line managers should raise concerns with staff at an informal level as quickly as possible. The procedures set out in this policy and in the associated document will be actioned by the Principal and the HR manager when frequent or persistent absence gives cause for concern and in cases of long-term absence. Frequent and persistent short-term absence due to illness or injury Where the short-term absences of an employee in any 12 month period (excluding long-term absences and authorised absence for holidays, training etc) exceed the average for all Campus staff in that period, the line manager will investigate and will initiate a discussion with the employee. For absence records which give cause for concern, the Principal or a senior manager will:

3 arrange to meet with the employee - who will have the right to be accompanied by a colleague or union representative to investigate the reasons for their absence consider the employee s circumstances sympathetically and act fairly in all cases provide appropriate support through advice, counselling and other means where appropriate, refer the employee to the Campus occupational health provider for medical assessment and recommendations for the employee and the Campus where appropriate, consider whether reasonable adjustments may be made to the role or working pattern or whether suitable alternative employment may be available within the Campus where appropriate, agree targets for improvement and advise the employee that if there is not a sufficient level of improvement in attendance, then the employee may face formal capability procedures due to the impact of the illness or injury upon job performance which may ultimately result in dismissal where appropriate, issue a formal warning about their attendance and advise the employee that they may appeal against any sanctions by following the Campus appeals procedure. Frequent or persistent absence for which no explanation is offered by the employee will be dealt with through the Campus disciplinary policy. Long-term absence through illness or injury Where an employee is absent from work for an extended period due to illness or injury, the following guidelines will be adopted: The HR manager will contact the employee from time to time to ascertain progress and the employee will be expected to notify the Campus of any change in his/her condition. Once the employee has reached 25 working days sickness absence in a 12 month period, the HR Manager will thoroughly investigate the circumstances and may refer the employee to the Campus occupational health provider for a report, the purpose of which is to establish the employee s condition and fitness for work. Further reports may be requested from time to time. For a referral to the Campus occupational health provider to take place, the employee must give their consent in writing and the HR Manager will inform the employee of his/her rights under the Access to Medical Records Act If the employee does not give consent for the medical report, the Principal will inform the employee in writing that any decision as to his/her future employment will be made on the basis of the information available to the Campus. Following receipt of the medical report and if appropriate, the Campus may seek to make reasonable adjustments to the employee s role or working pattern in order for them to return to work or may offer alternative employment. If, after all the above steps have been taken and the occupational sick pay scheme has been exhausted, the employee is still unable to return to work the Campus may consider dismissing the employee on the grounds of ill-health. If dismissal is being considered and, in any case, once the occupational sick pay scheme has been exhausted, the Principal will notify the employee. The employee will have the right to appeal against dismissal by following the Campus appeals procedure. It will be important to show sensitivity and to exercise common-sense when following these procedures, particularly in cases of recurring or chronic illness or hospitalisation, for staff injured at work and for staff with disabilities. In such cases the Principal will seek professional

4 support and advice particularly when establishing the existence of a disability. The Principal will recognise the statutory requirement not to discriminate against a person who has a disability. Under the provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act 1995 disability is defined as "physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse impact on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities". Occupational sick pay scheme In addition to statutory sick pay (SSP), the Campus has a scheme to continue to pay staff who are absent from work through illness. Subject always to the employee following the correct Campus procedures, particularly by providing medical certificates to cover sickness absence, the Campus occupational sick pay scheme will apply to all permanent Campus staff. For all associate staff: o There is a qualifying period of six months satisfactory employment before the sick pay scheme is applicable. o For the purposes of the Campus occupational sick pay scheme, employment is calculated on a rolling 12 month period basis, starting from the anniversary of their joining the Campus. o Progression to the next level of entitlement within the Campus occupational sick pay scheme will be suspended during a period of sickness absence unless there is a sustained return to work of at least one week between periods of absence. For all teachers, the provisions of the national conditions of service for teachers will apply: o The employment year runs from 1 st April to 31 st March. o Where a teacher starts employment after 1 st April, the full entitlement for that year will be applicable. o Where a teacher is on sick leave on 31 st March, no new entitlements will begin until the teacher has resumed work and the period form 1 st April until the resumption of work is regarded as part of the previous year s entitlement. For all employees, the Campus sick pay scheme is as follows: During the first year of service During the second year of service During the third year of service During the fourth and successive years of service full pay for 25 working days, then (after four months service)half pay for 50 working days full pay for 50 working days, then half pay for 50 working days full pay for 75 working days, then half pay for 75 working days full pay for 100 working days, then half pay for 100 working days A pro rata calculation will be made for part-time staff eg a colleague who works three days per week would be entitled to three-fifths of the benefits outlined above ie 15 working days on full pay then 30 working days on half pay in the first year of employment. Occupational sick pay shall include, where appropriate, Statutory Sick Pay and any appropriate deductions. The Principal may exercise discretion for special cases.

5 SICKNESS ABSENCE PROCEDURES These guidelines and procedures supplement the Campus sickness absence policy. Their aim is to provide guidance to employees when they are unable to attend work due to illness or injury. The procedures also provide a framework to assist managers in responding to sickness absence confidently and effectively while ensuring that appropriate levels of support are provided to every member of staff. 1. Individual employees Must report sickness absence promptly according to the procedures established for their area of the Campus, providing reasons for sickness absence and an indication of when they expect to return to work. In the rare event that he/she is unable to call personally, the employee should arrange for a representative to phone on his/her behalf. Must remain in contact with the Campus throughout the duration of the sickness absence, advising of any changes in circumstances regarding their absence and their expected return to work date. Are responsible for providing medical certificates and self-certification forms at the appropriate times. Entitlement to sick pay may be dependent upon these documents. o From 1 st to 7 th calendar day of absence: self-certification required o From 8 th calendar day of absence until return to work: a medical certificate is required Have an obligation to ensure that medical advice and treatment, where appropriate, are received as quickly as possible, in order to facilitate an early return to work. They must also ensure that they do not undertake any activity including other paid or voluntary work that might delay their return to good health and work. Such action could lead to a breach of the employment contract and disciplinary action. Are required to attend an Occupational Health appointment, if requested by the Campus. 2. Line Managers Have primary responsibility for the promotion of good attendance within their team through the mechanisms of team meetings and individual supervision. Are responsible for ensuring that sickness reporting procedures are adhered to (e.g. that certificates are produced on time) and should take action if they are not. Should conduct return to work interviews in line with the Campus guidelines. Should review each employee s sickness absence from time to time and initiate attendance improvement procedures, where appropriate. Should maintain contact at least weekly with staff who are absent through sickness to let them know they are missed, to ensure they receive support and to facilitate their return to work. Should, in cases of long term illness, visit the employee at home, by appointment and with their consent. Report to the HR office and the Health & Safety Manager all sickness absences relating to any workplace accidents or incidents, in line with the Campus accident and incident reporting procedures. 3. Human Resources Staff Will maintain confidential sickness records and associated correspondence relating to individual members of staff.

6 Will provide regular sickness absence data reports to line managers concerning members of their team and management reports, including analysis of overall sickness absence, to the Senior Management Team and the Governing Body. Will support the line manager in managing sickness absence. Will provide advice and assistance on individual cases of sickness absence as requested, including referral to the Campus occupational health provider where appropriate. Will accompany the line manager, in cases of long term illness, to visit the employee at home, by appointment and with their consent. 4. Medical and other appointments Employees should wherever possible arrange appointments outside their normal working hours. When this is not possible, employees should seek to arrange appointments that minimise the disruption to work (eg early morning or late afternoon). Where this cannot be arranged, permission to attend during work hours should be sought and should not be unreasonably refused. Except in cases of emergency, the employee should advise his/her line manager of the proposed time of the appointment as soon as possible and must produce an appointment card or letter if requested. Where there is a series of appointments for regular and ongoing treatment, arrangements should be agreed with the line manager. Disability leave is different from sick leave or annual holiday entitlement. It is most commonly used to allow staff paid time off for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment. Managers are reminded of the need for absolute confidentiality around an employee's disability. Examples of situations where disability leave might be appropriate include: time off to attend annual check-ups medical appointments that occur unavoidably during working hours time off for treatment or surgery, such as chemotherapy, physiotherapy time off for counselling and hospital appointments time off for specific rehabilitation activities such as assistance dog training or sign language training. Time taken for disability leave should always be recorded separately to sickness absence and will not form part of the trigger process. An appointment card or letter must be produced upon request. 5. Pregnancy-related absence Arrangements must be made to enable pregnant women to have paid time-off to keep an appointment to receive ante-natal care. An appointment card or letter must be produced if requested. 6. Illness during approved annual leave When an employee is taken ill during a period of annual leave, provided that a doctor s medical certificate is submitted, the appropriate number of leave days will be restored to the employee s entitlement. Leave that was booked but not taken before the employee was taken ill will also be restored on production of an appropriate medical certificate. 7. Failure to comply with reporting arrangements Failing to comply with the Campus procedures for sickness absence without an adequate explanation may result in suspension without pay during the period of absence and may lead to further disciplinary action. If an employee does not report for work and has not made contact, the Campus should telephone the employee to find out the reason for the absence. If there is concern for the

7 safety of the individual, the line manager (or other suitable person) should contact the named emergency contact. The local police may also be asked to visit the home address. Where it has not been possible to contact the member of staff by telephone, a suitably worded letter should be sent by the HR Manager, expressing concern about the lack of contact and asking the member of staff to make telephone contact on receipt of the letter and to provide an explanation of the reason for the absence/lack of contact and the likely date of return. The letter should also explain that failure to comply with the Campus policy and procedures for sickness absence may result in suspension without pay and/or further disciplinary action. If the member of staff continues to be absent without contact, the HR manager should again write requesting urgent contact. This letter, which should be sent by recorded delivery or delivered by hand, should also inform the member of staff that if s/he does not return to work or provide a valid reason for absence, disciplinary action will commence and may result in dismissal. 8. Review and management of sickness absence All sickness absence will be recorded and monitored by the HR office. If an individual s absence pattern gives cause for concern, a review process will normally be set in motion beginning with a sickness absence review meeting with the individual concerned. Note: It is accepted that in certain instances (eg for a broken leg or post-operative recuperation) a period of absence exceeding the trigger may be required. In such circumstances, at the discretion of the Campus management, a review meeting may not be held. 9. Sickness absence review meeting A sickness absence review meeting will normally be conducted by the HR Manager or another senior manager. Written notice will be given when a member of staff is required to attend a review meeting and a date/time agreed within the next five days. The employee may be accompanied by a colleague or union representative. The meeting should be used as a structured method of communication to: Ensure that the employee is aware that their absence record is giving cause for concern. Ensure that the employee is fit to work. Ascertain whether there are any underlying problems contributing to the absence, either at work or home, or due to disability covered by the DDA and how these may be overcome. Remind the employee of the standard of attendance required and advise the employee of the implications and consequences for the Campus, for colleagues and for the employee - of not meeting those standards. Agree action for the future, setting SMART targets and the next review date. Indicate what the next steps will be if the employee s attendance does not improve. Subsequent meetings will monitor progress and may have a number of outcomes, including: Confirming in writing that attendance has improved to the required standard. Agreeing a further monitoring period and another review meeting date. Establishing that there has been little or no improvement. This may lead to disciplinary action which may result in dismissal.

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