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The Stages of Sickness Absence

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. 

Page updated: 09/09/2021 10:52:21