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Sickness absence

Line managers must ensure that all employees are aware of the procedure for notifying and certifying sickness absence in their departments.

It is essential that at all Coronavirus (COVID-19) related absences are entered via the MyView account as soon as they are reported. 

In terms of recording the absence on My View, the codes that are to be used can be found here.

An employee who is sick and cannot attend work should:

  • Contact their line manager by phone on the first day of absence before or just at the start of the normal working day.

Exceptions to the telephone calls will be hospital emergencies where it is permitted for someone else to make contact on the staff member’s behalf.

Employees will be asked to provide the following information:

  • The nature of the illness
  • The anticipated length of absence
  • If the absence is due to an injury sustained in work - provide full details
  • Details of any outstanding or urgent work that needs to be dealt with during the absence.

During a period of sickness absence managers and employees should agree to contact each other for regular updates which may be daily in the first week of absence and weekly from the date of the ‘fit note’.  Notes of these discussions will need to be documented using the employee contact during sickness absence template (.doc)

Sickness absence reporting procedure guidance is available for Managers and Employees:

Employee   Manager

You are responsible for ensuring that you follow the correct certification process. All absences must be covered by certification.

  • Self certification can be used for the first 7 days only
  • Medical certification - ‘fit note’ for absences of 8 calendar days or more

When to complete the Self Certification:

  • For absences of between 1 to 7 consecutive calendar days a self-certification statement of absence form must be completed upon your return to work.
  • If you are on long term absence, the self-certification must be completed:
  • During the Return to Work Interview; or
  • During the Employee Support Meeting (whichever is the earliest
  • meeting)
  • Sent to you to complete and return if Employee Support Meeting undertaken by phone

How to complete the Self-Certification Form:

For Cleaning and Catering Services – please complete a paper copy self-certification form

Download: Self Certification Statement of Absence Form (.doc)

All Departments/Schools – please complete the self-certification form via Resourcelink/My View: Resourcelink/My View

Guidance on how to complete the Self Certification is available: When and How to complete the Self-Certification Statement of Absence Form (.doc)

When to submit the ‘fit note’:

  • For absences in excess of 7 calendar days employees must obtain a ‘fit note’ from their GP or hospital.
  • A copy of which should be sent to the line manager on a timely basis.
  • If the absence continues further statements must be supplied, as necessary, to cover all periods of absence.

What happens to a ‘fit note’ once received?

Line managers are required to keep all certification fit notes in a locked filing cabinet for a period of 3 years after the tax year when the absence occurred.

For more information on ‘fit notes’ please visit .gov.uk.

Non Submission of ‘Fit Note’

If during a period of sickness absence no contact is made with the Line Manager, no leave is booked and no medical certificate is submitted, the Line Manager will need to liaise with their relevant HR Officer and it may be necessary to send the letter below to the employee.

Download: Template for Non Submission of 'Fit Note'/Unauthorised Absence letter (.doc)

Non Submission of 'Fit Note'/Unauthorised Absence

Any period of absence not supported by a medical certificate will be considered as unauthorised absence.

Managers are responsible for ensuring that all sickness absence is accurately recorded in a timely manner by inputting the sickness absence information on My View.

When the absence is recorded electronically an automated email confirming the details of the sick leave will be sent to the employee.

Accurate recording and monitoring will help to identify any patterns of absence that may be of concern, for example Mondays/Fridays or days off following leave/Bank Holiday. If a pattern of absence occurs the Line Manager will be required to meet with the employee to explain or comment on the pattern.

Sickness Absence Reporting Procedure Guidance

 

The two types of sick pay that apply to staff are Occupational Sick Pay and Statutory Sick Pay. Entitlement to sick leave and pay are calculated on a pro-rata basis for part time employees.  Failure to follow notification and certification procedures may result in cessation of Occupational Sick Pay and Statutory Sick Pay.

Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) – What is it?

Non Teaching Staff -OSP

This payment is made under the terms of your contract and your conditions of service. OSP takes into account the number of days of sickness absence taken within the previous 12 months period and is determined by length of service on the first day of a period of sickness absence. Therefore the entitlement during a particular absence is determined by deducting from the full entitlement all sickness absence which has occurred in the preceding 12 months, e.g., if sickness starts on 6th July then you look back to the previous 7th July.

Length of Service Scale of allowance
During 1st year of service 1 month full pay and (after 4 calendar months service) 2 months half pay
During 2nd year of service 2 months full pay and 2 months half pay
During 3rd year of service 4 months full pay and 4 months half pay
During 4th & 5th year of service 5 months full pay and 5 months half pay
After 5 years service 6 months full and 6 months half pay

Teaching staff – OSP

A teacher’s entitlement to salary while on sick leave is set out in the Burgundy Book.

Entitlement to sick pay is dependent on continuous service with one or more Local Education Authorities. The entitlement year runs from the 1st April to 31st March with a new entitlement starting each year on the 1st of April. Where a teacher is on sick leave on 31st March in any year, no new entitlements shall begin until the teacher has resumed duty and the period from 1st April until the return to duty is regarded as part of the preceding year’s entitlement.  Only working days are used for calculation purposes.

When a teacher moves to another employer, any sick pay paid during the current year by the previous employer shall be taken into account in calculating the amount and duration of sick pay payable by the new employer.

Length of Service Scale of allowance
During 1st year of service Full pay for 25 working days and after completing four calendar months’ service, half pay for 50 working days.
During 2nd year of service Full pay for 50 working days and then half pay for 50 working days
During 3rd year of service Full pay for 75 working days and half pay for 75 working days
During 4th & subsequent years Full pay for 100 working days and half pay for 100 working days

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) - What is it?

SSP is payable if you are absent due to sickness for four days or more provided you qualify and are not excluded for any of the specified reason. It is payable at a rate of £95.85 (2020/21) per week and for a maximum period of 28 weeks. Where an employee is receiving full pay, SSP will form part of that sick pay and is offset against the OSP – no one will receive more than their normal pay.

When employees move on to half pay, SSP will be paid on top of the half pay until the period of sickness absence reaches 28 weeks. This payment is again offset to ensure that no one receives more than their normal full pay.

Payroll will send a Statutory Sick Pay Leavers Statement (SSP1) form to you if:

  • You are excluded from an entitlement to SSP
  • You have received the full 28 weeks payment.

Following receipt of the SSP1 employees will need to liaise with the Jobcentre Plus to establish any entitlement to Employment and Support Allowance.  Further information on Statutory Sick Pay can be found on gov.uk.

Withholding Occupational/Statutory Sick Pay

There are instances that may result in the Authority withholding occupational sick pay – please see point 8 of the Sickness Absence Policy. Withholding Occupational Sick Pay and/or Statutory Sick Pay applies to all categories of staff.

The Line Manager will notify the employee in writing of the decision to stop payment of Occupational Sick Pay and/or Statutory Sick Pay. This letter will be separate to that of the Attendance Management Meeting letters and must include the right to request that the decision to withhold occupational sick pay be reviewed.

For example the Sickness Absence Policy, section 8 states:

‘Occupational sick pay will not be made if occupational health medical professionals advise a return to work within a specific timeframe and the employee does not return to work without GOOD REASON’.

Right of Appeal

Corporate Staff

The employee has the right to request that the decision to withhold occupational/statutory sick pay be reviewed by the Director or nominated representative with advice from the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management) or nominated representative.

The request to review a decision must be made by writing to the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management) within 7 calendar days of the date of the receipt of the decision in respect of the withdrawal of occupational/statutory sick pay, and must set out the reasons for the request for a review. The Director or nominated representative will review the decision, with advice from the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management) or nominated representative, and confirm the outcome to the employee without undue delay.

Staff Directly Employed by Schools (e.g. Teachers, Teaching Assistants, Administrative Staff etc)

The employee has the right to request that the decision to withhold occupational/statutory sick pay be reviewed by the Appeals Panel of the Governing Body.  The request to review a decision must be made by writing to the Clerk to the Governing Body within 7 calendar days of the date of the receipt of the decision in respect of the withdrawal of Occupational/Statutory Sick pay, and must set out the reasons for the request for a review.

Overpayment of Salary During Periods of Sickness Absence

The Authority will try to ensure that overpayments do not occur as a result of the payment of both Occupational Sick Pay and Statutory Sick pay ending. However, should an overpayment occur the Payroll Department is authorised to deduct a minimum of 10% of an employee’s gross monthly salary to recover the overpayment and will continue until the full amount has been retrieved.

Employees can by contacting Payroll, agree to pay larger amounts or settle the amount in full.

Notification of Reduction of Sick Pay

The Absence Team will write to employees at least 28 calendar days before pay is reduced to half/exhausted due to sickness absence wherever possible.

An employee who is absent due to sickness and is in receipt of reduced contractual pay will accrue full membership in the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS) and will pay contributions on actual pay received. The Authority will pay contributions based on contractual pay.

An employee who has exhausted all contractual pay and is in receipt of no pay will not pay any contributions but will continue to accrue full membership in the LGPS.  The Authority will continue to pay contributions based on Assumed Pensionable Pay, calculated on what the employee was paid prior to going on to reduced pay.

The employee does not need to pay back any additional payments to cover a period of unpaid sick leave as their contributions are deemed to have been paid in full.

Teachers Pension Scheme

Absence due to sickness is pensionable, provided the member is receiving at least half pay. Where a member is in receipt of less than half pay (e.g. nil pay) during a period of sick leave, they do not pay contributions and do not accrue pension benefits.

An employee, who falls sick while on holiday, must inform their line manager immediately in order for this time to be regarded as sick leave. It is also necessary to submit a GP’s ‘Fit Note’ confirming that they would not have been fit to attend work during the affected period of their annual leave.  For further information please see the Annual Leave and Holiday Pay Policy – Sickness and Holiday.

Employees who are ill during public holidays cannot re-claim this day as annual leave.

Taking Annual Leave During Sick Leave

Where an employee is absent due to long term sickness they may be able to use annual leave if they wish to do so. Use of annual leave during sickness absence is voluntary. A request for leave can be submitted in writing to the Line Manager.

If the employee takes annual leave while they are on sick leave they will receive their normal holiday pay rather than occupational sick pay for the days nominated. If the employee qualifies for statutory sick pay, it will continue to be paid during their annual leave. SSP will be offset against holiday pay.  Line Managers will need to ensure that Annual Leave is recorded for the employee by processing the leave days on the web based self service system ‘My View’ or documenting the leave taken on the relevant manual records.

Line Managers must advise the Absence Team in order for appropriate adjustments to be made to the employees pay.

Accrual of Leave During Periods of Sickness Absence

The first 4 weeks of continuous sickness absence will accrue annual leave at contractual holiday entitlement.  Any period of continuous sickness absence in excess of 4 weeks will accrue annual leave at the 5.6 weeks’ or 28 days (20 days plus 8 days bank holiday) statutory rate provided for under the Working Time Regulations 1998.  Any entitlement to annual leave will be pro rata for part time employees.

An Employee can carry over 28 days leave (to include bank holidays) if they have been unable to take the leave due to sickness absence in the leave year in which it accrued.

If the employment is terminated before an employee returns from sick leave, the individual will receive a payment in lieu of any accrued untaken statutory holiday entitlement.

Occupational Health (OH) provides support and advice for the health of staff and healthy working conditions. OH is made up of a team of medical experts who will discuss issues in confidence and with impartiality. OH work with managers and HR and aim to provide factual and unbiased advice on the medical aspects of health and safety at work.

Referrals to Occupational Health

The reason for referral and the process should be fully discussed with the employee before the referral is made. Visit the OH section of the intranet for more information on OH fees and the process in making a referral.

Costs to the Employee

From 1st January 2015 the Government introduced a tax exemption of up to £500 (per year, per employee) on medical treatments recommended to help employees return to work. This exemption will apply to treatments recommended by health professionals within the Occupational Health services.

If an employee has been, or is likely to be, absent from work through sickness or injury for a period of at least four weeks and medical treatment, such as physiotherapy, is recommended to assist the employee to return to work, the Authority may pay medical costs of up to £500 per tax year without giving rise to a taxable benefit for the employee.

Any payment above the £500 limit will be liable for tax and national insurance contributions on the excess.

When to Refer to Occupational Health

Managers may make referrals to Occupational Health at any time during an employees’ service.  It is most likely this will be during an employee’s sickness absence or following a period of occasions of absence.  Employees do not need to be absent due to sickness in order for a referral to be considered. There will be occasions when employees are referred in order to get additional support through the Occupational Health Unit in order that future absence can be prevented.

A referral for an employee can be considered in the following circumstances:

  • employees have hit a formal trigger
  • employees have submitted a ‘Fit Note’ advising a continuous absence for over 28 calendar days
  • employees are experiencing psychological ill health
  • employees have a musculo-skeletal injury or condition
  • following a work related injury
  • identify/review reasonable adjustment

Why is a referral necessary?

The purpose of a referral is to obtain an objective medical assessment of an employee’s health in the context of their employment. This information will aid the Authority in providing the most effective support during a period of absence in order to facilitate a return to work.

How to make a referral

It is necessary for the manager to complete an Occupational Health online referral form.

Receipt of Occupational Health Report – What Next?

The employee has the right to review the Occupational Health Report prior to the report being released to the Line Manager or Manager making the referral. Only with your informed consent your report will be sent to you, your line manager and the HR Attendance team. All OH staff will at all times maintain strict confidentiality.

The Line Manager will:

  • Meet with the employee to discuss the Occupational Health Report content.
  • Ensure secure storage of the Occupational Health Report in accordance with the Disability Discrimination provisions of the Equality Act 2010.

Non Attendance at Occupational Health Appointments

Occupational Health will advise the line manager of instances where an employee has not attended an Occupational Health appointment.  Occupational Health will charge the department for appointments not kept by the employee.

Section 8 of the Sickness Absence Policy states:

‘Occupational Sick Pay will not be paid if an individual fails to attend Occupational health meetings and / or meetings with manager without due reason or advanced notification.  Future occupational sickness payments could be affected if an employee fails to attend without good reason an occupational health meeting and / or any therapy sessions or other initiatives agreed by the Authority to assist the employee’s wellbeing without good reason’

Where there has been one instance of an employee not attending an Occupational Health appointment without good reason, the line manager will need to discuss the reason for non attendance with the employee.

Where there has been more than one occasion of not attending an Occupational Health appointment, it may be necessary to withhold Occupational Sick Pay (OSP). Line Managers should seek advice from Human Resources.

In instances where Occupational Sick Pay is withheld it will be necessary to notify the employee in writing. This letter will be separate to that of the Attendance Management Meeting letters and must include the right to request that the decision to withhold occupational sick pay be reviewed. Line Managers should seek advice from Human Resources.

Line managers will be responsible for advising Payroll of the decision to withhold OSP. An email must be sent to the absence team and contain the following information – name, employee number, date of OSP suspension and reason for the suspension.  Please note that the payment of OSP will be suspended until the Line Manager informs and requests the removal of suspension via email to the absence team.

Case Conferences

On occasion it may be deemed appropriate by the line manager to hold an individual Case Conference. This will be in addition to the formal procedures for managing sickness absence. The employee may be accompanied by a workplace colleague or trade union representative if they wish. A case conference will not be necessary in all circumstances and each case should be considered on an individual basis.

The Line Manager will liaise with Occupational Health who will invite the employee, relevant occupational health professionals, and HR to jointly discuss how the employee’s sickness absence can be managed, what additional support can be provided and any other options available to help the employee return to work or improve their attendance.

The outcome of the Case Conference will be confirmed to the employee in writing by the Line Manager, and a copy sent to HR. 

Medical Appointments

There is no right to paid time off to attend planned doctor, dentist or hospital appointments. Employees must try to make appointments outside or at the end of their normal working hours/shift time to minimise any disruption.

Employees who are participating in the flexitime scheme may request flexitime to attend. Employees who are not participating in the flexitime scheme may request time off at the discretion of their manager, and may work back the time at a later date or use annual leave to cover the absence.  Line Managers may ask to see appointment cards/letters.

Pregnancy-related sickness absence should not be taken into account when looking at trigger points.

An employee who is absent due to a pregnancy-related illness during the four week period prior to her due date will be required to start her maternity leave, and will be entitled to occupational maternity pay and not sick pay.

If the reason for the sickness is unrelated to the employee's pregnancy, then the absence should be dealt with in line with the sickness absence policy and procedure.

An employee may be covered by the Disability Definition under the Equalities Act 2010. This does not mean that the employee is excluded from the procedures within the Sickness Absence Policy.

The Authority as an employer will be required to make reasonable adjustments in order to support employees who may be covered by protected characteristics. If recommended and adjustments are put in place the sickness absence procedure should be followed as it would for all employees.

Advice on specific cases can be sought from HR and Occupational Health.

We must ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of our employees.

Employees have a duty to take reasonable care to avoid injury to themselves or to others through their work activities and cooperate with the Authority and others in meeting statutory requirements.

If an employee is absent due to an accident or injury at work, normal sick pay provisions will apply. The Line Manager will need to follow procedures for the reporting of the injury or accident.

Line Managers reporting sickness using the Sickness Absence Return form  will need to complete section 10 (Absence due to work related accident or illness) by placing a ‘Yes’ in the column.

Line Managers who report sickness using the web based system ‘My View’ will need to inform the absence team in order to ensure that the absence is recorded as an industrial injury Where an employee receives compensation from a third party, reimbursement of sick pay will be repayable to Carmarthenshire County Council.

Work related stress and stress-related illnesses are not reportable as industrial injury.

The Health and Safety Executive website explain:

‘This is because the causes of stress-related ill health are usually extremely complex and linking conditions to specific types of work activity would be very difficult. This does not mean that stress cannot be raised with the enforcing authorities nor does it mean that a complaint cannot be made which could result in an investigation. While work related stress is not reportable, employers have duties to assess and manage the risk of stress-related ill health arising from work activities.’

Health and Safety Executive: Stress – Frequently Asked Questions

If the reason for sickness absence is noted as ‘work related stress’ on the employees ‘fit note’ it will be necessary to contact HR/Occupational Health for advice and guidance.  

The procedure and process for managing short- term, usually intermittent absences and long- term absence will be the same.

A sickness absence trigger points and review procedure flow chart details the process to follow.

When to hold an Employee Support Meeting?

The Employee Support Meeting can be invoked in a number of instances:

  • Employees who have met 3 occasions of absence in a rolling 12 month period
  • Employees who have had 10 days or the equivalent of 2 weeks’ absence ( 4 days for someone who works a 2 day week)
  • If an absence record is beginning to form an unacceptable pattern e.g. absences abutting annual leave
  • If an employee is moving towards another formal trigger
  • If historic absences for previous years have been taken at similar dates, i.e., school holidays, international match days, Christmas etc.

This meeting can be an extension of the return to work meeting and there is no requirement to give notice but some notice may be useful in order that all parties feel they get the best from the meeting.

The meeting should be conducted on a ‘one to one’ basis but telephone conversations may be appropriate when an employee is on continuous absence or works in a different location to their line manager.

Purpose of the Employee Support Meeting

The meeting is for managers and employees to explore their concerns, and to provide support at an early stage with the aim of assisting employees back to work or to achieve better attendance at work in the future.

Download: Employee Support Meeting template

Formal Trigger Points

Following the Employee Support Meeting if the employee has further sickness absence which may consist of short-term intermittent or one continuous period of absence, the line manager will then invoke the formal stage of the sickness absence procedure.

The formal triggers are:

  • 4 occasions in a 12 month rolling period;
  • The equivalent of 3 normal working weeks absence, continuous or otherwise, in a 12 month rolling period;
  • Or any other unacceptable pattern of absence e.g. frequent occasions of absence abutting annual leave or bank holidays.

The Right to be Accompanied at Formal Meetings

An employee has the right to be accompanied by a recognised trade union representative or a work colleague from the Authority.

What Notice is Required to Attend a Formal Meeting?

An employee will be given 7 calendar days’ written notice of the meeting.  If the employee or accompanying representative is not available the meeting may be postponed but re-arranged within 5 working days of the original date. 

An invite letter will be sent to the employee advising of the date, time and venue and giving the required notice to attend.

Download: Template 1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting Invite Letter (.doc)

The purpose of the 1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting will be as follows:

  • To review the employee’s attendance record
  • To give the employee the opportunity to discuss any problems or raise any concerns
  • To decide whether a medical referral is necessary
  • To set a period over which absence levels will be monitored
  • To inform the employee that if attendance does not improve within the set  monitored period, a 2nd Management Attendance Meeting will be held

Outcome

The outcome of the 1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting will be confirmed to the employee in writing by the Line Manager, and a copy sent to HR.

Download: Template 1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting Outcome Letter (.doc)

Review Period Following 1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting

A review period of up to 3 months will apply from the last date of sickness absence.

Improvement in Attendance

If an improvement in attendance is noted following completion of the review period then the individual will be removed from the Formal Attendance Management stage. However, a further review period of 6 months will apply and if the employee hits the formal trigger again within the next 6 months they will re-enter the Sickness Absence Procedure at the 1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting. 

The Line Manager will need to send a letter detailing the above.

Download: Letter advising – close review period 1st stage, monitor for 6 months (.doc)

As advised above, if the employee has an absence during the extended 6 months review period and continues to hit the sickness absence trigger points the sickness absence process will continue with the employee re-entering at the 1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting.

Downloads:
Template: 1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting (re-opened) (.doc)
Template: Outcome Letter –  1st Stage Attendance Management Meeting (re-opened) (.doc)

No improvement in Attendance 

If after the ‘review period’ the employee’s sickness absence fails to improve then the manager will invoke the 2nd stage Attendance Management Meeting.  Line Managers will need to check that an employee continues to hit the sickness absence trigger points before continuing with the sickness absence process.

An invite letter will be sent to the employee advising of the date, time and venue and giving the required notice to attend.  The Line Manager may be accompanied by another manager or HR Advisor at this meeting.

Download: Template: 2nd Attendance Management Meeting Invite Letter (.doc)

The purpose of the 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting is as follows:

  • To review the employees attendance record during the relevant period
  • To review the steps taken to support the employee in achieving the required level of attendance
  • To give the employee the opportunity to discuss any problems or raise any concerns
  • To discuss any medical advice that has been received
  • To consider any recommended reasonable adjustments or redeployment
  • To decide whether a further medical referral is required
  • To set a period over which absence levels will be monitored
  • To issue a warning informing the employee that if their attendance does not improve a final Attendance Management Meeting will be held and their continued employment may be at risk.

Outcome

The outcome of the 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting will be confirmed to the employee in writing by the Line Manager, and a copy sent to HR.

Download: Template: 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting Outcome Letter  (.doc)

Review Period Following 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting

A review period of up to 3 months is put in place from the last date of sickness absence.

Improvement in Attendance

If an improvement in attendance is noted then the individual will be removed from the Formal Attendance Management Review stage. However, a further review period of 6 months will apply and if the employee hits the formal trigger again within the next 6 months they will re-enter the Sickness Absence Procedure at the 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting.

Download: Letter: Close review period at 2nd stage, monitor for 6 months (.doc)

As advised above, if the employee has an absence during the extended 6 months review period and continues to hit the sickness absence trigger points the sickness absence process will continue with the employee re-entering at the 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting.

Download:

Template: 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting Re-opened Invite Letter (.doc)
Template: 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting outcome of reopened letter (.doc)

No improvement in Attendance

If after the ‘review period’ the employees’ sickness absence fails to improve then the manager will invoke the 3rd stage Attendance Management Meeting.  Line Managers will need to check that an employee continues to hit the sickness absence trigger points before continuing with the sickness absence process. 

2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting - Right of Review (Corporate Staff only)

An employee has the right to request that the decision of the 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting is reviewed by a Director or nominated representative with advice from the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management) or nominated representative.

The request to review the decision must be made in writing to the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management) within 7 calendar days of the date of the outcome letter. The employee must set out their reasons for the review request.

The Line Manager will acknowledge receipt of the request to review the decision following the 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting.  The employee will be asked to consent to the release of Occupational Health Reports to the relevant individuals to review the case.

Download: Template: Review following 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting (.doc)

The Director or nominated representative will review the decision with advice from the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management) or nominated representative and confirm the outcome in writing to the employee without undue delay.

Staff employed directly by schools, have no right to request a review following the decision of the 2nd Stage Attendance Management Meeting.

An invite letter will be sent to the employee advising of the date, time and venue and giving the required notice to attend.

Download: 3rd Stage AMM Invite Letter (.doc)

                  3rd Stage Attendance Management Meeting Outcome Letter (.doc)

                  3rd Stage Attendance Management Closed Review period Letter (.doc)

                  3rd Stage Attendance Management Meeting invite Letter (Re-opened) (.doc)

                  3rd Stage Attendance Management Meeting Outcome letter (Re-opened) (.doc)

The Line Manager may be accompanied by another manager or HR Advisor at this meeting.  The employee will be informed in advance in the invite letter that the outcome of this meeting may be dismissal on the grounds of ill health capability. When considering a final decision on ill health capability it is important that you have an updated medical report from an Occupational Health Doctor.

In all cases when dismissal on ill health capability is being considered the Director or nominated representative should be informed and advice sought from a HR Advisor in advance of this meeting. 

The purpose of the 3rd Stage Attendance Management Meeting is as follows:

  • To review the employees attendance record during the relevant period and if relevant, the previous 3 years attendance record will be taken into consideration
  • To review the steps taken to support the employee in achieving the required level of attendance
  • To give the employee the opportunity to discuss any problems or raise any concerns
  • To discuss any medical advice that has been received
  • To inform the employee whether they will be dismissed on the grounds of ill health capability

If at the 3rd Stage Attendance Management Meeting the decision is not to dismiss then the same principle will be in place as at the other stages.

It is important to consider all options in order to retain the employee at work, such as reasonable adjustments, flexible working, redeployment and any other solution to facilitate a return to work.

However, if the employee is deemed unfit for work by Occupational Health a decision may be taken at this meeting to dismiss the employee.  If relevant, the previous three years attendance record will be taken into consideration.

If termination of employment is appropriate this will be confirmed in writing by Human Resources.

Right of Appeal

Corporate Employees

An employee has the right to appeal following a health capability dismissal and should submit a letter to the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management) within 14 days of the date of the outcome letter, stating the grounds of appeal.  It will be necessary to acknowledge the appeal request – a template letter is provided below.

Employees Directly Employed by Schools

The right to appeal following a health capability dismissal will be in writing to the Clerk to the Governors of the school governing body within 7 calendar days of the date of the outcome letter and must set out the grounds for appeal. It will be necessary to acknowledge the appeal request – a template letter is provided below.

Downloads: Template: Letter acknowledging appeal and requesting authorisation to use Occupational Health correspondence (.doc)

Appeal Panel

Corporate Employees

The appeal panel will consist of a Director or nominated representative and the Assistant Chief Executive (People Management) or nominated representative and their decision is final.

Staff Employed Directly by Schools

The Appeals Committee of the Governing Body will consider the appeal. There is no further internal right of appeal following the decision taken at the end of this stage. 

Notice Period

An employee who is terminated on the grounds of ill health will be served notice and will be paid their normal pay during the notice period.

Non Teaching Staff

The Authority will give one week’s notice to terminate the contract of employment during a probationary period. Following the probationary period, the minimum period of notice to which an employee is entitled is as follows:

  • One week's notice if the employee has been employed for one month or more, but for less than two years
  • Two weeks' notice if the employee has been employed for two years
  • Add one additional week's notice for each further complete year of continuous employment, up to a maximum of 12 weeks. For example if an employee has worked for 5 years then they are entitled to 5 weeks' notice.

Youth and Community Workers notice requirements:

  • Two months notice if less than 9 years continuous service with the same employer.
  • One week for each year of continuous service if 9 years or more but less than 12 years with the same employer.
  • Twelve weeks if 12 years or more continuous service with the same employer.

Teaching Staff

A teacher’s employment may be terminated only at the end of any school term, i.e. 30th April, 31st August and 31st December. The school term dates are noted below:

  • Autumn Term: September 1st to December 31st
  • Spring Term: January 1st to April 30th
  • Summer Term: May 1st to August 31st

Notice dates

Term Teacher Head Teacher
Autumn 31st October 30th September
Spring 28th February 31st January
Summer 31st May 30th April

All teachers should receive a minimum of two months’ notice and in the Summer term three months, terminating at the end of the school term as defined above.

A teacher who has been continuously employed for more than eight years is entitled to receive additional notice of one week per additional year of service to a maximum of twelve weeks.

All head teachers should receive a minimum of three months’ notice and in the Summer term four months, terminating at the end of the school term as noted above.

A return to work interview (RTWI) must be conducted by the line manager when a member of staff returns from a period of absence and recorded on the Return to Work Interview Form. This is irrespective of the length of absence. The meeting must be held in private and be handled in a sensitive, professional and competent manner. Guidance is available to assist you in completing the RTWI form – How to Complete the Return to Work Interview Form

The Return to work interviews should be seen as an opportunity to openly discuss any health and other associated problems in a supportive way with a view of addressing issues at an early stage and improving attendance at work.

Recording Return to Work Interview Date

It is the responsibility of the Line Manager to record the return to work interview (RTWI) date as follows:

For managers who input sickness via ‘My View’

  • The date can be input on the relevant sickness screen provided that the sickness entry for that period has not been submitted.
  • If the sickness has already been processed it will be necessary for the line manager to contact the Absence Team via email providing the date of interview and requesting the updating of the employee record.

For managers who submit a sickness absence return to the Absence Team

  • The RTWI date must be noted on the form (section 6) for processing.

Guidelines for a Return To Work Meeting

The line manager should conduct a return to work interview in order to:

  • Welcome the member of staff back to work
  • Ensure the member of staff is fully fit to return to work
  • Identify the cause of the absence
  • Find out if they have a disability and whether the provisions of the Equality Act 2010 apply 
  • Identify and address any problem (work-related or otherwise) that may be causing or contributing to the absences
  • Confirm the details of an agreed return to work based on advice from Occupational Health
  • Confirm any adjustments to the workplace/hours/duties
  • Update employees on any news while they were off

How to prepare for a return to work interview

  • Ensure you have the right information
  • Check current and previous absences, has the employee reached a trigger point or are they approaching one
  • Establish any trends or patterns of absence
  • Think about how you would respond to any requests, e.g., flexible working
  • Familiarise yourself with policies
  • Be prepared to discuss the employees absence in detail

Return to Work Interview Discussion

This discussion must be held on the first day the employee returns to work or as soon as possible thereafter. The discussion will be held on an informal basis and the line manager will complete a Return to Work Interview Form which will be signed by both the manager and employee. The content of the return to work discussion will vary according to the individual but may include the following:

  • Explain the purpose of the return to work meeting
  • Try to determine the cause of the absence if not already clear
  • Establish if their sickness is work-related and whether there are an health and safety issues you need to address
  • If the individual is approaching or has reached a trigger point, explain that this is the case and what the next action will be
  • Could any recommended Occupational Health adjustment be put in place in order to reduce or eliminate absence
  • Are there any other problems contributing to the absence
  • Agree a shared action plan

Phased Return

In cases of long-term sickness absence Occupational Health may recommend the employee returns to work on a phased basis. The purpose of a phased return to work is to rehabilitate the employee to their full duties and gradually build back up to undertaking their normal working hours. 

The details of the phased return as recommended by OH will be agreed between the line manager and employee with consideration given to the needs of the service. A phased return will be for a maximum period of four weeks and may take a variety of forms, including:

  • Working only on certain days of the week
  • Working a reduced number of hours
  • Undertaking restricted duties for a period of time 

Following a period of long term sickness absence where the Occupational Health Advisor has not recommended a phased return and the Line Manager has some concerns then the matter should be re-referred to Occupational Health in order to ensure that no adverse affect on the health of the employee is anticipated. 

Sickness Recording During Phased Return

Medical certificates will not be required for the phased return to work period as the employee will no longer be on sick leave and sick pay will not apply.

Reviews During Phased Return

The Line Manager should review the employee’s progress on a weekly basis and should they recognise that the employee is unlikely to be able to resume their normal working hours and duties before the four week period expires then a further referral to Occupational Health will be required in order to ascertain the individual’s fitness for work.

Payment during Phased Return 

The employee will be paid in full up to a maximum of four weeks during a phased return to work period. If a phased return is agreed for a period longer than four weeks, the additional period will need to be managed by using, for example, annual leave/flexi/unpaid leave/temporary reduction in hours etc. 

Reasonable Adjustments

An employee may need adjustments to be made upon their return to work. Such adjustments can include the following:

  • Agreed flexible working hours
  • Minor adjustments to duties
  • A reduction in working hours
  • Adjustment to the way work is organised
  • Workstation adjustment - the provision of new or adapted equipment

It is the responsibility of the Line Manager to ensure that all reasonable adjustments have been implemented and effectiveness assessed before proceeding through further stages of the sickness absence policy.

The Equalities Act 2010 places a clear legal obligation on employers to make reasonable adjustments to the working conditions/duties of disabled staff. 

Redeployment

If the implementation of ‘reasonable adjustments’ will not enable an employee to return to their current position the Line Manager will work with HR and the employee to consider a suitable alternative vacancy. This is a reasonable adjustment under the Equalities Act. 

Where Occupational Health recommends redeployment the employee will be placed on the redeployment register for an initial period of 4 weeks. The employee will be supported appropriately to look for vacancies which match their skills, knowledge, experience and competencies.

If suitable alternative employment is not found within the 4 week period the Line Manager and HR advisor will meet with the individual to give notice of termination on the grounds of ill health capability. The employee will remain on the redeployment register for their full notice period.

Medical Suspension 

We have a duty to take all reasonable steps to ensure employee health and safety. This means that it may be necessary to medically suspend an employee from work pending medical assessment if there may be particular risk to health. The decision will be based on a risk assessment.  If an employee is suspended on medical grounds they will be entitled to full pay. The suspension should be reviewed upon receipt of the assessment from Occupational Health. However, if the employee is offered other suitable work and do not accept it they may lose the right to be paid.

Non Teachers

In order for a decision to be made about the entitlement to an ill health pension it is necessary to obtain a certificate from the Independent Registered Medical Practitioner (IRMP) qualified in Occupational Health Medicine.

Employees who are dismissed on ill health grounds can be referred to the (IRMP), to consider whether or not their pension benefits can be awarded immediately.

To qualify, employees must have at least 2 years total membership or have transferred previous pension rights into the Local Government Pension Scheme (LGPS).

It will be necessary for HR to liaise with the pension section before referring an employee to the IRMP in order to check that the individual meets the eligibility criteria. It is also necessary to establish whether the employee is a deferred pension member, details of which will need to be included on the Ill health retirement certificate sent to the IRMP.

An employee will be informed by HR of this process if their employment is terminated on the grounds of ill health.  They will be asked to give consent for Occupational Health to provide the IRMP with their medical details and if necessary, their GP and Consultants name in order to collate further medical evidence.

If the employee wishes to apply for release of their pension on the grounds of ill health capability HR will complete section 1 of the ill health certificate and forward this together with the GP consent form and consent form for release of records to Occupational Health.

Where applicable, Occupational Health will send an invite letter to the employee to attend an appointment with the IRMP following receipt of all medical information requested.

The Independent Registered Medical Practitioner (IRMP) will certify whether the employee as a result of ill health or infirmity of mind or body is:

  • permanently incapable of discharging efficiently the duties of the employment that they have engaged in; and whether an employee is:
  • NOT immediately capable of undertaking any gainful employment (paid employment for NOT less than 30 hours per week for NOT less than 12 months).

The IRMP will also assess whether the employee is eligible to receive an enhancement to their pension benefits, dependent on the degree of illness.  Further information on the three tier arrangement can be found on the Dyfed Pension Fund website.

We will make a decision on the award of ill health benefits based on the medical certificate completed by the IRMP.  If, however, the employee is not satisfied with the outcome, they will be informed of their right to appeal against the decision using the Internal Dispute Resolution Procedure (IDRP) under the LGPS regulations.

Non receipt of GP Medical Report

Occupational Health will chase up the medical report on a regular basis.  If following 3 months, no medical report is received from the GP; Occupational Health will seek to establish the reason for non receipt.  The GP may advise that they have scheduled a number of appointments with the individual for a consultation in order to provide the medical report and they have failed to attend. As a result they are unable to provide the medical report.

It is up to the employee whether they attend the GP appointment and there may be instances when the employee will choose not to attend.  If this is the case it will be necessary to write to the employee detailing the situation. The employee should be given the opportunity to contact to discuss or respond to the letter.

If following 3 months, no contact is made and no response is received to the letter sent, the employee pension record will be deferred as of the date of termination.  

A letter will be sent to the employee notifying them of this.  The HR Officer supporting the manager will notify the Pension section. The Pension Section will write to the individual who will be given 6 months from the date of receipt of the letter to appeal. Further information and guidance is available on the Dyfed Pension Scheme website.

Teachers

Teachers who are dismissed on ill health grounds are responsible for making an application for ill health retirement to Teacher’s Pensions.  To qualify, a teacher must have two years service.  The application forms for ill health retirement can be downloaded from the Teacher's pension website.  

The teacher will need to complete the ill health retirement application form and the Authority and Occupational Health Advisor should complete the medical information form to provide evidence of the ill health. If Occupational Health consider the application does not contain enough medical information to enable the application to be fully considered they will provide the applicant with the opportunity to consider if there is additional information that can be provided.

The forms should be sent to Teachers Pensions together with any additional medical evidence that the member wants to include. Teachers’ Pensions will consider the application and the Authority and teacher will be notified of the decision.

If ill health is granted and the teacher is still actively teaching, arrangements must be made for this to cease immediately. The Authority will provide details of the member’s pensionable service and salary from the date of their last submission to Teachers’ Pensions, up to the last day of pensionable service.

If the application is accepted then there are two levels of ill health benefits that may be granted. The levels depend on which of the following conditions are satisfied:

  • permanently unable to teach but are able to do other work - In this circumstance applicants  could receive immediate payment of their  accrued benefits or
  • permanently unable to teach and unable to do any other work - In this circumstance applicants  would receive an enhancement based on half of the service they could have completed before reaching their Normal Pension Age (NPA) and their salary at retirement.

Where a member’s condition is serious and their life expectancy is less than a year, their pension can be paid as a one-off lump sum of approximately five times the initial pension. The member needs to request this when making their application for ill-health retirement to ensure that their request is correctly considered.

From 1st April 2015 if a teacher applies for ill health retirement within two years of leaving pensionable employment and there is evidence they left for the same medical reasons as their original application, they will be treated as though there are still in-service. This is to ensure that members are not disadvantaged if they have a slow to develop or difficult to diagnose condition.

Employees who fail to follow the Sickness Notification and Reporting Procedure may lose the right to Occupational Sick Pay and Statutory Sick Pay.

Employees will be given the right to have the decision reviewed if occupational sick pay and statutory sick pay is withdrawn.

Sickness absence that is not reported in accordance with this procedure will be regarded as unauthorised unpaid leave.

Employees who consistently fail to follow this procedure without good reason or who fail to attend medical referrals/appointments may be subject to formal disciplinary action.

Abuse of the Sickness Absence Policy

If there is clear evidence of abuse of the sickness absence policy the line manager should advise the employee that this will be investigated and may become a disciplinary matter.

Sickness Absence Reporting Procedure Guidance

Certification Requirements

Recording and Monitoring Sickness Absence

Occupational Health/Medical Advice

Managing Sickness Absence

Decision to Dismiss

Role of the Companions

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Page updated: 22/09/2020 12:21:27