SICKNESS ABSENCE MANAGEMENT POLICY (HR06)

Full text

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

SICKNESS ABSENCE MANAGEMENT

POLICY

(HR06)

General Overview

To be used in conjunction with:

Section 1 –Short Term Sickness Absence Management Procedure

Section 2 – Long Term Sickness Absence Management procedure

Managing Short and Long Term Sickness Absence - Toolkit for Managers

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

This is a controlled document. It should not be altered in any way without the express permission of the author or their representative. On receipt of a new version, please destroy all previous versions.

Date of Issue:

November 2015

Next Review

Date:

November 2017

Version:

5.2

Last Review

Date:

November 2015

Author:

HR

Directorate:

Human Resources

Approval Route

Approved By: JCNC

Date Approved:

JCNC

August 2007

JCNC

March 2010

JCNC

March 2011

JCNC

August 2011

JCNC

June 2012

JCNC

November 2015

Links or overlaps with other policies:

Disciplinary Policy (HR02)

Health and Safety Policy (HS1)

Redeployment Policy (HR07)

A4C Terms and Conditions Handbook Section 14 and Annex Z

Pay Circular (AforC) 2/2008 – Managing Sickness Absence

Partnership review of ill-health retirement, injury benefit and sickness absence in

the NHS – NHS Employers

Amendment History

Issue Status Date Reason for Change Authorised

v2 Approved July 2007 Additions and amendments JCNC v3 Approved September

2008

Additions and amendments JCNC

v4 Approved March 2009 Amendments JCNC

v4.1 Approved March 2010 Amendment to sickness notification form

JCNC

v4.2 Approved March 2010 Additions and amendments JCNC

v4.3 Approved August 2011 Appeal process JCNC

v5 Approved June 2012 Reviewed and in line with SDHCT policy

JCNC

v5.1 Approved Nov 2014 General Review no changes - v5.2 Approved Nov 2015 Statutory change to annual leave

accrual on LTS (section 16.2.1)

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

1. CONTENTS

1.

CONTENTS ... 3

2.

PURPOSE ... 4

3.

SCOPE ... 4

4.

EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT ... 4

5.

TRUST TARGET AND MONITORING ... 4

6.

BRADFORD FACTOR ... 4

7.

TRIGGER POINTS FOR DEALING WITH ABSENCE ... 5

8.

ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES ... 5

8.1

Employees ... 5

8.2

Line Manager ... 6

8.3

Human Resources Department... 7

8.4

Occupational Health Department ... 7

8.5

Staff Counselling Service ... 7

9.

SICK PAY ... 8

10.

NOTIFICATION OF SICKNESS AND RETURN TO WORK ... 8

11.

CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS ... 9

12.

MEDICAL OPINION ... 9

13.

RETURN TO WORK ... 10

14.

PART DAY ABSENCES ... 10

15.

OTHER EMPLOYMENT ... 10

16.

ANNUAL LEAVE AND BANK HOLIDAY ... 11

16.1

Holiday Cancellation ... 11

16.2

Holiday during Long Term Sick Leave ... 11

16.3

Bank Holidays ... 11

17.

DOCTOR, DENTIST AND HOSPITAL APPOINTMENTS ... 11

18.

SICK ABSENCE DURING THE COURSE OF AN INVESTIGATION OR

PENDING A HEARING ... 12

19.

ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES ... 12

20.

UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE ... 12

21.

ROLE OF THE LOCAL COUNTER FRAUD SPECIALIST ... 12

22.

REVIEW ... 13

23.

APPENDIX A - Sickness Absence - Guide for Employees ... 14

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

2. PURPOSE

2.1 The purpose of this policy is to provide an equitable, consistent and sensitive approach to the management of sickness absence. Employees are paid on the basis of satisfactory attendance and performance. While it is recognised that most employees will occasionally have acceptable reasons to be absent from work, all absences cause operational difficulties, undermine efficiency and increase costs. Overall, absenteeism can have a substantial impact on service delivery and the quality of patient care. The aim of this policy is therefore to minimise absence levels across the Trust, while also providing appropriate support to those absent for legitimate reasons, with the aim of assisting their return to work at the earliest opportunity.

2.2 Sickness absence management is a key performance management responsibility for all managers and is part of their Development Review (Appraisal) process. A Toolkit for Managing Short and Long Term Absence has been developed for managers. A guide for staff has also been produced (Appendix A and B as part of this policy), which is issued to all employees with their contract of employment.

3. SCOPE

3.1 The policy applies to all employees employed by Torbay and Southern Devon Health and Care NHS Trust on Agenda for Change terms and conditions of service.

3.2 This policy is not applicable to Temporary Workers, staff not on Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions and staff covered by Medical & Dental Whitley Council conditions of service for which separate provisions apply.

4. EQUALITY IMPACT ASSESSMENT

4.1 The Trust is committed to preventing discrimination, valuing diversity and achieving equality of opportunity. No employee will receive less favourable treatment on the grounds of age, disability, gender reassignment, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy and maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation, or on the grounds of trade union membership.

5. TRUST TARGET AND MONITORING

5.1 The Trust Board has set a sickness absence target. To enable the monitoring of sickness, the Trust will regularly receive regular sickness profiling reports containing comparative volume, costs and trends for discussion and action as appropriate.

6. BRADFORD FACTOR

6.1 To ensure sickness absence is measured consistently the Trust uses a tool called the Bradford Factor. The Bradford Factor is calculated over a 12 month rolling period by using the following formula:

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

S = total number of spells of absence taken by an individual in last 52 weeks D = total number of days of absence taken by an individual in last 52 weeks

For example:

One 10 day absence: 1 x 1 x 10 = 10

Two five day absences: 2 x 2 x 10 = 40 Five two day absences: 5 x 5 x 10 = 250 10 one day absences: 10 x 10 x 10 = 1000

6.2 This policy looks at sickness absence from two perspectives - short-term and long-term. The management of short-term and long-term sickness absence are slightly different and therefore are outlined separately, in sections 1 and 2 of the policy.

7. TRIGGER POINTS FOR DEALING WITH ABSENCE

7.1 The procedure requires a review of sickness absence to be undertaken with the employee when any of the following ‘trigger points’ are reached that indicate unacceptable levels of attendance:

 A cumulative total of 15 calendar days of sickness over 2 or more episodes;

 Four occasions of sickness absence in a rolling 12 month period;  A Bradford score of more than 250 points;

 A consistent pattern of absence which is significant for the service, but fall short of the parameters above, e.g. always taking a Friday or Monday off.

8. ROLES AND RESPONSIBILITIES

8.1 Employees

8.1.1 Every employee, who has a contract of employment with the Trust, has certain obligations and rights with regard to sickness absence. Briefly these are:

 To ensure regular attendance at work

 To be familiar with the arrangements for reporting sickness absence (see section 10).

 To provide appropriate and timely certification of sickness, i.e. within 48 hours of going off sick.

 To maintain regular contact with their line manager or nominated person when absent from work.

 To attend medical appointments, e.g. with Occupational Health, to obtain advice regarding fitness for work, as required.

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

 If on a waiting list for any form of medical intervention, to ensure the individual in charge of their care is aware that they are a member of staff and can be contacted at short notice in the event of a cancellation and that this has been duly noted.

 Staff should be familiar and aware of their legal responsibilities under the Health and Safety at Work Act. The Trust has adopted a general Health and Safety Policy, available on the intranet.

 Staff must report to their line manager, any accident suffered whilst off-duty that causes absence from work and must also provide appropriate certification as required.

 To safeguard their health and not take part in activities or adopt lifestyles that might have an adverse impact on their health.

8.2 Line Manager

8.2.1

The role of the line manager is critical in ensuring the effective application of the Sickness Absence Management Policy. The line manager is responsible for:

 Ensuring that all staff within their department understand and follow the procedures for reporting sickness absence;

 Managing staff absence in accordance with the Trust’s Sickness Absence Management Policy.

 Maintaining regular contact with staff on sick leave. Frequency will depend on the nature of the absence. In cases of short term absence, daily then weekly contact may be required, but in cases of long term absence fortnightly or monthly contact is probably more appropriate;

 Treating all staff who suffer ill-health, sympathetically, fairly and consistently;

 Monitoring the absence levels of staff and taking the appropriate action where necessary;

 Maintaining accurate documentation of absences;

 Informing the Payroll Department of all sickness absences, ensuring the self/medical certificates are received on dates due and that they are processed appropriately;

 Keeping staff who are absent informed of significant changes/events within the Department/Trust;

 Involving Human Resources and Occupational Health in a timely manner;  Where formal referral to Occupational Health is required, supplying

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

 Ensuring that in dealing with sickness absence the department is complying with the Equality Act (2010) in relation to disability and the Trust’s wider policies on equal opportunities and dignity at work, seeking the appropriate advice and support from Human Resources and Occupational Health, as required;

 As far as is reasonably practicable, ensuring that on the first day of the employee’s return a return to work discussion is conducted and the appropriate documentation completed.

8.3 Human Resources Department

8.3.1 Human Resources staff are available to provide advice and guidance on the application of this policy. Human Resources advice should always be sought prior to issuing any formal warning to ensure a consistent approach. A Human Resources representative will attend meetings where formal warnings may be issued.

8.4 Occupational Health Department

8.4.1 The Occupational Health Department offers confidential advice and support to the employee, manager and Human Resources during a member of staff's absence to help facilitate the best way forward. Advice will be based on knowledge of the illness and the employee’s job. In certain circumstances and with the individual’s consent, Occupational Health will seek the opinion of the employee’s General Practitioner and/or Specialist. 8.4.2 In the event of a referral from the Manager, Occupational Health will

respond in writing and also send a copy of the correspondence to the employee.

8.4.3 Employees may also self-refer to Occupational Health by contacting the service directly and in confidence. When individuals self-refer, Occupational Health does not automatically contact the line manager to inform them of the outcome of the appointment. However, where it is in the individual’s best interest for their manager to be aware of current circumstances, e.g. if adjustments need to be made to work duties, work patterns etc, Occupational Health will encourage the individual to consent to their manager being appraised of their situation and any specific recommendations.

8.4.4 Staff can also be referred/self-refer to the Occupational Physiotherapist for any musculo-skeletal symptoms which impact on their working ability and for general ergonomic advice.

8.5 Staff Counselling Service

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

9. SICK PAY

9.1 See Agenda for Change: NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook - Section 14.

9.2 These arrangements are intended to supplement statutory sick pay to provide additional payment during absence due to illness, injury or other disability.

9.3 Employees absent from work owing to illness will be entitled, subject to the following terms and conditions, to receive sick pay in accordance with the scale below. Refer to section 12 of the Agenda for Change: NHS Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook for provisions governing reckonable service.

During the first year of service One month’s full pay and two months’ half pay

During the second year of service Two months’ full pay and two months’ half pay

During the third year of service Four months’ full pay and four months’ half pay

During the fourth and fifth year of service

Five months’ full pay and five months’ half pay

After completing five years’ of service

Six months’ full pay and six months’ half pay

9.4 The definition of full pay will include regularly paid supplements including any recruitment and retention premia, payments for work outside normal hours and high cost area supplements. Sick pay is calculated on the basis of what the individual would have received had he/she been at work.

9.5 After investigation, consultation and consideration of other alternative posts, where appropriate, and where there is not a realistic prospect of the employee returning to work within a reasonable timeframe, the Trust will have the option to terminate employment before the employee has reached the end of the contractual paid sick absence period.

10. NOTIFICATION OF SICKNESS AND RETURN TO WORK

10.1 If an employee is too ill to come to work, or falls ill whilst at work and can no longer attend the workplace, they must inform their line manager. This will typically comprise of a telephone call to the line manager, at least one hour before the employee is due to start work, or as specified locally. The line manager will acknowledge the employees sickness, offer support and start a record of their absence (appendix 1 – toolkit). Line managers may also find it useful to record sickness on an attendance calendar (appendix 2 - toolkit).

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

10.3 Employees should also inform their manager when they are fit to return to work, regardless of whether it is a day the employee would normally work or not. For example, if an employee is sick on a Friday, and does not work weekends, but is fit for work on the Saturday, they should report this to their manager in the normal way. If the manager is not there a message should be left. This should be recorded as one day of sickness. If however an employee is sick from Friday to Monday and returns to work on the Tuesday, this would be recorded as four days’ absence.

11. CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

11.1 When sickness absence lasts up to seven calendar days, the employee must complete a self-certificate form (appendix 3 - toolkit). Alternatively, a SC1 form, which is available from Doctors Surgeries, Health Centres, Social Security Offices and other public places, may be submitted. The line manager will complete a notification of sickness absence form (appendix 1 - toolkit) when an employee informs them of their absence.

11.2 A self-certificate must be sent to the employee’s line manager by post unless an immediate return to work is anticipated, in which case it can be delivered personally, by hand. In either circumstance the appropriate manager must receive the self-certificate within eight calendar days of the first day of sickness.

11.3 If an employee is subject to the formal review process for the management of short-term absence consideration may be given to the withdrawal of the right to self-certification. Any costs incurred for the provision of a medical certificate will be reimbursed by the Trust.

12. MEDICAL OPINION

12.1 Managers may, at any time, require an employee absent from work due to illness to attend an appointment with a medical practitioner to obtain a medical opinion regarding their fitness for work. Furthermore, staff do not need to be off sick to be referred by their manager for a medical opinion. The Trust will meet the cost of any such appointment. If an employee does not consent to a referral, decisions about their employment will be made without the benefit of the professional medical advice and guidance that could be provided by a medical practitioner.

12.2 In some cases your manager may suggest referral to Occupational Health, to help provide you and your manager with support and advice. Your manager will contact you and ask you to complete a consent form (appendix 4 - toolkit). The consent form should be returned to your manager who will send a copy to Occupational Health along with their referral paperwork (appendix 5 – toolkit).

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

13. RETURN TO WORK

13.1 As much notice as possible must be given to the appropriate manager when you anticipate returning to work.

13.2 On returning from every absence spell you should meet informally with your manager to discuss any relevant matters, and to sign any necessary documentation for sick pay etc. This meeting will typically occur when you report for duty.

13.3 A return to work discussion (appendix 7 - toolkit) is an informal meeting between a member of staff and their line manager that takes place when the member of staff returns, or plans to return to work following sickness absence.

13.4 The Trust is committed to the return to work discussion because:

 It is good practice to meet with all staff members on any occasion they are returning to work after sickness absence;

 It enables informal discussion where any relevant matters can be discussed and the appropriate paperwork completed;

 It can be a valuable way of picking up early indications of any specific problems such as those related to a newly diagnosed disease or difficulties in the work or home environment;

 It provides an opportunity to outline support that can be offered to staff that might reduce sickness absence incidence via family friendly working arrangements, short notice annual or unpaid leave etc.

13.5 Following a long period of absence it is recommended that the return to work discussion takes places as soon as the likely return to date has been identified. This may help the employee to prepare for their return and enables the manager to arrange any additional support required.

14. PART DAY ABSENCES

14.1 Part day absences, i.e. less than half the shift, arising from an employee attending work but then going home due to illness will not normally count towards trigger points, although any subsequent days’ absence following the day of going home will. However if there is a pattern of part day absences the manager should contact Human Resources for advice, as this may be reasonably considered as an unacceptable pattern of absence warranting a formal review.

15. OTHER EMPLOYMENT

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

16. ANNUAL LEAVE AND BANK HOLIDAY 16.1 Holiday Cancellation

16.1.1 If illness results in the cancellation of a holiday, the employee may substitute sick leave for annual leave on production of a medical certificate (from the first day of sickness), provided the normal procedure has been followed for reporting sickness absence on the first day of illness.

16.2 Holiday during Long Term Sick Leave

16.2.1 “Employees continue to accrue statutory annual leave whilst sick and where unable to take it in the current holiday year due to sickness absence are entitled to carry the statutory annual leave entitlement (20 days pro rata, minus any leave taken in that leave year) forward into the next year.” 16.2.2 It is recommended that an appropriate proportion of the individual’s accrued

leave is used to facilitate a phased return to work.

16.2.3 It is not normal practice for an employee to take holiday whilst on long-term sick leave. Requests to do so should be by agreement with the manager and in consultation with Occupational Health. This includes pre-booked holidays. If a holiday is taken without the agreement of the line manager and Occupational Health have advised that it will impede recovery, the absence will be treated as unauthorised and therefore unpaid.

16.3 Bank Holidays

16.3.1 If sick on a bank holiday employees will not be entitled to an additional day off.

17. DOCTOR, DENTIST AND HOSPITAL APPOINTMENTS

17.1 Routine appointments should be arranged outside of working hours. Where this is not possible, appointments should be made at the beginning or end of a working day to minimise disruption.

17.2 At the manager’s discretion, time off work may be granted for emergency and/or urgent medical, dental and/or optical appointments, in accordance with the Special Leave Policy (Special Leave Policy (HR26) – section 4).

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

18. SICK ABSENCE DURING THE COURSE OF AN INVESTIGATION OR PENDING A HEARING

18.1 Whilst it is acknowledged that participating in an investigation or hearing can be stressful for everyone concerned, it is necessary to manage the situation when individuals are sick during the course of an investigation or hearing they are involved in. In cases where there is a need to interview an individual who is absent through sickness and declines to attend, an immediate referral will be made to the Occupational Health Department for an opinion on whether they are fit to be interviewed or attend a hearing.

19. ACCIDENTS AND INJURIES

19.1 Sick pay is not normally payable for an absence caused by an accident due to active participation in sport as a profession, or where contributable negligence is proved.

19.2 An employee who is absent as a result of an accident is not entitled to sick pay if damages are received from a third party. Employers will advance to an employee a sum not exceeding the amount of sick pay payable under this scheme providing the employee repays the full amount of sickness allowance to the employer when damages are received.

19.3 It is important to follow the appropriate Accident Reporting policies and procedures if an employee is injured or incapacitated whilst at work. In certain circumstances an employee who sustains an injury at work may be eligible under the NHS Injury Benefit Scheme to claim NHS Temporary Injury Allowance. Further information is available from the NHS Injury Benefits Scheme Policy (HR39).

20. UNAUTHORISED ABSENCE

20.1 Failure to report absence in line with the local procedures for the area of work will be treated as unauthorised absence and therefore unpaid, unless there are exceptional circumstances preventing the employee from doing so. In these circumstances the line manager should be contacted at the first available opportunity to explain the reasons for the non-compliance.

20.2 If sick certificates are not provided, sick pay will not be paid. Reinstatement of sick pay from the day the certificate is received by the manager will be subject to compliance with keeping in touch provisions. Backdated medical certificates will not normally result in backdated pay.

20.3 Failure to follow the correct absence notification procedures may result in disciplinary action. This includes non-attendance at meetings, Occupational Health appointments, not keeping in contact or providing medical certificates.

21. ROLE OF THE LOCAL COUNTER FRAUD SPECIALIST

21.1 The Trust is committed to maintaining a culture of integrity, openness and honesty. It is therefore also committed to the elimination of any fraud within the Trust and to the rigorous investigation of any such cases.

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

suspicions of fraud. An example of fraud is the misuse of sick leave, ie working elsewhere.

21.3 If any individual suspects that an employee is falsely claiming sick pay in the first instance they should contact the Local Counter Fraud Service on 01803 653328. 21.4 In all instances where there is a suspicion of falsely claimed sickness absence the

Trust’s Local Counter Fraud Specialist will investigate it. All documentation relating to an employee’s sickness may be used as evidence in the event of an investigation.

22. REVIEW

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

23. APPENDIX A - Sickness Absence - Guide for Employees

WHATTODOIFYOUARESICK

The checklist below and appendix B summarises what to do if you are sick and describes the essential elements that apply to all staff.

Checklist for all employees:

 Promptly report the start and end of any absence spell (see section 10 - ‘Notification of Absence’ for further details).

 Complete necessary sickness certification (see section 11 - ‘Certification Requirements’ for further details).

 Keep in regular contact with your manager whilst the absence continues, e.g. daily initially, then weekly/fortnightly as agreed with your manager.

 Attend meetings with your manager, as requested.

 Participate in an informal return to work discussion with your manager after every absence spell. Generally this discussion will occur when you report back on duty. However, following a long period of absence it is recommended that that return to work discussion takes place as soon as the likely return date has been identified to help you prepare for your return and for your manager to identify if any further intervention is required.

Depending on individual circumstances, your manager may:

 Have further discussions with you if your absence record causes specific concern.

 Seek professional advice from Human Resources, Occupational Health and other medical/welfare advisors to enable informed decisions to be made regarding the management of your absence.

 Develop a return to work action plan to facilitate your return to work.

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HR06 – Sickness Absence Management Policy – General Overview

Version 5.2 (November 2015) Page 15 of 15

24. APPENDIX B – What to do if you are sick

No Has your sickness ended? No At start of sickness

Contact your manager on the first day of sickness, prior to time you are due

to start work. Inform them of the reason

for your sickness and, if possible, how long you

expect to be absent. Does sickness exceed seven days? Yes No

You must obtain a Medical Certificate (usually from your GP) which you are required to send/post immediately

to your manager. In certain cases this certificate maybe requested from the first

day of absence.

A Self Certificate of Sickness must be completed if you are absent for up to 7 calendar days. This must be received by your manager within eight days of the start of the sickness. This form is required to justify STATUTORY SICK PAY, INDUSTRIAL INJURIES BENEFIT etc. You can also use form

SC1, obtainable from your Doctor or Social Services.

Return to work as soon as you are well enough to do so. Report to your manager, who will informally discuss the absence with

you and, if you have not already done so, submit/complete a Self Certificate.

In some cases referral to Occupational Health may be suggested to help provide you with support and advice. Your manager

will contact you and ask you to complete a consent form. The form should be completed and returned to your manager who will send a copy to Occupational Health.

Decisions about future employment are based on available information. If your absence extends over a longer period, further medical certificates will be required, continuously covering the absence.

You will be notified of your appointment date and any further actions following attendance. Is referral

required?

Remain in regular contact with your manager, (eg weekly) reviewing your situation

as necessary Yes Refer to Capability Process - and other policy documents

.

In certain cases, further support maybe provided,

such as referral to Occupational Health or temporary redeployment

The Employee Assistance Programme is also available. Yes

s

1) Notification of Absence

2) Referral to Occupational Health

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