The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Employment Policies and Procedures
‘Employee Wellbeing Policy ’
Incorporating Absence Management Procedure
Version No.: 11.0
Effective Date: 01 April 2012
Expiry Date: 31 March 2015
Date Ratified: 21 March 2012
Ratified by: Executive Team
This policy has been developed to enable the Trust to manage its obligations assisting its employees to maintain their physical and mental health and wellbeing.
The policy applies to all employees of the Trust
3.1 The aim of the policy is to describe the commitment of the Trust to employee health, the responsibilities of managers and others to supporting employee
wellbeing in its broadest, holistic sense, and the Trust’s commitment to addressing individual issues.
3.2 The Trust is committed to providing a rewarding working environment where employees are fully motivated to contribute to the delivery of the highest quality healthcare and achieve job satisfaction. The objective is to create a workplace which foster’s personal responsibility and engagement to contribute to the achievement of the Trust objectives.
3.3 Every employee of the Trust is expected to attend work on the days they are required for duty and to perform their duties to the highest possible standard. The Trust recognises that employees may need to take time off work due to ill health, or receive appropriate health-related support and assistance to enable them to fulfil their role effectively.
The Absence Management Procedure is outlined in Appendix A.
3.5 The Trust will take whatever steps are reasonably practicable and use available information about employee absence to help inform decisions on what action to take to maximise attendance at work. This will include:
• regular review and action of reports on sickness absence, accidents and incidents;
• return to work interviews following absence;
• acting on the outcome of risk assessments/ ‘work place assessments’ and Health & Safety Audits;
• acting on the findings of the annual Staff Attitude Survey;
• continuation of the ‘Improving Working Lives’ initiative and investment in fitness facilities
• working with the Occupational Health Service that also incorporates staff support services such as Physiotherapy, Smoking Cessation, Counselling and Psychology to provide an integrated employee wellbeing service to support good attendance at work
• developing health education programmes and promotion initiatives to raise awareness of health and lifestyle impacting on mental health and wellbeing and the concept of a healthy lifestyle. A number of programmes are
available from the Occupational Health Service.
4 Duties – roles and responsibilities
4.1 The Executive Team is accountable to the Trust Board for ensuring Trust-wide compliance with policy.
4.2 Directorate managers and heads of service are responsible to the Executive Team for ensuring policy implementation.
4.3 Managers are responsible for ensuring policy implementation and compliance in their area(s).
4.4 Staff are responsible for complying with policy.
4.5 Staff Representatives
5.1 Employees are responsible for managing their own health and wellbeing. This will be evident through adopting positive health behaviours (e.g. in relation to diet, alcohol consumption or smoking) to ensure they are fit to meet the
requirements of their role, and informing the Trust if they believe their work or the working environment is becoming difficult to manage. It is important to
emphasise that only by sharing such information that the organisation can
treated in confidence. Health information disclosed to the Occupational Health Service will be treated as medical information in accordance with the Medical Records Act 1988.
5.2 All employees will be encouraged to participate in communication activities and support the Trust in identifying and making improvements to the working
environment. Employees are given the opportunity to participate in audits and surveys to provide such feedback to the Trust.
5.3 Where an employee is absent due to ill health, they must not undertake anything, as defined by the Trust that could exacerbate or prolong the condition.
6. Line Managers
Managers will be expected to implement measures to minimise risk to employee wellbeing, and will be expected to be familiar with the content of this policy. Managers will be expected to understand how they can support the creation of an appropriate working environment by ensuring;
• a good match between individuals recruited to perform a job and the requirements of that job;
• the working environment is assessed to remain appropriate and fit for purpose; • employees receive appropriate training, supervision and support at work, and
work is allocated appropriately between team members;
• they are available to enable employees to approach them with concerns about their job and how to resolve these;
• employees receive feedback on their performance and are kept updated with developments at work and share an understanding of how this may impact on their jobs and workloads;
• employees have an appropriate level of authority and control over their work
7. Human Resources
7.1 The Human Resources Department is expected to develop appropriate policies and procedures to facilitate the wellbeing of employees, enable line managers to support their employees, and liaise as appropriate with relevant professionals to support employees to attend work and maintain good physical and mental health.
Managers will be required to attend appropriate training provided by the Trust to enable them to meet their responsibilities in regard to employee wellbeing.
8. Occupational Health
8.1 The Occupational Health Service has a responsibility to support the Trust in promoting, maintaining and improving the physical and mental well being of employees. For this reason staff may at any time seek advice from the
Occupational Health Service if they feel they have a health or associated problem arising out of their working situation.
8.2 The role of the Occupational Health Service is to provide advice and support to the Trust and its employees to promote their health and wellbeing and assist them to remain at work or return to work after experiencing health problems. In addition, the service seeks to assist employees to maximising their performance at work thereby assisting the Trust to achieve its objectives.
8.3 The Occupational Health Service also supports the development of rehabilitation plans for returning to work after ill-health related absence, and works with the Trust in ensuring such rehabilitation is successful. They will also provide opinions about fitness and the appropriateness of any agreed phased return to work to the Trust.
9. Infection Control
9.1 As patients are the prime consideration in the delivery of a quality service by the Trust, all employees will be expected to adopt a responsible approach in
minimising the risk of infection to patients, themselves, colleagues, and visitors. Employees must do this by:
• being familiar with, and adhering to Trust policies and guidance on infection prevention and control
• attending Trust Induction Programme(s) and statutory education programmes in infection prevention and control
• including infection prevention and control as an integral part of their continuous personal/professional development
• Taking personal responsibility so far as is reasonably practicable, in helping ensure that effective prevention and control of health care acquired infections is embedded into everyday practice and applied consistently by them and their colleagues
9.2 Some potentially infectious conditions could put others at risk and the nature of the work of some employees could result in it being necessary to either refrain from attending work, or accept that they will need to work in an alternative environment for a period of time until they are symptom free.
implications of infection control policies, procedures and general health and safety when looking to retain an employee at work or return an employee to work after being absent with an infectious condition. Managers must seek advice from Infection Control or Occupational Health as necessary.
9.3 On some occasions where employees become chronic carriers of MRSA it may be necessary for them to be redeployed to lower risk areas of the Trust. In such cases the processes will be adopted as outlined in Appendix H.
10. Prevention of Work-Related Disorders
10.1 This section of the policy outlines some Health and Safety guidance for
managers in prevention of the major types of work-related disorders as well as assisting them in developing proactive protocols. It is recommended that managers also refer to the relevant Health and Safety Policy.
10.2 Prevention of Injury
Managers must ensure that all employees receive relevant Health and Safety training prior to commencement of any procedure or protocol which may cause them harm or injury. This includes the use of medical devices or equipment. New employees must be informed of any hazards within the department and that they receive local induction/orientation on commencement. This must include any mandatory training, such as fire, CPR and manual handling
Managers should also ensure that where an employee is returning to work following an incident that suitable refresher training is given
b) Avoiding Injury
Where an employee is complaining of muscular pain, or is known to have an existing injury that may be work related, they must not undertake any task that could exacerbate the condition. Employees will be encouraged to inform their manager so that if the condition persists, the employee concerned can be referred to Occupational Health to enable early assessment and provision of treatment as necessary
c) Reporting and Monitoring Incidents
themselves to be recovered. If they are absent as a result of an injury/incident at work for more than three days, the Trust is required to report this externally and they should be referred to Occupational Health for assessment.
If an employee is incapacitated following an incident they must be referred for medical attention immediately e.g. Minor Injuries Unit, A&E.
Managers must review their Directorate incidents/accidents on a regular basis to determine whether any particular pattern is emerging, or if there is an increase in any particular type of incident/accident. After review they must then decide if any proactive strategy is required. The Health and Safety Advisor should be
contacted for further advice and guidance.
d) Occupational Health
Needlestick injuries must be reported to the Occupational Health Service immediately in accordance with the Needlestick Injuries and Blood Borne Virus Exposure: Code of Practice. Staff should be released from their duties as soon as practicable to attend Occupational Health of out of hours EAU, A&E for follow up.
Managers must ensure that an employee who returns to work following an injury sustained at work, or a work-related disorder is fully fit to undertake their duties satisfactorily. Managers should seek advice/opinion from Occupational Health where the employee:
• may be at risk of further injury/illness
• may not be fully fit to undertake their duties
• has been absent for such a period of time that there are concerns for a return without prior advice
e) Risk Assessment
Managers must consider if a risk assessment of an employee’s job is required, particularly if they suspect that employees may be at risk of injury. Managers must also consider whether a ‘Stress in the Workplace Risk Assessment’ should be undertaken if it is felt an employee may be at risk of work place stress. The Health and Safety Advisor should be contacted for further guidance. Where stress is a factor a ‘Stress in the Workplace Risk Assessment’ must be undertaken. This should be shared with Occupational Health.
11. Stress Related Ill-Health
employees and the programme includes guidance on prevention and management of stress, identifying stressful behaviour including signs and symptoms, assertiveness techniques and the benefits of exercise. The training can be booked by the Education and Training Section within the Human
11.2 Where an employee is absent due to reasons of stress/anxiety a meeting will be arranged between the employee and their line manager prior to any return to work. The purpose of the meeting will be to discuss the situation and try and establish the route cause of the concerns (whether work or non work related), and identify the necessary steps/actions to enable a return to work, this should include completion of a risk assessment. The employee should also be referred to the Occupational Health Service where appropriate assessment can be made and if necessary, treatment provided. Occupational Health should be provided with a copy of the completed risk assessment.
11.3 On return to work, a return to work interview will be held and a regular review process established between the employee and their line manager to monitor progress. The frequency of such reviews should be determined by the needs of the employee but the expectation is that this will take place at least monthly. The review will be documented in writing by the line manager and agreed by the employee as an accurate reflection of the meeting.
12. Health Promotion and Employee Wellbeing Activities
12.1 The Trust provides a range of health promotion initiatives designed to raise awareness of health and lifestyle issues affecting mental health and wellbeing. Line managers and employees will be expected to participate as appropriate, and the programmes include:
• bullying and harassment • alcohol and substance abuse
• managing violence and aggression at work
• healthy eating campaigns in conjunction with catering facilities 12.2 Other measures to support employees maintain their health and wellbeing
include Special Leave arrangements and Flexible Working opportunities. The Trust also wishes to encourage employees to make use of the facilities that are available and promote the adoption of healthier lifestyles. Gym membership is available at beneficial rates and more information can be obtained from the Improving Working Lives Team within the Human Resources Department. 12.3 The Occupational Health Service is able to provide individual lifestyle advice,
This is part of OH mandate.
13. Counselling, Support and Guidance
The Trust provides a range of guidance and confidential support for employees. The Trust Chaplaincy Service is available to all staff and can provide counselling and personal support. A range of services are provided to assist staff. The Occupational Health Service provides direct advice and guidance and in addition, delivers the independent staff counselling service; the telephone based EAP, clinical psychology and tiered self help advice that will be available via the website.
13.1 Independent Staff Counselling: available for self referral or via the Occupational health Service. This is contracted with NTW NHS Trust and is provided in offices at Newcastle General Hospital.
Contact: 01670 513863
13.2 Employee Assistance Programme: a 24 hour, 7 day telephone helpline
contracted with Westfield Healthcare. This is available to all staff and provides telephone counselling, debt and legal advice.
Contact: 0800 0920987 quoting the Trust scheme number 72115 (This confirms eligibility and is not personally identifiable).
14. Equality and Diversity
The Trust is committed to ensuring that, as far as is reasonably practicable, the way we provide services to the public and the way we treat our staff reflects their individual needs and does not unlawfully discriminate against individuals or groups on any grounds. This policy has been properly assessed.
15. Monitoring Compliance with the Policy
Standard / Process / Issue
Monitoring and Audit
Method By Committee Frequency
Monitoring will include reporting of information from ESR to identify;
a) the percentage sickness rate by staff group and Directorate
b) the percentage short and long term rate by staff group Reporting from ESR Director of Human Resources
12. Consultation and review of this policy
This policy has been reviewed in consultation with the Employment Policies and Procedures Consultative Group
13. Implementation of the policy (including raising awareness)
A summary of the key changes will be notified to managers following implementation. Further advice and guidance will be available from the Human Resources Department.
• Medical Records Act 1988 available at
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1988/28/contents • Employment Right Act 1996 available at
http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/1996/18/contents • Equality Act 2010 available at
15. Additional documents
• Needlestick Injuries and Blood Borne Virus Exposure: Code of Practice
• Stress in the Workplace Risk Assessment – included in Management of Stress Policy
• Capability Procedure
• Disciplinary Policy and Procedure
Appendix A Absence Management Procedure
1.1 The Trust recognises the need to treat employees as individuals and expects managers to consider each case of absence on its own merits. The overall purpose of this procedure is to support employees in maintaining attendance in line with contractual obligations, therefore improving the operational efficiency of the Trust and the quality of the services it provides.
1.2 Where ill health is having a significant impact on an employee’s work performance, it
may, if appropriate, be investigated and dealt with through the work performance/capability procedure.
1.3 It is also recognised that some employees may attempt to take advantage of the sickness benefit system and the Trust will deal with any such abuse as a serious matter. In addition, the levels of absence of an employee may be considered so high that they may also need to be addressed through the application of the Disciplinary Procedure.
1.4 The objective is to ensure absence is managed fairly and consistently with a view to reducing its impact and cost on the operation of the Trust. A flow chart showing the process is at Appendix G.
1.5 The purpose of this procedure is:
a) to promote attendance at work;
b) to provide a fair and reasonable framework for the management of sickness absence;
c) to provide clear guidance on unacceptable levels of absence and how they will be
d) to ensure employees receive appropriate advice and support to help them achieve and sustain the necessary levels of attendance;
e) to minimise any adverse impact on employees when a colleague is absent through appropriate management arrangements
2. Role of the Line Manager
2.1 Line managers must ensure that all employees are aware of the following:
a) the Trust’s attendance standards
2.2 Specifically, managers should ensure that:
a) they appropriately record absence into the Electronic Staff Record (ESR) on a timely basis and in accordance with the Manager Self Service (MSS) User Manual
b) they regularly review employee sickness absence levels within their areas c) discussions take place with employees about their level of absence
following any period of absence from work
d) employees receive appropriate support and assistance to help them attend work to achieve an acceptable level of attendance
e) employees are informed of the impact their absence has on the patients/service and/or their colleagues
f) where appropriate, formal action is taken against employees who fail to achieve an acceptable level of attendance
g) an employee receives their payslip(s). (Under Section 8 of the Employment Rights Act 1996) an employee has the right to be given a payslip by their employer at or before the time payment is made). If the employee is absent the manager should ensure the payslip is forwarded to the employees home address.
h) they are able to make effective use of the Occupational Health Service including referral for any absence of 28 calendar days or more and immediate referral for the following:
1. musculo-skeletal injury,
3. work related accident involving absence on three or more days, 4. infectious or communicable disease,
5. prior history of long term sickness absence
i) fit notes are reviewed to ensure any changes in the reason for absence are identified and management plans amended as appropriate.
j) regular contact is maintained with staff who are absent. All discussions with staff should be recorded in a file note for future reference... To facilitate a consistent approach and assist managers to collect relevant information at key stages of an employee’s absence, please see respective forms
available at Appendix D: ‘Notification of Absence’ form; and Appendix E: ‘Absence Review’ form.
k) where stress is a factor in absence or becomes a factor at work a ‘Stress in the Workplace Risk Assessment’ must be undertaken. This should be shared with Occupational Health.
l) Occupational Health is informed of all appropriate information including any completed ‘Stress in the Workplace Risk Assessments’.
ensure the appropriateness of any adjustments and determine whether or not a risk assessment and or a work based assessment is required.
n) appropriate advice is obtained from Occupational Health throughout the process
o) all those returning to work following long term sickness absence (28
calendar days or more) have in place an agreed Return to Work Action Plan agreed with Occupational Health.
p) When an employee returns to work there must be arrangements in place for the employee to meet the manager on their first day back (or appropriate designated other) to ensure the employee returns to a well supported, organised working environment, where necessary adjustments to the working environment have been undertaken and any additional equipment and or support is available. Ensure any appropriate work based
assessments / risk assessments are carried out prior to an employee returning to work.
q) ensure where a phased return has been agreed ensure regular review meetings take place. The frequency of such reviews should be determined by the needs of the employee but the expectation is that this will take place at least monthly. The review will be documented in writing by the line manager and agreed by the employee as an accurate reflection of the meeting.
Due to the nature of the working environment, managers also need to properly consider whether the job the employee performs is a factor in the individual’s absence record.
3. Employee Responsibility
3.1 Notification procedure:
a) Employees must notify their manager directly (or the nominated person in charge) of their sickness immediately, or without unreasonable delay normally before the start of shift so that appropriate arrangements can be made for cover.
b) When the absence is for a period of one to seven calendar days, employees must complete a Trust ‘Self-Certification of Absence’
(Appendix C) upon return to work, stating the reason for absence. It is the employee’s responsibility to ensure this document is completed, and given to their Line Manager or nominate deputy. Failure to complete and provide this document may result in the absence being treated as unauthorised and therefore unpaid.
days of the expiry of the last one.
d) When notifying the Trust, the employee should give details of the nature of the absence, and likely date of return to work. If the absence is likely to be prolonged, an update should be provided on a weekly basis to the Trust, or to coincide with medical appointments.
e) Failure to follow this procedure may result in the withholding of pay and/or a deduction from pay for absence which is either not notified on time, or is not covered by the appropriate certification. Any decision to withhold pay will be the line managers’ in conjunction with the Human Resources
Department. Further, if an employee repeatedly notifies the Trust late, this may also result in disciplinary action.
3.2 Employee responsibility during sickness absence:
a) Be generally available to meet with their manager during normal office hours, normally at their place of work, to discuss their condition;
b) Keep their manager informed of any changes in their condition affecting their length of absence and/or return to work via telephone or an alternative method and frequency to be agreed;
c) Take reasonable care to facilitate a return to work as soon as possible. This includes undertaking any other alternative employment unless appropriate and agreed with the Trust, and anything, as defined by the Trust, that could exacerbate or prolong the condition unless the express prior permission of the manager is given in writing;
d) Give their manager written notice in advance if they are to be unavailable to meet for reasons associated with improving their health condition and/or prospects for returning to work e.g. admission to hospital;
e) Request permission in writing from their manager if they intend to go on holiday or be away from their normal place of residence whilst absent due to sickness. Such a period of time can be taken as annual leave if the employee requests this (see section 8). The manager should contact the Human Resources Department to discuss prior to making a decision. Before the manager confirms any decision advice from the Occupational Health Service should be sought.
4. Return to Work
4.1 Nursing and Allied Health Professional staff will be expected to return to their normal shift working arrangements following absence due to sickness, before being eligible to work bank shifts or overtime
adjusted duties or working arrangements and will be subject to:
a) The employee being assessed by the Occupational Health Service in which it is agreed that a phased return is appropriate, of health benefit and would facilitate an earlier return to work.
b) Normally a maximum paid period of 4 weeks, after which annual leave may be utilised or a temporary reduction in working hours implemented with agreement of Occupational Health. Please note any reduction in working hours will result in a reduction in paid working hours
c) Activity and working arrangements being clearly defined during the phased period
d) Regular review meetings pre-arranged. The frequency of such reviews should be determined by the needs of the employee but the expectation is that this will take place at least monthly. The review will be documented in writing by the line manager and agreed by the employee as an accurate reflection of the meeting.
e) When an employee returns to work following absence there must be arrangements in place for the employee to meet the manager on their first day back (or nominated deputy) to ensure the employee returns to a well supported, organised working environment, where necessary adjustments to the working environment have been undertaken and any additional equipment and or support is available. The manager must also ensure any appropriate work based assessments / risk assessments are carried out prior to an employee returning to work
4.3 Return to work interview
4.3.1 Line managers must arrange a discussion with employees on return to work after all periods of sickness absence and complete a written record
(Appendix F). This discussion should normally take place within two working days of their return to work and be conducted on a one-to-one basis between the manager and the employee. The employee’s absence record should be available for reference and may be subject to discussion.
4.3.2 The purpose of the discussion is to:
a) confirm the date(s) of absence, establish the reason(s) and determine whether future absence is likely to occur;
b) discuss the employee’s fitness for work and whether any action is required to enable them to undertake their duties safely and effectively;
c) update the employee on any relevant work matters that may have occurred during their absence;
g) identify what action (if any) is required by the employee and/or the manager in consequence of the interview. If formal action is deemed appropriate the employee will be informed separately.
4.3.3 The written record must be made of all return to work discussions (see Appendix F)and must be retained by the manager for future reference. The manager must ensure that a record is made within ESR to ensure the central employee record is complete. If requested, the employee should be provided with a copy.
5. Occupational Health
5.1 The Occupational Health Service is able to provide support to enable an employee to remain at work with an ill-health related condition or to return to work early following absence. The Trust reserves the right at any time to refer an employee to the Occupational Health Service for assessment, and will explain the reasons why to the employee. The employee does not need to be absent to be referred to the Occupational Health Service as this is intended to support them to remain at work wherever possible.
For guidance on referring to the Occupational Health Service please refer to the Guide to Occupational Health Advice and Referrals at Appendix B. Further information is available form the Occupational Health Service.
5.2 On receipt of reports from the Occupational Health Service, the line manager will determine how to proceed with the matter on an individual basis. The Human Resources Department may also be asked to provide advice.
5.3 Occupational Health will liaise with the employees GP or Specialist as and when required.
6. Record Keeping & Monitoring
6.1 Managers will be accountable for maintaining records and recording all sickness absence from work on the ESR system (in accordance with the MSS User Manual) and for ensuring that appropriate arrangements are in place on each ward/department to ensure this.
6.2 The Human Resources Department will use this data to: a. notify Payroll for sick pay purposes
b. produce information for the purposes of monitoring and controlling levels of sickness absence
6.4 All those returning to work following long term sickness absence (28 calendar days or more) must have in place an agreed Return to Work Action Plan.
6.5 If the absence is for an extended period of time the employee should be asked to attend a review with the Occupational Health service before being allowed to return to work. Further, the Trust reserves the right to maintain contact with the employee to review progress and will require the employee to attend reviews with their line manager to obtain an update on recovery and establish a likely return to work date.
6.6 Home visits will not be arranged unless there are exceptional circumstances which render the employee physically or mentally unable to attend the place of work.
7. Contractual Sick Pay
7.1 Employees are entitled to sick pay in accordance with the rules of the Trust’s Contractual Sick Pay (CSP) scheme and the Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) scheme. This is calculated by reference to a rolling 12 month calendar period.
7.2 However, payment of the benefit remains at the Trust’s absolute discretion. The Trust may suspend payment in certain cases. In the event that payment is withheld, the employee may raise the matter through the normal Grievance Procedure.
7.3 During the probationary period, an employee, who is new to the NHS, is not eligible to receive contractual sick pay for any period of sickness absence. This benefit does not become an entitlement until the employee has been confirmed in post following a successful probationary period. An employee’s continuous previous service with any NHS employer counts as reckonable service in respect of NHS agreements on sick pay.
7.4 An employee will be expected to work with the Trust in facilitating a return to work following absence as soon as appropriate. Where Occupational Health advise that an employee is fit to return to work, even if this is contrary to the advice of the employee’s GP or specialist, the employee will be expected to return to work on the date proposed. In the event the employee fails to return to work on this basis, their contractual sick pay will be suspended.
7.5 In no way do the provisions of the contractual sick pay scheme affect the right to dismiss any employee in accordance with the terms and conditions of the
contract of employment. Eligibility under the sick pay scheme ceases immediately when an employee leaves the service of the Trust.
a) when it is established that he/she is permanently unfit for employment, or b) when it is established that he/she is unfit to return to their job (or an
alternative) before the expiry of their CSP, or
c) when he/she has exhausted their CSP and is unable to return to work at that time when it is mutually agreed between the employee and the manager
d) when the employee’s level of absence from work is deemed to be unacceptable in accordance with the terms identified within this policy.
7.7 In cases resulting in the termination of employment, appropriate notice, or pay in lieu of notice will be paid in accordance with the terms of the employee’s contract of employment. Where termination occurs prior to the expiry of CSP, the notice period will run concurrently with the remainder of any CSP. An employee is not entitled to exhaust CSP, or to receive payment in respect of any outstanding entitlement prior to (or on or after) the termination of their employment
8. Public and Contractual Holiday entitlement and Sickness Absence
8.1 Where an employee is sick on a public holiday, no compensatory holiday will be given. This is the case whether annual leave entitlement is calculated inclusive or exclusive of Bank Holidays.
8.2 An employee who is ill during a period of previously scheduled annual leave has the right, if they request as per section 3.2 above, to continue to take the annual leave as previously planned
8.3 Employees who are ill during a period of annual leave will only receive
replacement holiday on their return to work if they fulfil the following conditions: a) The total period of incapacity must be fully certificated by a qualified
medical practitioner where it exceeds seven days. Where the total period does not exceed seven days a self certificate must be submitted (see Appendix C) upon their return to work
b) The employee must contact their Line Manager on their first day of sickness
c) On the first day back at work, the employee must submit a written request setting out how much of their holiday period was affected by sickness and the amount of leave that they wish to take at another time
d) If the employee is overseas when they fall ill or are injured, evidence must still be produced that they were ill, in the form of a medical certificate or proof of a claim on an insurance policy for medical treatment received at the overseas location.
8.4 Employees who are ill or injured before the start of a period of planned annual leave and who would like their leave postponed must submit a written request to postpone the planned annual leave, accompanied by a letter from their GP confirming that they are unfit, or are still likely to be unfit, to take the holiday.
8.5 Replacement annual leave should be taken in the same leave year in which it was accrued. The Trust may require employees to take all or part of their replacement annual leave on particular days and is not required to provide the employee with any minimum period of notice to do this, although it will aim to provide reasonable notice.
8.6 Statutory holiday entitlement (which is included within an employee’s contractual annual leave and Bank Holiday entitlement) accrues during sickness absence. The Trust expects employees to utilise their entitlement within the leave year during which sickness absence occurs. This may result in the period of absence being a combination of authorised sickness absence (including unpaid) and holiday entitlement. With regard to carry over, see Annual Leave policy.
9. Absence to Receive Cosmetic Treatment
If an employee is absent from work in order to receive surgical treatment of a cosmetic nature (eg. Corrective eye laser surgery, liposuction, etc), this will need to be arranged as annual leave or unpaid authorised absence unless the Trust is provided with written evidence that this procedure had to be performed for
10. Absence related to work-related incident or accident
If it is established that absence is due to an injury or accident at work and the cause is undisputed, the manager must contact the HR department for
appropriate advice. Where the cause is disputed, the absence will be managed in line with this procedure.
11. Prolonged Absence
There may be instances when it will be apparent from the outset of a period of absence that an employee will be absent for a considerable period of time e.g. planned surgery or serious illness. However, the line manager will be expected to maintain contact with the employee to support them, arrange referral to Occupational Health when appropriate, and formulate the rehabilitation programme for a return to work. Advice should be sought from Occupational Health. The manager should also ensure any work based assessments are carried out prior to an employee returning to work.
ensure the employee returns to a well supported, organised working environment.
12. Counselling Meeting
12.1 It is recognised that some employees may have a high level of uncertified/self-certified/medically certified absence for a variety of minor and/or unrelated ailments. Normally, such concerns will be triggered when an employee has had three or more occasions of absence in a twelve month rolling period (the twelve months preceding each occasion of absence) or where there is cause for
12.2 Where an employee reaches this level, and following the return to work interview, the line manager will hold a counselling meeting with them, (this came be
integrated into the return to work meeting on the third occasion). The purpose of this informal meeting is to ascertain the reason for the absences, and in
particular, understand from the employee whether there is any underlying or ongoing medical condition which is causing the absence from work. Where no underlying or ongoing health problem is identified (for example the cause and frequency of absence is unrelated), the employee will be made aware:
a) their absence is a cause for concern
b) that an immediate and sustained improvement in their level of attendance is required over a specified period of time e.g. 12 months
c) their attendance will be regularly monitored
d) their absence impacts on colleagues and the ability of the Trust to deliver its services
e) should the required improvement not be achieved or sustained, disciplinary procedures may be involved for reasons of unsatisfactory attendance.
A record will be kept of the outcome, a copy of which will be placed on the personal file.
13. Formal process relating to unsatisfactory attendance – no underlying health problem:
13.1 Should the employee’s attendance not improve as required following the
counselling meeting, the employee will be invited to a formal meeting to discuss their attendance.
13.2 The procedure for inviting the employee and the conduct of such a meeting is as outlined in the disciplinary policy and procedure.
recognised trade union or staff organization or a work colleague not appearing in a legal capacity.
13.4 If, following the discussion at this meeting, the manager considers it is appropriate to issue a formal warning for unsatisfactory attendance; the employee will be informed of this outcome, the requirement to improve their attendance over a specified period of time, and the right of appeal.
13.5 The level of action taken against an employee will depend on the specific circumstances of their case and the seriousness of their absence record. The process may commence at any stage of the disciplinary procedure and the ultimate sanction for unsatisfactory attendance is dismissal.
13.6 Where formal disciplinary action is taken and a warning is issued, the employee’s next salary increment will be deferred by the equivalent duration of the warning (6, 12 or 24 months). This must be communicated to the employee in writing when their warning is confirmed.
14. Formal process relating to unsatisfactory attendance – underlying health problem
14.1 Where an underlying or ongoing problem is disclosed to the line manager, the employee will normally be referred to Occupational Health. This matter may then be dealt with under the Capability Procedure.
14.2 The purpose of a referral to Occupational Health will be to obtain relevant information about any health condition to enable the line manager to make a decision regarding how to manage the employee’s ongoing employment.
Further, it will also be necessary to obtain confirmation regarding whether or not the employee’s condition is regarded as a disability as defined under the Equality Act 2010 i.e. a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on the persons ability to carry out normal day-to-day
activities, if it is, the absence relating to the disability must be recorded on ESR as disability related. If the condition is considered to be a disability, the line manager will be required to consider what reasonable adjustments may be
necessary to enable the employee to consistently perform their role. The Human Resources Department will provide advice and support on what information should be requested and what consideration is necessary, which may include consultation from appropriate external agencies e.g. Access to Work. The cost of any reasonable adjustment made will not be passed on to the disabled employee.
15. Not Fit To Return To Work
15.1 If it is determined that the employee is not fit to return to the job for which they are employed, the line manager will inform the employee of this outcome. In conjunction with the Human Resources Department, the manager will ascertain whether there are any suitable redeployment opportunities. The employee will be informed of these and will be required to consider them and confirm their interest in any specific posts within an agreed timescale. The Trust is not obliged to create a new post for an employee to move into.
15.2 If an employee falls within the scope of the Equality Act 2010, s/he will be given prior consideration for a post conditional on meeting the essential criteria of the person specification and reasonable adjustments can be made to accommodate a return to work in the new position. Within a few days of commencing the new post a risk assessment must be undertaken. This will be documented in writing by the line manager in conjunction with the Human Resources Department and agreed by the employee. This will ensure the employee receives appropriate support within the new role. The risk assessment should be repeated as appropriate.
15.3 If the employee does not fall within the scope of the Equality Act 2010, s/he will be required to apply for the alternative job in line with normal recruitment
practice. If successful in obtaining the alternative post, pay and conditions will be in line with the new post.
15.4 Where possible, redeployment will be on terms and conditions of employment equivalent to those currently held by the employee. However, if this is not possible, protection of pay and conditions will not apply.
15.5 If an employee unreasonably refuses to consider and/or accept suitable alternative employment, as defined by the Trust, the manager will need to determine the appropriate course of action. This may lead to termination of employment. Advice must be obtained from the Human Resources Department in such circumstances prior to any decision being taken.
15.6 In the event that redeployment is not possible, the employee may be dismissed from employment, with notice, on the grounds of incapacity due to ill health. The hearing will be dealt with in accordance with the disciplinary policy and
16. Ill Health Early Retirement
Appendix B Guide to Occupational Health Advice and Referrals
Health problems, of whatever nature, may affect work performance. If a manager has any concerns about the effects of work on an employee’s health, or the effects of a health problem on an employee’s performance or attendance at work, referral to the Occupational Health Service (OHS) should be considered. As a result of referral, the OHS can provide advice to managers and assist employees with their health problems.
Early referral to Occupational Health is recommended for any staff member who has:
• a musculo-skeletal injury;
• mental health problems such as anxiety and depression; • a work related accident;
• an infectious/communicable disease; • prior history of long term absence.
Evidence supports early intervention and managers should not wait until four weeks of absence have elapsed before making a referral.
• Consult with member of staff regarding referral to the OHS
• Ensure that the member of staff is made aware of the reasons for referral to the OHS
• Provide the OHS with relevant information and documentation • Consult with member of staff regarding occupational health reports. Employee’s Responsibilities:
• To comply with their contractual obligation to make themselves available to attend the OHS when a reasonable request has been made.
• To ensure that appointments are made within acceptable timescales. • To ensure the timely provision of reports.
• To provide considered, unambiguous and practicable guidance for managers and employees.
know the reason for the referral. It is important that the occupational health professional is made aware of all relevant facts about a case to ensure that objective advice is given, based on a full understanding of the issues of concern to the referring manager.
The OH Referral form is designed to help managers provide sufficient information and specify the type of advice they are seeking when making a referral. The referral form should be completed and copied to the member of staff and forwarded to the OHS for further action.
On receipt of a referral form, the OHS will determine the most appropriate referral route. This may include one or more of the following:
• Referral to an occupational health medical adviser (OHP) • Referral to an occupational health nurse adviser (OHA)
• A request to the employee’s treating physician or specialist for a medical report. Reports
Advice given to the manager is concerned with matters of employment and fitness and may include:
• The identification of a health problem that may impact on an individual’s work. • The potential effects of the health problem on current and future performance or
• Adjustments to the work place or tasks that would assist in maintaining health and reducing the adverse effects of the health problem on attendance and
• Whether the advised adjustments are temporary or permanent. • Timescales for expected improvement.
• Opinion on the implications of the Equality Act 2010.
• The need for further investigation or medical report from treating doctor • The potential for an individual to maintain a good attendance record, and if
appropriate, suitability for Ill Health Retirement
• Proposals for case management or rehabilitation programmes where appropriate. It is good practice for the manager to obtain the employee’s consent for referral. The OHS will confirm that the employee’s consent has been obtained before the employee is seen. Employees who decline to be referred to Occupational Health must be advised that the manager will only be able to make decisions based on available information and this may not be in their best interests.
medical confidentiality, in line with the guidance provided by the General Medical Council and the Nursing and Midwifery Council.
The OH professionals are available for, and encourage, managers to contact them by telephone to seek guidance on making referrals.
Following referral an appointment will be arranged to see an Occupational Health Nurse or the Occupational Health Physician as required.
The OHS will attempt to contact the employee by phone to arrange an appointment. If this is unsuccessful a letter will be sent advising of an appointment date and time.
If the employee fails to arrive for an appointment the OHS will notify the Manager of this. The OHS will take no further action until the Manager has contacted the employee and confirmed they will attend a 2nd appointment.
Appendix C The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Self Certification of Absence
Guidelines for Completion
This form should be completed by all staff as per the Absence Management Procedure on their FIRST day of return from absence.
Section A: Employee Details
Surname: ……….. Forename: ………
Payroll ID Number: ……… Directorate/Department/Ward
Section B: Absence Details
Date of illness: From:……… To ………..….. (including non-working days)
Number of days absent: (including non-working days)……….
Reason for absence: ………Date of return to work. ………
Name of the person informed of your absence:……….
Date Trust informed of your absence: ………
Did you visit a GP/Hospital whilst absent? Please circle YES NO
Section C: Working Pattern Details
1. To be completed by all staff
Please record the number of hours you would normally work on each day as appropriate:
2. To be completed by all staff who have been absent for a period of between one and seven days only – please place a cross against the actual days you have been absent. (For Half Days record ½ as well).
I certify that I was unable to attend work on the dates stated and for the reasons outlined in Section
B above. I understand that if I provide inaccurate or false information about my absence this may lead
to disciplinary action and possible dismissal.
I also confirm that I am fully fit to return to work.
Employee Signature………Date ……….
The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust Notification of Absence Form
The purpose of this form is to: establish the reason(s) for an employee’s absence; provide appropriate support; agree next steps; record relevant details for future reference
1. This form should be completed for all staff absences
2. First contact with an absent employee (usually when they telephone before their shift is due to start) is very important for understanding their situation and clarifying appropriate next steps
3. This form is not intended to be used as a questionnaire during contact with an employee. The questions below are a guide to assist managers to take a consistent approach with staff and collect information that is relevant. They are a starting point to be used appropriately – other questions may be necessary depending on the circumstances
4. If the manager (or person in charge) responsible for completing this form is not available when contact is received, only questions 1. 2. 3. should be completed and the form should be passed to the manager (or person in charge) without delay
5. For further advice or guidance, please contact your Human Resources Officer Name: ____________________ Position: _______________Band: _______ Shift due to be worked: __________________________________
Notification taken by: _______________________ Date: ____________________ Time: _________
Contact made by:_______________________ Relationship to Employee: ______________
1 What is the reason for your absence? When did you first feel unwell? 2 Can I (or the Trust) do anything to
3 How long do you think you will be absent for?
4 What do you intend to do a) whilst off sick, and b) to get better
5 Would any adjustments at work facilitate a return (e.g. modified assignment, ‘lighter’ duties).
7 Agreed next steps (e.g. next contact, return to work date)
Signed:__________________________Date: _____________________________________ Print Name: ___________________ Designation: _______________________________
Appendix E The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Absence Review Form
Payroll No: Manager/Supervisor
1 Update the employee of
developments since the last contact. Provide a short summary.
2 Discuss whether there are any other work or domestic problems the employee wants to raise
3 Discuss whether there is an underlying condition that might be covered by the Disability
4 Ask the employee if any additional support can be given i.e.:
Occupational Health; Physiotherapy; Counselling
5 Discuss ongoing
treatment/medication. Possible timescales for a return to work
6 Discuss the possible use of the following resources: Occupational Health; Physiotherapy; Counselling
7 Are there any other issues relating to the employees absence they wish to discuss?
8 Comments/Issues raised/Further Action
9 Agree the next contact FOLLOW UP
Appendix F The Newcastle upon Tyne Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust
Return to Work Interview Form
Payroll No: Manager/Supervisor
Period of absence: From:……….To………
Reason for absence: ……….
No of spells of absence (previous 12 months inclusive)……….
No of days lost (previous 12 months inclusive) ……….
1 Clarify when symptoms/concern first
2 Is the reason work related? If so, how
and did you report this to anyone?
3 Have you suffered from this before?
4 What medical treatment/medication did
you receive while absent?
5 Is any treatment/medication still ongoing
that may affect you at work?
6 Do you need to use any of the following
resources: Occupational Health; Physiotherapy; Counselling
7 Are there any other issues relating to
your absence that you wish to discuss?
Wellbeing - incorporating Absence Management Procedure – No Underlying Health Reason
Start Attendance = 3 or more occasions of absence in 12 month rolling period d Further absence in review period? No no yes Footnotes:
a Concerns regarding levels of sickness absence will be triggered when an employee has three or more occasions of absence in a twelve month rolling period (the twelve months preceding each occasion of absence).
b When an employee reaches absence trigger level and following a return to work interview, the line manager will hold a counselling meeting with them, the purpose of which is to determine if there is an underlying or ongoing medical condition which is causing absence.
c Where no UHR identified the employee must be made aware that their level of absence gives cause for concern, immediate and sustained improvement is required over a specified time period. A record should be kept of the meeting and a copy placed on the personal HR file.
Employee counselled about his/her
level of attendance, review date set,
Wellbeing - incorporating Absence Management Procedure – Underlying Health Reason HR Ma na ger Em pl oy ee Footnotes:
h If the employee has disclosed an underlying or ongoing health problem the employee will be referred to occupational health. The purpose of the referral will be to determine whether there is an UHR and if there is obtain relevant information about any health condition to enable the manager to make a decision regarding how to manage the employee’s ongoing employment and obtain confirmation regarding whether or not the employee’s condition is regarded as a disability under the Equality Act 2010 I Where Occupational Health confirm an UHR the matter will then be dealt with under the Capability Procedure. If Occupational Health confirm there is no UHR the process on
page one should be followed.
Management of Employees with MRSA
Em ploye e HR Occ Hlth Man age r IPCT Start 1.1 Employee tested for MRSA 1.2 MRSA+? Start 1.5 Employee tested for MRSA 1.6 MRSA+? 1.7 Inform manager. No further action 1.3 Inform manager. No further action 1.8 Inform manager 1.4
Inform manager and advise on deployment implications 1.9 Seek advice from IPCT and take action as appropriate 1.11 Employee agrees to treatment? 1.13 Reiterate implications on deployment. Discuss options 1.12 Employee given course of treatment and re-tested no yes 1.10 Discuss MRSA implications with employee and offer treatment by Occ Hlth yes no End B To page 2 no End yes A To page 2 Footnotes:
a Employee is not obliged to accept treatment, but this will have implications on their deployment.
b If employee fails to achieve a negative outcome after one treatment, a further two treatments can be given within a reasonable time frame i.e. within eight weeks of the start of their first treatment. If in this time frame the employee: fails to produce a negative result after three treatments; or fails to complete treatment (and/or testing); or withdraws from treatment; or does not wish to be redeployed, the manager will have to consider whether to terminate employment.
THE NEWCASTLE UPON TYNE HOSPITALS NHS FOUNDATION TRUST IMPACT ASSESSMENT – SCREENING FORM A
This form must be completed and attached to any procedural document when submitted to the appropriate committee for consideration and approval.
Policy Title: Employee Wellbeing Policy Incorporating Absence Management Procedure Policy Author: Ms Karen Pearce, Senior HR Manager (Projects)
Yes/No? You must provide evidence to support your response:
1. Does the policy/guidance affect one group less or more favourably than another on
the basis of the following: (* denotes protected characteristics under the Equality Act 2010)
Policy applies to all employees of the Trust. It is underpinned by the Trust’s overriding policy on equal opportunities
• Race * )
• Ethnic origins (including gypsies and travellers) )
• Nationality )
• Gender * ) see above
• Culture )
• Religion or belief * )
• Sexual orientation including lesbian, gay and bisexual people * )
• Age * )
• Disability – learning difficulties, physical disability, sensory impairment and mental health problems *
There is no evidence to suggest that there is any adverse effect on disabled employees. Reasonable adjustments are made where necessary in accordance with the Equality Act.
• Gender reassignment * )
• Marriage and civil partnership * )
2. Is there any evidence that some groups are affected differently? There is no evidence to support any group was affected
differently (see above)
3. If you have identified potential discrimination which can include associative
discrimination i.e. direct discrimination against someone because they associate with another person who possesses a protected characteristic, are any exceptions valid, legal and/or justifiable?
4(a). Is the impact of the policy/guidance likely to be negative?
(If “yes”, please answer sections 4(b) to 4(d)).
4(b). If so can the impact be avoided? n/a
4(c). What alternatives are there to achieving the policy/guidance without the impact? n/a
4(d) Can we reduce the impact by taking different action? n/a
Comments: Action Plan due (or Not Applicable):
Name and Designation of Person responsible for completion of this form: Mrs Wendy Johnson Date: 28 February 2012
Names & Designations of those involved in the impact assessment screening process: Employment Polices and Procedures Consultation Group