Governors Committee Responsible for the Policy: Standards Committee
Date Approved: March 2015
Recommended Review Period: Annual
Date for Review: March 2016
Leadership Team Role Responsible for the
Operation of the Policy: Headteacher
Notes to be read in conjunction with the Attendance Management Suite of Policies Please read in conjunction with – Attendance & Absence Management Suite of Policies.
Seaford Head operates in accordance with ESCC Policies using the 3:6 Rule for Absence Management.
In conjunction with this Seaford Head also operates an internal monitoring of absence for absence review/management based on the following:
The general annual target for Seaford Head is: no greater than 6 days through illness in the academic year.
Following any absence through illness you will attend an informal duty of care meeting with your Line Manager. This is to ensure that you are physically well enough to return to work and to assess if you require any assistance/support to remain at work.
Cumulative absences totalling 5 days or more in duration in any one term may trigger a Line Management Meeting, as above – to ensure no recurring health issues and discuss any possible targets for the subsequent term.
Any absence pattern which creates a cause for concern may also trigger a Line Management meeting.
Compassionate Leave: (All staff) Compassionate Leave is at the discretion of the Headteacher and will depend on the particular circumstances of the case and the needs of the school at the time the request is made. All Staff requesting Compassionate Leave must see the Headteacher in person.
Dependent Care: (All Staff) The maximum paid annual allowance for Dependant Care is 3 days. This will be calculated pro rata for part time staff. Support staff will be eligible for this following one year‟s service.
Recognition for good attendance: All staff with good/outstanding attendance will have this recognised through the school‟s pay policy. Staff attendance which falls short of 95% will not be considered eligible for progression.
1. Attendance Management Policy & Procedure Page 5
2. Leave of Absence for Teachers Page 42
3. Leave of Absence for Support Staff Page 44
4. Occupational & Statutory Sick Pay Page 48
5. Maternity/ Paternity Information (babies born after 4/4/2015) Page 50
6. Maternity/ Paternity Application Form Page 86
7. Maternity/ Paternity Information (babies born after 4/4/2015) Page 94
Non teaching staff
8. Maternity/ Paternity Application Form Page 130
1. Attendance Management Policy & Procedure
Attendance Management Policy Page 5
The Short Term Attendance Management Procedure Page 10
Explanation of Terms Used Page 12
The Stages of the Short Term Procedure Page 15
Introduction to Managing Long Term Sickness Absence Page 23
The Long Term Attendance Management Procedure Page 26
Explanation of Terms Used Page 27
The Phases of the Long Term Procedure Page 28
Appendix A: The Appeals Process for Attendance Improvement Notices Page 34 Appendix B: The Procedure for Hearing a Recommendation for Termination of
Employment Page 36
Appendix C: The Conduct of Attendance Management Meetings Page 38
ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT POLICY
Policy Statement Page 5
Key points Page 5
1. Why is it important to manage attendance? Page 5
2. Who takes responsibility for managing attendance? Page 6
3. Pre-employment and Probation Monitoring Page 7
4. What is the definition of a sickness absence? Page 7
5. Are flexible leave options available? Page 7
6. To whom does the Attendance Management Policy and Procedure apply? Page 8 7. Are there other policies and procedures linked to Attendance Management? Page 8 8. What is the Equality Act and how does it impact on Management of Attendance? Page 8
9. Corporate and departmental absence targets Page 9
10. What are the Attendance Management Procedures? Page 9
11. Equality Impact Assessment Page 41
Improving Staff Attendance Positively Impacts on Service Delivery.
At Seaford Head we believe in providing our employees with a healthy working environment and promoting and encouraging a healthy approach towards life.
Attendance Management starts at the point of recruitment and selection.
It is important to manage sickness absence in a fair, consistent and compassionate way.
There is an agreed procedure for managing short term sickness absence that must be followed.
A different procedure applies to long term sickness absences of 4 continuous calendar weeks‟ duration or more.
Where either procedure is followed, it may be legitimate to consider recommending
termination of employment on the grounds of “incapability due to ill health” even where the health reason is genuine.
Line managers are responsible for managing attendance with support from Personnel specialists.
Personnel specialists provide up to date Attendance Management information and the Headteacher will receive monthly trigger information from these Personnel specialists.
The Attendance Management Toolkit containing advice and guidance for managers is available from the Headteacher.
1.4 The School believes that it is important to manage sickness absence in a fair, consistent and compassionate way.
1.5 Whilst some staff absence is inevitable, high levels of absence overall can be one of the many indicators of low staff morale. If absence levels are considered to be too high, managers may need to review working practices and/or working conditions and/or the culture in the workplace itself.
1.6 Acknowledging staff attendance following a sickness absence reinforces an individual‟s value at work and allows managers scope to identify ways in which employees can be supported to improve their attendance at work at an early stage.
2. Who takes responsibility for managing attendance? 2.1 Chief Officers/Headteachers
2.1.1 Chief Officers/Headteachers are responsible for ensuring that arrangements are in place in their departments/schools for the effective management of attendance, which will include regular reporting to service/school management teams.
2.2 Line Manager
2.2.1 The Attendance Management Procedure recognises that day to day absence management issues are best handled on an individual, one-to-one basis and the appropriate person to do this is the Line Manager. An integral part of each manager‟s responsibility is to maintain accurate record keeping, in order to develop a fair and consistent managerial approach to work attendance.
2.2.2 Consequently, managers should have the following target set as one of their annual performance targets each year:
“To consistently apply the Short and Long Term Attendance Management Procedures, in order to deliver the departmental absence reduction target.”
2.2.3 Working conditions are regulated by Health and Safety legislation and managers are expected to ensure that all relevant legislation to protect the health and safety of its
employees is complied with and that all necessary protection, training and awareness is provided to employees.
2.2.4 In schools it may be more appropriate for a member of the senior management team (who may not be the line manager) to manage attendance to ensure confidentiality of
personal information is adequately safeguarded. 2.3 The Personnel and Training Team (PAT)
2.3.1 The Personnel and Training (PAT) Occupational Health Team, Staff Counselling Service and PAT Health and Safety Advisers are available to assist Chief Officers,
Headteachers and senior/line managers in implementing School policies concerning the health, safety and welfare of employees.
2.3.2 PAT also support the effective management of attendance by providing information on absence levels and advice and support to managers on the operation of the procedures, during the formal stages.
2.4 Individual employees
2.4.1 Each employee has a personal responsibility to take all reasonable measures to ensure their fitness for work and to strive for 100% attendance.
2.4.2 If absences are work related, employees have a responsibility to be proactive in raising their concerns about work related causes of absence as part of the normal
staff/manager relationship. Managers should then seek advice in accordance with the guidance to line managers in Paragraph 2.2.3 above.
2.4.3 Each employee has a personal responsibility to be pro-active in participating fully and constructively at all stages of the Attendance Management Procedures (both short term and long term) should either apply to them at any stage of their employment with the School, in order to ensure that they receive appropriate help and support to minimise their sickness absence record and optimise their well-being.
provided by PAT.
2.4.5 In the event of consent not being given, the employee may be required to see the Occupational Health Physician and/or the Occupational Health Physician will be asked to give an opinion based upon available information at the time (Access to Medical Records Act 1988 will apply).
2.4.6 Where an employee declines to co-operate by withholding information or consent for an approach to their own doctor, there is the potential for decisions to be made which will be to their detriment.
3. Pre-employment and Probation Monitoring
3.1 Managing sickness absence and ensuring attendance at work starts at the point of recruitment and selection and it is the responsibility of managers, before confirming an
appointment, to seek health related information from a previous employer, such as number of
days absence in a given period (usually 12 months or 2 years) with the number of occasions this represented and the reasons for absence. Under the provisions of the Equality Act 2010
this information may only be sought once an offer of employment has been made. This offer
should be conditional on satisfactory pre-employment checks and candidates should not be appointed where their previous health record subsequently causes concern.
3.2 Similarly, where a newly appointed member of staff is on probation, the attendance record should be reviewed regularly during the probationary period. Although attendance should be monitored closely at all times, particular attention should be given to attendance levels during the Probationary Review and Appointment Support periods, as part of the Supported
Introduction to Employment procedures.
3.3 The Attendance Management Policy and the Procedures for managing both short and long term sickness absence do not apply to employees working within their probationary period. These employees will have their attendance managed through the Probationary Review Procedure. However the same attendance standards will apply under the Probationary Review Procedure, as under the Attendance Management Policy and Procedures (short and long term), and any breaches of attendance triggers or cause for concern, will result in serious consideration being given to the probationary employee‟s continued employment. 3.4 To ensure the employee is being treated equitably, managers will need to be aware of the
overall absence reduction target their Department/School is aiming to achieve as this will provide a benchmark against which the probationary employee‟s attendance can be assessed.
4. What is the definition of a sickness absence?
4.1 A sickness absence is any absence from work where the employee is unfit through a
medical condition or receiving medical treatment, including medical conditions and treatments falling within the Equality Act (see below, Section 8), except in the following circumstances:
any pregnancy related illness
authorised unpaid or paid leave for hospital or doctors appointments at which no actual treatment is to be provided
associated with cover arrangements must be considered by the manager prior to authorisation.
5.3 However, caution must be exercised by managers in using this discretion and any genuine sickness absence must be recorded as such.
5.4 Employees working in schools may not exercise the option to request a “duvet day” short notice leave day, due to the nature of term time working and contractual requirement for leave to be taken in school holidays only.
6. To whom does the Attendance Management Policy and Procedure apply? 6.1 The Attendance Management Policy and Procedure applies to all Seaford Head employees,
including those on both permanent and temporary contracts. The Attendance Management Policy and Procedure does not apply to employees in their probationary period.
6.2 The Attendance Management Policy and Procedure applies, without exemptions, to all School employees who have a disability or medical condition which falls within the definitions set out in the Equality Act. However, managers will have regard to the impact of the employee‟s disability when managing sickness absence and agreeing any reasonable adjustments.
7. Are there other policies and procedures linked to Attendance Management? 7.1 Related policies
7.1.1 Alongside the Attendance Management Policy and Procedure there are the following related policies such as the School‟s Pay Policy.
7.2 Attendance Management Toolkit
7.2.1 Further guidance for managers is available from the Headteacher 7.3 Guidance for the management of disability in the workplace
8. What is the Equality Act and how does it impact on Management of Attendance?
8.1 The Equality Act 2010 acknowledges that an employee‟s illness may fall within the definition of a disability:
„a physical or mental impairment which has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on his/her ability to carry out normal day to day activities‟
8.2 The definition has four parts:
the person must have a physical or mental impairment
the impairment must have adverse effects which are substantial
the substantial effects must be long term
the long term substantial effect must have an adverse effect on normal day to day activities
8.3 Under the Equality Act, employers must consider making “reasonable adjustments” to assist employees (or potential employees) who, within the terms of the Act are disabled, to allow them to access work or to continue working. This might include:
the re allocation of duties,
the provision of physical aids or
permitting different patterns of work
as long as the change is deemed reasonable in the context of the specific circumstances. 8.4 In the first instance, managers are responsible for decisions on whether an adjustment is
“reasonable” based on the following factors:
how effective it would be in preventing or minimising any disadvantage to the disabled person
how practical it is – an action is more likely to be reasonable if it is straightforward
the extent of financial and other resources available
the availability of external support and funding
the extent to which the disabled person co-operates, if someone refuses to co- operate with the only adjustments that are reasonable, managers do not have a duty to do more. 8.5 Managers can approve whatever they consider to be reasonable for a person within their team
or department. However, if a manager considers refusing an adjustment that has been
suggested by the disabled person or by an internal or external medical or Occupational Health Adviser, he/she must first discuss their decision with their Personnel specialist.
8.6 The Equality Act applies to staff who work full or part time, temporarily or permanently and also covers some people who work for the School on a self-employed basis or through a consultancy or agency.
8.7 Guidance and advice on the Equality Act is available from the relevant Personnel specialist who will involve the Occupational Health Team and the Legal Services Team as appropriate. 8.8 The provisions of the Equality Act are relevant to, and underpin, the corporate procedures.
The implications of the Equality Act in relation to the member of staff, their circumstances and the nature of their illness should be considered at each stage of the Attendance Management Procedure, because an individual employee‟s condition may fluctuate or change (for better or worse) over time. Similarly an employee not previously covered by the provisions of the Equality Act may fall within its definitions following a period of illness or injury.
8.9 Managers have a responsibility to ensure they are familiar with, and understand the application of, the comprehensive guidance concerning the Equality Act and Employment which is available on the internet.
9. Corporate and departmental absence targets
9.1 Seaford Head School is striving to achieve 100% attendance although it recognises that employees will have the occasional absence. However the School seeks to minimise these occasions by application of the Attendance Management Procedures.
9.2 Seaford Head School has sickness absence targets, in order to reduce absence days per employee per year. There is an overall target for the School as a whole which is reviewed and revised annually.
9.3 The overall corporate target provides managers with benchmark figures of sickness absence days per annum to facilitate the fair and consistent exercise of their judgement and discretion, when managing sickness absence and deciding whether the employee‟s sickness absence record gives cause for concern.
10. What are the Attendance Management Procedures?
10.1 The Attendance Management Procedures set a framework for managing both short term and long term sickness absences in the context of the School‟s Attendance Management Policy Statement.
10.2 The arrangements detailed in both the short term and long term procedures are to be
followed, with no exemptions, on every occasion when employees are, or have been, absent from work due to sickness.
THE SHORT TERM ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT PROCEDURE Stage 1 Return to work meeting Stage 2 Trigger meeting
Cause for concern by mitigating factors: Chronic illness, disability
issues covered by the Equality Act external factor e.g. Pandemic
Strategy meeting for improvement Develop Personal Attendance Support Plan Not concerned - A “blip” in otherwise good attendance record
Cause for concern
Review at regular appropriate intervals not less than once every 6
Stage 3 Trigger meeting / cause for concern / Attendance
Improvement Notice (Right to Appeal)
Stage 4 Trigger meeting / cause for concern / Second or
Short term procedure Long term procedure
Record one of three possible
Return to work meeting
Stage 2 Trigger Meeting
Stage 3 Trigger Meeting
Attendance Improvement Notice (Right to Appeal)
Trigger Meeting Second or Final
Initial attendance management meeting. Develop Personal
Attendance Support Plan
Phase 2 Interim attendance management meeting(s) Phase 3 Final attendance management meeting Phase 4 Return to work Strategy for Improvement
Personal Attendance Support Plan
Phase 3 Ill Health retirement
Record one of three possible
ST.1 Notification of Absence Page 12
ST.2 Frequent Short Term Sickness Absences Page 12
ST.3 What is the Short Term Procedure? Page 12
ST.4 What is meant by the term “triggering”? Page 13
ST.5 What are trigger reports? Page 13
ST.6 What is meant by “cause for concern”? Page 13
ST.7 What is a strategy for attendance improvement? Page 14
ST.8 What is a Personal Attendance Support Plan? Page 14
ST.9 What is an Attendance Improvement Notice? Page 14
ST.10 Stage One – Return to Work Interview Page 15
ST.11 Stages Two, Three and Four of the Short Term Procedure - General Principles Page 15
ST.12 Stage Two – Return to Work Trigger Meeting Page 16
ST.13 Stage Three – Return to Work Trigger Meeting Page 18 ST.14 Stage Four - Return to Work Trigger Meeting Page 18 ST.15 Are there any circumstances at a Stage 3 or Stage 4 meeting when a manager
may decide not to issue an Attendance Improvement Notice? Page 19 ST.16 What happens if an employee who is currently being managed under
Stages 2- 4 of the Short Term Procedure commences a period of long term
sickness absence? Page 20
ST.1 Notification of Absence
ST1.1 Each employee must notify their line manager as soon as they know that they are unable to attend work. Guidance should be issued to all employees and managers to ensure that they understand their responsibilities for the notification and management of absence.
ST1.2 Chief Officers/Headteachers should ensure that each employee understands the procedures for informing their manager of an absence from duty. They should also ensure managers take responsibility for recording all absences on the „notification of absence from duty‟ form and monitoring the absence on a regular basis. The
„notification of absence from duty‟ form must be forwarded as soon as possible to the Personnel Support Unit for recording on SAP.
ST.2 Frequent Short Term Sickness Absences
ST.2.1 Frequent short term absences that, in their nature, are unrelated may collectively signal general poor health. In such circumstances, there is likely to come a point where (assuming the attendance management procedures have not successfully resolved the problem) the interests of the organisation will outweigh the interests of the individual. This means that employment might be terminated where there is a record of frequent short term absences, following a hearing at which the employee will have with the right to representation and a right to appeal the outcome.
EXPLANATION OF TERMS USED
ST.3 What is the Short Term Procedure?
ST3.2 Sickness absences in excess of 4 weeks‟ continuous duration will be managed under the Long Term Attendance Management Procedure (see below).
ST3.3 The Short Term Procedure comprises four key stages:
Stage One : Return to Work Interview – all employees
Stage Two : Return to Work Trigger Meeting (abbreviated to Stage 2 meeting)
Stage Three : Return to Work Trigger Meeting (abbreviated to Stage 3 meeting)
Stage Four : Return to Work Trigger Meeting (abbreviated to Stage 4 meeting)
ST.4 What is meant by the term “triggering”?
ST.4.1 This term refers to those individual employees who breach the benchmark figures set by School for the number of absence days taken in a specified period and/or the
duration of the absence. The current benchmarks are:
three separate absences in a 6 month period (referred to as the 3:6 rule) on a rolling 6 month basis
one occasion of 8 working days or more continual absence
ST.4.2 The 3:6 rule applies in all cases, irrespective of the nature of illness (including DDA conditions) or duration of individual periods of absence.
Note: special consideration will need to be given to term time only patterns of work and the 3:6 rule.
ST4.3 In addition, a pattern of absence which otherwise causes concern can trigger a Stage 2 or a Stage 3 meeting under the Short Term Procedure even if the 3:6 rule has not been breached and the employee has not otherwise triggered.
ST.5 What are trigger reports?
ST.5.1 The Personnel and Training Team (PAT) issue trigger reports to managers notifying them of any staff that have triggered in accordance with the definition above.
ST.6 What is meant by “cause for concern”?
ST.6.1 When reviewing any sickness absence with an employee under any stage of the Short Term Procedure, including Stage 1, the manager should be asking him/herself: “am I
concerned at the level and/or frequency of sickness absence this employee has taken?”
ST.6.2 Solely in the context of the School‟s Attendance Management Policy (see above, Paragraph 9.1) any sickness absence, even for legitimate reasons will, initially, give cause for concern because it will result in an attendance record of less than 100% and may also be indicative of underlying issues concerning the employee‟s health, or their safety and well-being at work.
Any advice received from the Occupational Health Team in relation to the
employee‟s reason for sickness absence or, in the absence of such advice consider whether a referral would be helpful
External influences on attendance levels e.g. a pandemic
The nature of the employee‟s working environment and whether it may be a contributory factor or influence
ST.7 What is a strategy for attendance improvement?
ST.7.1 A strategy for attendance improvement will normally be developed by the manager and the employee at Stage 2 of the Short Term Procedure, as an alternative to issuing a formal letter recording cause for concern.
ST.7.2 It is a consensual process between the manager and the employee involving the sharing of information and the preparation of a mutually agreed Personal Attendance Support Plan (see Para. ST.8.1 below).
ST.7.3 Managers have discretion to implement this option where there are mitigating
circumstances (see Para. ST.6.3 above), that should be taken into consideration when managing the frequency and pattern of the employee‟s absences.
ST.7.4 There is no right of appeal where this discretionary option for managing sickness absence under the Short Term Procedure is implemented. If a strategy for attendance
improvement cannot be agreed with the employee and a Personal Plan developed accordingly, the line manager will revert to managing the employee‟s attendance under the formal Short Term Procedure, Stages 2-4 inclusive, and the employee will have the right to appeal any Attendance Improvement Notices issued, in accordance with the provisions of that Procedure.
ST.7.5 In exceptional and specific circumstances, a strategy for improvement may be adopted at the later formal stages (Stage 3 or Stage 4) of the Short Term Procedure – see Section ST.15 below.
ST.8 What is a Personal Attendance Support Plan?
ST.8.1 A Personal Attendance Support Plan (hereafter referred to as a Personal Plan) will set out the strategy for attendance improvement and will include:
the key points of discussion at the trigger meeting including a review of the employee‟s workload and/or the relationship with colleagues or line managers if considered relevant to the level of absence occurring
confirmation that the absence gives cause for concern
the reasons for the manager‟s conclusions
the actions agreed by both parties to improve attendance, for example, the line manager may seek advice from the Occupational Health Team, or the employee may agree to seek further advice from their GP or request the ability to work more flexibly
the circumstances which will trigger a further review of the employee‟s attendance record, for example, a specified attendance expectation (personal trigger points) over the next 12 months or, in the case of employees protected by the Equality Act, an individual attendance expectation based on advice from Occupational Health and/or
on-going review cycle, as appropriate, subject to a minimum review of one in every 6 months.
ST.9 What is an Attendance Improvement Notice?
ST.9.1 An Attendance Improvement Notice, Second Attendance Improvement Notice and Final Attendance Improvement Notice are formal written accounts, using a standard template, informing the employee of their attendance expectations during the next 12 months. The standard templates can be obtained from the Headteacher.
ST.9.2 An Attendance Improvement Notice and Second Attendance Improvement Notice will be held on record for 12 months and a Final Attendance Improvement Notice will be held on record for two years. If the employee‟s absence levels fall below the expectation set out in the relevant Attendance Improvement Notice, the next stage of the procedure will be put in place.
ST.9.3 An Attendance Improvement Notice may be issued following a Stage 3 meeting.
ST.9.4 A Second Attendance Improvement Notice or a Final Attendance Improvement Notice may be issued following a Stage 4 meeting.
THE STAGES OF THE SHORT TERM PROCEDURE ST.10 Stage One – Return to Work Interview
ST.10.1 Most attendance management cases are unlikely to progress beyond Stage One, which applies to all employees (except those in their probationary period – see Para. 3.3 above) on each occasion when they have been absent from work due to illness for one day or more.
ST.10.2 The line manager meets with the employee on their return to work, following any period of short-term sickness absence (see definition in ST.3.1 above) regardless of the duration or nature of the employee‟s absence. This would normally be a short, informal and private meeting using the following format:
acknowledge that absence has taken place
review the absence record - consider discussing number of days lost, patterns, frequency and possible implications with employee if previous absence(s) is/are identified
enquire sympathetically about the illness and whether GP assistance was sought - if so will further appointments be required in the future
discuss what support the employee may need to ease the process of return including any reasonable adjustments
provide an update on work issues and the cover arrangements put in place
ST.11 Stages Two, Three and Four of the Short Term Procedure – General Principles
Recording Cause for Concern
ST.11.1 In recording the outcome of trigger meetings formally in writing, under Stage 2, or when issuing an Attendance Improvement Notice under Stage 3 or a Second or Final
Attendance Improvement Notice under Stage 4 of the Short Term Procedure, managers MUST state specifically whether or not, following their discussions with the employee at the trigger meeting, the employee‟s sickness absence record gives cause for concern and state reasons for their conclusion in either case.
ST.11.2 If, under Stage 2, the sickness absence record does not give the manager cause for concern, in addition to giving reasons for this (for example, a previous exemplary attendance record or a “one off” short term condition that is likely to be resolved), the manager should nevertheless consider specifying the circumstances in which concern may arise in the future should full attendance not be regained and/or maintained. ST.11.3 In recording a cause for concern, managers should also state the level of their concern
and any factors or information which may have mitigated this (see list of examples in section ST.6 above) and the impact on service delivery and work colleagues.
ST.11.4 Copies of all correspondence, the Personal Plan and/or formal Attendance Improvement Notices recording concern about attendance should be placed on both the employee‟s school file and also on their personal file held by PAT.
Right of Appeal
ST.11.5 If the manager decides to issue an Attendance Improvement Notice, Second Attendance Improvement Notice or Final Attendance Improvement Notice, despite a request by the employee not to do so, the employee may appeal against the decision.
ST.11.6 Any appeal must be made in writing by the employee to the manager, within five working days from the date the Attendance Improvement Notice, Second Attendance Improvement Notice or Final Attendance Improvement Notice was received by the employee.
ST.11.7 The appeal will be heard by a different manager (senior to or at the same level) as the manager making the decision against which the employee is appealing. In schools, where the Headteacher has already been involved, the appeal will be heard by a panel of governors. (See Appendix A: The Appeal Process).
ST.11.8 Support for managers/governors hearing appeals will be available from the Personnel specialists. However, the line manager/school will take responsibility for putting all the necessary arrangements in place for the appeal hearing.
Right to Representation
ST.11.9 The employee has a right to formal representation by a Trade Union official or to be accompanied by a current work colleague at a Stage 4 meeting. Managers will be advised by a Personnel Officer at Stage 4 meetings.
ST.11.10 Stage 2 and Stage 3 meetings are conducted between the line manager and the employee as part of the usual supervisory relationship (or, in schools, a member of the senior management team) and there is no right to representation at these meetings. ST.11.11 However, if an Attendance Improvement Notice is issued as a result of Stage 3
ST.12 Stage Two – Return to Work Trigger Meeting
ST.12.1 Where matters do progress beyond Stage1, the employee will either have developed a pattern of sickness absence that has triggered a notification to the line manager under the Short Term Procedure, or that otherwise causes the manager concern.
Either on receipt of the trigger report, where an employee had been absent due to sickness on:
three occasions during the previous 6 months on a rolling basis (the 3:6 rule)
one occasion of 8 or more working days continual absence,
or where an employee has a record of frequent short term sickness absence that may not have triggered for either of the above reasons, but might otherwise be a cause for concern,
ST. 12.2 The manager should arrange a Stage 2 meeting as soon as the employee returns to work, in all cases, regardless of the sickness absence reason and including conditions covered by the Equality Act.
ST.12.3 In all circumstances, issues will be dealt with fairly by the manager at the Stage 2
meeting, giving the employee an opportunity to make representations and to be proactive and constructive in seeking to resolve the problem.
ST.12.4 There should be no exemptions from the Short Term Procedure, but in considering the appropriate action to be taken, managers should exercise their judgement and discretion in each case.
ST.12.5 In doing so, it is important for managers to demonstrate fairness and consistency in their approach at all times, in the application of the Short Term Procedure to the circumstances of individual employees. For this reason managers are required to clearly record their decisions in writing (see ST.11.1-4 included above).
ST.12.6 The degree of a manager‟s concern, coupled with the extent of any mitigating factors, will determine the robustness of their management approach to improving attendance and, accordingly the route chosen to progress the Short Term Procedure, especially at Stage 2 (see Flow Chart for Short Term Procedure above).
ST.12.7 As well as considering the employee‟s individual circumstances and any mitigating factors, the manager should consider, discuss and record the impact the employee‟s absence(s) is/are having on service delivery and work colleagues.
ST.12.8 The Stage 2 meeting should be conducted in person, face to face, and will cover the same issues as a Stage One return to work interview (see Section ST.10 above).
ST.12.9 In addition, the line manager will:
inform the employee whether or not this level of absence causes concern (see guidance in Section ST.6 above) and
accordingly (a standard template is available from the Attendance Management Team in Personnel and Training):
recording the key points of discussion at the Stage Two meeting and
confirming whether or not the absence gives cause for concern and
stating the reasons for the manager‟s conclusions as well as
stating the circumstances which will trigger a further review of the employee‟s attendance record
ST.12.12 Where the manager considers that there is cause for concern and has adjourned the meeting to seek advice from the Occupational Health Team, he/she will re-convene the Stage 2 meeting, review the advice received with the employee and:
either issue a letter confirming their concern (as above)
or agree a strategy for attendance improvement with the employee, which will include the development of a Personal Plan in accordance with the principles set out in Appendix C, Para. 4.1, but to be managed under the Short Term Procedure. ST.12.13 A template for the Personal Plan can be obtained from the Headteacher.
ST.12.14 A copy of the agreed Personal Plan, or the letter confirming cause for concern
(whichever is the outcome of the Stage 2 meeting), should be placed on the employee‟s personal file and also on their School personnel file. A further copy should also be sent to the employee within 7 working days of the Stage 2 meeting.
ST.12.15 Where a strategy for attendance improvement has been agreed at Stage 2 of the Short Term Procedure, subsequent short term absences will be managed at Stage 2 under the Personal Plan, provided that:
the absences relate to conditions or circumstances covered by the scope of the
Personal Plan and/or
the attendance levels can be managed, or continue to be managed, compatibly with the needs of the service and the impact on work colleagues.
ST.12.16 Where attendance levels continue to cause concern and are not improving after a reasonable period of time in accordance with the strategy for improvement agreed at Stage 2, or the attendance level can no longer be sustained in the context of the needs of the service, the manager may progress to Stage 3 of the Short Term Procedure and convene a Stage 3 meeting.
ST.13 Stage Three – Return to Work Trigger Meeting
ST.13.1 A Stage 3 meeting, in person, would apply automatically where an employee triggers for:
a second time of three occasions during the previous 6 months on a rolling basis (the 3:6 rule) and/or
a second occurrence of 8 or more working days‟ continual absence ST.13.2 A Stage 3 meeting can also be convened by the manager when:
a Stage 2 Personal Plan is not achieving the anticipated improvement in attendance within the period specified and/or the service can no longer sustain the level of absence being experienced and/or
the manager has further concerns about frequent short term sickness absence and the absence pattern does not fall into any of the three trigger categories above ST.13.3 A Stage 3 meeting will cover the same issues as the Stage One return to work interview
and the Stage 2 meeting and, in addition, the line manager will:
inform the employee that the level of absence causes concern or further concern
(if concern has already been expressed) and
meeting to seek a report, or further report (as applicable) from the Occupational Health Team and/or to seek advice from the PAT Attendance Management Team.
ST.13.5 The employee should also be given an opportunity at the Stage 3 meeting to explain why an Attendance Improvement Notice should not be issued.
ST.13.6 The meeting will be reconvened when the report and/or further advice is available to enable the additional information to be discussed with the employee before deciding the outcome of the meeting. In exceptional and specific circumstances, it may be acceptable to agree a Personal Plan at Stage 3, as an alternative to issuing an Attendance
Improvement Notice (see Section 15 below).
ST.13.7 The Attendance Improvement Notice will inform the employee:
of the expectation of attendance during the next 12 months (normally 100%) and
that a Stage 4 meeting will apply if sickness absence levels reach trigger points during the 12 month duration of the Notice and
that the employee has the right of appeal against the Attendance Improvement Notice
ST.13.8 Once issued to the employee, a copy of the Attendance Improvement Notice should be sent immediately to the relevant Personnel specialist, in order that it can be placed on the employee‟s personal file. A copy should also be placed on the employee‟s School file for ease of reference.
ST.13.9 Employees have the right of appeal against the decision of a manager to issue an Attendance Improvement Notice under Stage 3 (see Paragraphs ST.11.5-8 above).
ST.14 Stage Four - Return to Work Trigger Meeting
ST.14.1 A Stage 4 trigger meeting would apply automatically where an employee triggers for:
a third time of three occasions during the previous 6 months (on a rolling basis) and/or
a third time of one occasion of 8 or more working days continual absence.
an Attendance Improvement Notice has been issued following a Stage 3 meeting and there has been a breach of the attendance expectations set at Stage 3. ST.14.2 A Stage 4 trigger meeting can also be convened by the manager when:
a Personal Plan was agreed at Stage 3 and is not achieving the anticipated improvement in attendance within the period specified and/or the service can no longer sustain the level of absence being experienced and/or
the manager has further concerns about frequent short term sickness absence and the absence pattern does not fall into any of the four trigger categories above. ST.14.3 In order to convene a Stage 4 meeting, the manager will need to give the employee five
working days written notice of the meeting and inform them that they may be
accompanied by a trade union representative or current work colleague. The manager will normally be accompanied by a Personnel specialist.
consider or re-consider any issues involving industrial injury
consider or re-consider any issues relating to stress, taking into account the School‟s policies covering Stress Management
take into account any other factors which may have adversely affected the
employee‟s attendance record since the Stage 3 meeting e.g. a current pandemic, or particular health issues relating to their working environment
take into account the employee‟s overall employment history
hear representations from the employee and/or their representative
ST.14.6 Having considered carefully all of the factors above, the manager may decide on one of four courses of action:
i. confirm, or reconfirm, attendance expectations and issue a Second Attendance Improvement Notice to be on record for 12 months. If any concerns arise during that period a further Stage 4 meeting to be convened; or
ii. confirm, or reconfirm, attendance expectations and issue a Final Attendance Improvement Notice to be on record for two years. If any concerns arise during that period a further Stage 4 meeting to be convened; or
iii. refer the case to a hearing to consider a recommendation to terminate employment (see Appendix B for the conduct of the hearing ); or
iv. in very exceptional circumstances develop a Personal Plan (see below).
ST.15 Are there any circumstances at a Stage 3 or Stage 4 meeting when a manager may decide not to issue an Attendance Improvement Notice?
ST.15.1 At the Stage 3 or Stage 4 meeting, the employee should always be given an opportunity to explain why an Attendance Improvement Notice, Second Attendance Improvement Notice or Final Attendance Improvement Notice should not be issued.
ST.15.2 Reasonable grounds for mitigation might include:
being covered by definitions of disability as set out in the Equality Act, or
an unreasonable workload or
bullying at work
as being the main factor(s) contributing to the employee‟s absence.
ST.15.3 However, these issues should normally have been explored thoroughly earlier in the Short Term Procedure at Stage 2 and, if appropriate, managed using the strategy for attendance improvement and a Personal Plan.
ST.15.4 Therefore any request for mitigation on these grounds at Stages 3 or 4 of the Short Term Procedure should be considered carefully by the manager taking into account:
any previous and current reports from Occupational Health and
careful consideration of the reasons given by the employee for not raising relevant mitigating factors previously, under earlier stages of the Short Term Procedure. ST.15.5 Where the manager is satisfied that:
the employee is raising relevant new issues that could not reasonably have been known or disclosed at earlier stages of the procedure AND
a strategy for improvement and a Personal Plan have not been discussed, developed and used in earlier stages of the Short Term Procedure, AND
ST.15.6 Where the manager opts to do this, in the exceptional circumstances specified above, the employee will be expected to contribute constructively to the development of the strategy for improvement and will have no right of appeal against the manager‟s decision to adopt this optional course of action.
ST.15.7 If the employee will not, or cannot, agree a strategy for improvement and a Personal Plan with their line manager at either Stage 3 or Stage 4, where this option is offered to them, the manager must issue an Attendance Improvement Notice or Second or Final
Attendance Improvement Notice, as appropriate. The employee may then exercise their right of appeal under the Short Term Procedure.
ST.15.8 Where a Personal Plan is developed at either Stage 3, or Stage 4, it will always specify a fixed term time limit for the improvement in attendance, which will not exceed 6 months. There will be no option for an on-going review period.
ST.15.9 Where a strategy for improvement and a Personal Plan is implemented at Stage 3, and the required attendance improvement is not achieved, the manager will have the discretion to move to Stage 4 of the Short Term Procedure and, after hearing the employee‟s representations, serve a Second or Final Attendance Improvement Notice if considered appropriate.
ST.15.10 Similarly, where a strategy for improvement and a Personal Plan is implemented at Stage 4 and the required attendance improvement is not achieved, the manager will have the discretion to hear the employee‟s representations at a further Stage 4 meeting and to issue a Final Attendance Improvement Notice, if considered appropriate, without first issuing a Second Attendance Improvement Notice.
ST.15.11 The employee will have the right to appeal the issue of an Attendance Improvement Notice, Second or Final Attendance Improvement Notice issued in these circumstances, in the normal way.
ST.16 What happens if an employee who is currently being managed under Stages 2-4 of the Short Term Procedure commences a period of long term sickness absence? ST.16.1 Where an employee‟s short term absence becomes a long term absence (defined as a
continuous period of sickness absence of 4 calendar weeks or more):
during a period when they are being managed under Stages 2, 3 or 4 of the
Short Term Procedure and
a Personal Plan has already been developed under the Short Term Procedure then management of the long term sickness absence may commence at either Phase 2, or Phase 3, of the Long Term Procedure as deemed appropriate by the manager in the particular circumstances of the case. (See the Long Term Attendance Management Procedure below).
if a Personal Plan has not been developed under the Short Term Procedure at the point when the absence becomes long term and
the Short Term Procedure is at Stage 2 or 3,
INTRODUCTION TO MANAGING LONG TERM SICKNESS ABSENCE
LT.1 General Principles Page 23
LT.2 Annual Leave accrual during long term sickness absence Page 23 LT.3 What are the responsibilities of the manager and the employee during a long
term sickness absence? Page 24
LT.4 What other Seaford Head School policies, guidance and information might be
relevant to managing long term sickness absence? Page 23 LT.5 What is the definition of a long term sickness absence? Page 27 LT.6 What is the Long Term Attendance Management Procedure? Page 27
LT.7 What is an Attendance Management Meeting? Page 27
LT.8 What is a Personal Attendance Support Plan? Page 27
LT.9 Right to Representation Page 27
LT.10 Phase 1: Initial Attendance Management Meeting Page 28 LT.11 Phase 2: Interim Attendance Management Meetings Page 28 LT.12 Phase 3: Final Attendance Management Meeting Page 29
LT.13 Phase 4: Return to Work Page 31
LT.14 What happens if the Return to Work Plan is not successful or cannot be
signed off within 12 calendar weeks? Page 32
LT.15 What happens if the employee has a further sickness absence following
their Return to Work? Page 32
LT.1 General Principles
LT.1.1 In cases of prolonged or long term sickness, it will not always be possible to resolve the situation through improvement in the employee‟s absence record: ill health retirement or termination of contract may have to be considered.
LT.1.2 However, it is recognised that it is important that the principles of good practice apply to ensure the situation is handled sensitively and in a fair, consistent and compassionate way.
LT.2 Annual Leave accrual during long term sickness absence
LT.2.1 When managing long term sickness absence, managers should be aware that paid annual leave entitlement continues to accrue and, for an employee who has not had an opportunity to take their annual leave allowance within the leave year, because of long term sickness absence, the carry forward provisions will be different to those set out in the Annual Leave Policy.
LT.2.2 Where annual leave accrues in this way, managers should seek advice from the Attendance Management Team Personnel Officer advising them on the Long Term Procedure.
LT.3 What are the responsibilities of the manager and the employee during a long term sickness absence?
LT.3.1 Both the manager and the employee must maintain regular, informal contact (at least fortnightly) from the date the sickness absence commences and agree a mutually
acceptable means of keeping in touch throughout the employee‟s absence from work, in addition to the formal Attendance Management Meeting process set out in the next section.
LT.3.2 The employee has responsibility for:
informing their line manager immediately if there is any change in their medical condition and/or information relevant to the management of their absence from work and Personal Attendance Support Plan
attending, wherever possible, and participating constructively in Phase 1, 2 and 3 Attendance Management Meetings to facilitate their earliest possible return to work
participating in Phase 4 Return to Work reviews where a return to work is agreed and
providing clear and constructive feedback to their manager about the effectiveness or otherwise of the Return to Work arrangements
attending the Phase 4 Final Review Meeting and signing off the Personal
Attendance Support Plan confirming they are satisfied with the arrangements put in place.
LT.3.3 The manager has responsibility for managing the absence in accordance with relevant School policies and procedures, which will include:
exercising fairness, consistency and understanding throughout the attendance management process
maintaining confidentiality of all information relating to the employee‟s ill health
accurately recording relevant information from informal contact with the employee during their sickness absence on their supervision file
regularly reviewing the sickness absence using timely and informed Attendance Management Meetings
accurately recording the Attendance Management Meeting discussions, conclusions and agreed actions on the Personal Attendance Support Plan (the Personal Plan), including the Return to Work section of the Personal Plan, and ensuring an up to date copy is kept on the employee‟s personal file
providing clear, accurate and timely copies of the latest version of the Personal Plan to the employee immediately following each Attendance Management Meeting
ensuring that they hold a Return to Work meeting with the employee on their first day back at work or, if they are unavailable on that day, ensuring another, properly briefed, manager meets with the employee and facilitates their return to work
ensuring they hold a Phase 4 Final Review Meeting with the employee and formally sign off the Personal Plan. If it is not possible for both parties to sign off the Personal Plan, an alternative course of action in line with Phase 4 of the procedure can be followed
LT.4 What other School policies, guidance and information might be relevant to managing long term sickness absence?
LT.4.1 In addition to the policies and other guidance listed in Section 7 above, managers should ensure that they are familiar with the following policies before considering alternatives to a return to work under Phase 2 of the Long Term Procedure:
Managing Change Policy and Redeployment Policy from the Managing Change Suite of Policies
LT.4.2 Managers are reminded of the necessity to consider the provisions of the Equality Act at each phase of sickness absence management (see Section 8 above).
LT.4.3 Supporting guidance and information about Attendance Management is also available on the Intranet.
THE LONG TERM ATTENDANCE MANAGEMENT PROCEDURE
Timeline Initial Attendance Phase 1 Management Mtg Develop Personal Attendance Support Plan Phase 2 Interim Attendance Management Mtg(s) Minimum of 1 in 1st 26 weeks of absence Commence medical redeployment by week 20 Phase 3 Final Attendance Management Meeting Phase 4 Return to work including:
Medical redeployment Return to work
Final review meeting Sign off plan
24 month period to reopen and review plan
if further related absences cause
concern (re-open at Phase 3)
Manage under the other policies & procedures as appropriate
Ill health retirement Hearing to consider continuation of employment with Right of Appeal Phase 2 can be omitted in straightforward cases
If final review and sign off cannot be
Not later than week 6
Not later than week 26
Not later than week 32
EXPLANATION OF TERMS USED
LT.5 What is the definition of a long term sickness absence?
LT.5.1 Any employee absent from work for a consecutive period of 4 calendar weeks or more will be regarded as having a long term sickness absence and it will be necessary for the line manager to seek a report from the Occupational Health Physician (contact your Personnel specialist in the Advisory Team for guidance on how to request this).
LT.6 What is the Long Term Attendance Management Procedure?
LT.6.1 The Long Term Attendance Management Procedure (abbreviated to the Long Term Procedure) comprises four different management phases linked to the date the sickness absence commenced and the development and review of a Personal Attendance Support Plan (abbreviated throughout to Personal Plan).
LT.6.2 The Long Term Procedure has been designed to allow managers to:
respond flexibly to the nature of the employee‟s illness and their individual circumstances, within
clear timescales that ensure regular, timely, informed and thorough reviews of the absence take place and with a
clear plan for minimising the absence and enabling the employee to return to work safely, with appropriate support, at the earliest opportunity.
LT.6.3 The four management phases and their purpose are set out in summary below and shown diagrammatically in the flow chart above. Further detailed guidance for managing each phase is set out in Appendix C.
LT.7 What is an Attendance Management Meeting?
LT.7.1 An Attendance Management Meeting is a formal meeting convened under Phases 1-3 inclusive of the Long Term Procedure to review and assess information, advice and circumstances relating to the employee‟s long term sickness absence. The purpose of each meeting will vary according to which management phase the Long Term
Procedure has reached and further details about this are set out in the Phases of the Long Term Procedure below.
LT.8 What is a Personal Attendance Support Plan?
colleague at Phases 1, 2 and 3 of the Attendance Management Procedure. Further guidance about representation is contained in Appendix C.
LT.9.2 Representation is optional for the Final Return to Work Review meeting in Phase 4 of the procedure. See Section 13 for further information about Phase 4 Return to Work meetings.
LT.10 Phase 1: Initial Attendance Management Meeting
LT.10.1 The Initial Attendance Management Meeting is a formal meeting between the line
manager and the employee to be held after 4 calendar weeks of continuous absence, but no later than the end of Week 6.
LT.10.2 Where a long term sickness absence is planned e.g. hospital admission for planned surgery, the Initial Attendance Management Meeting can be held, and a Personal Plan be developed, before the long term absence commences.
LT.10.3 The purpose of the Phase 1 Initial Attendance Management Meeting is to gather and agree all relevant information concerning the employee‟s absence, in order to develop a Personal Plan tailored to the particular circumstances of the case, which:
states the known facts relevant to the absence and its future management (see Appendix C for further guidance on the information to be considered for inclusion)
sets out any further information required e.g. advice from Occupational Health Team
sets out a strategy for the future management of the case and any interim case reviews with clear timescales (see Phase 2) or
starts to plan for the employee‟s return to work, if this is imminent, with clear timescales (see Phase 3) and
confirms the arrangements for regular, informal contact between the manager and employee during the course of the sickness absence (see Para. LT.3.1 above)
LT.11 Phase 2: Interim Attendance Management Meetings
LT.11.1 When the case is formally reviewed at the Phase 1 Attendance Management Meeting and a return to work is not considered imminent, a date should be set for a formal Interim Attendance Management Meeting to occur under Phase 2. This should take place at a reasonable interval from the Phase 1 meeting, taking into account all the circumstances and facts of the case.
LT.11.2 The purpose of a Phase 2 Interim Attendance Management Meeting is to review the Personal Plan, including the arrangements for regular informal communication between the manager and the employee, and to update the information, planned actions and timescales specified therein, in response to new information/changes in
either (a) set a suitable date for a further Interim Attendance Management Meeting under Phase 2
or (b) arrange a suitable date for a Phase 3 Final Attendance Management Meeting, which will:
plan for a return to work, including the finalisation of any medical redeployment if appropriate or
an alternative course of action, when a return to work is unlikely to occur
LT.11.4 In all cases, if a return to work is not anticipated within four weeks of the Initial Attendance Management Meeting, the line manager should arrange at least one formal Interim
Attendance Management Meeting to take place between the end of the 10th calendar week and not later than the 26th calendar week from the commencement of the absence. Note: medical redeployment
LT.11.5 Opportunities for medical redeployment will be more limited in schools.
LT.11.6 Managers should note that, where medical redeployment is recommended by the
Occupational Health Team, an employee needs to be on the redeployment register by the 2 0t h calendar week of their absence. (This enables 6 weeks of redeployment search under Phase 2 of the procedure and up to 6 weeks of redeployment search under Phase 3 of the procedure). Therefore where medical redeployment is recommended, managers should ensure that a Phase 2 Interim Attendance Management Meeting is held not later than the end of the 20th calendar week from commencement of the absence.
LT.12 Phase 3: Final Attendance Management Meeting LT.12.1 The procedure moves to Phase 3 when:
either a return to work is imminent
or it becomes clear from regularly reviewing the employee‟s absence in the Phase 2 Interim Attendance Management Meetings that a return to work is unlikely to be achieved either at all, or within a timescale that reasonably meets the needs of the service.
LT.12.2 The purpose of the Phase 3 Final Attendance Management Meeting is to review the Personal Plan and:
either confirm the anticipated date of the employee‟s return to work and explore what support may be necessary to ensure that their transition from absence to attendance is successful. This will include medical redeployment where applicable. See below: Notes1 and 2: Fit Notes and Return to Work Plan.
or conclude that, in the light of all the material facts of the case, the employee is unlikely to return to work either at all, or within a timescale that reasonably meets the needs of the service. In these circumstances, the manager will need to consider the options for termination of employment, including ill health retirement, mutually agreed termination of employment, or refer to a hearing to consider the employee‟s continuation in employment where a mutually acceptable termination arrangement cannot be reached. See below: Notes 3 and 4: Termination of Employment. Note 1: Fit Notes
should revert to managing the sickness absence under Phase 2 of the Long Term Procedure, until further review(s) indicates that any recommended adjustments can be reasonably accommodated by the manger to enable a return to work. The employee will continue to receive sick pay in line with their sick pay entitlement until a return to work is achieved or the Attendance Management Procedure is brought to a close.
Note 2: Return to Work Plan
LT.12.4 Discussions at the Attendance Management Meeting should be incorporated into the Personal Plan as a specific Return to Work section of that plan. The Return to Work section of the Personal Plan should then be reviewed in Phase 4 of the procedure once the employee has returned to work.
Note 3: Termination of Employment
LT.12.5 The manager will confirm his or her conclusions to the employee in writing and the case will be managed thereafter in accordance with policy or the procedure for hearing a recommendation to terminate employment (see Appendix B) as appropriate.
LT.12.6 Reasonable management action to terminate, or to recommend termination of,
employment for long term sickness absence cannot be delayed only on the basis that an employee‟s occupational sick pay has not run out. Each case has to be considered carefully and proportionately on its merits.
LT.12.7 The line manager may call a Phase 3 Final Attendance Management Meeting at any time after the Phase 1 meeting. Where the purpose of the meeting is to agree a Personal Plan for a Return to Work it may not have been necessary to hold a Phase 2 meeting first, particularly if the reason for the sickness absence was straightforward e.g. planned
surgery with no complications and the recovery proceeds according to plan.
LT.12.8 Where the circumstances of the sickness absence are more complex, and the Phase 3 Final Attendance Management Meeting may lead to either a phased Return to Work or a requirement for other support, for example reasonable adjustments, or could result in a recommendation to terminate employment, the manager must hold regular Phase 2 Interim Attendance Management Meetings to ensure that all relevant information has been obtained and options for rehabilitating the employee have been thoroughly explored before moving to a Phase 3 Final Attendance Management Meeting.
LT.12.9 In these circumstances, the Final Attendance Management Meeting under Phase 3 should take place no earlier than the 26th calendar week of the absence, unless a return to work is imminent, or an alternative course of action to resolve the absence can be mutually agreed at an earlier date. However, it should be convened no later than the 32nd calendar week of the absence where medical redeployment is being sought, or where there are particular medical circumstances.
LT.12.10 In exceptional medical circumstances a business case would need to be put together for approval by the departmental Assistant Director, or Headteacher/Governors in
LT.13 Phase 4: Return to Work
LT.13.1 Phase 4 commences on the employee‟s first day back at work after a long term absence on sick leave and may continue for up to 12 weeks from the date of return to work. LT.13.2 The purpose of Phase 4 is to ensure that:
the employee is fully and properly supported during the transition period from absence to full attendance and
there is a mechanism for reviewing the adequacy and effectiveness of the support mechanisms, including any reasonable adjustments, and
the employee‟s progress is regularly monitored during this period. Return to Work Meeting
LT.13.3 The manager will meet with the employee on their first day back at work, both to brief them on workload/operational matters and to ensure that:
all arrangements previously agreed at the Phase 3 meeting and recorded in the Return to Work section of the Personal Plan are satisfactory and
to establish whether the employee requires any additional support, not already discussed or agreed, to enable them to experience a smooth transition back into the workplace.
LT.13.4 The Return to Work Plan may be amended, if necessary, in the light of the discussions at the Return to Work meeting, including any reasonable adjustments agreed. Further informal review meetings to monitor the transition arrangements may be arranged, if appropriate in the circumstances, before the Final Review Meeting (see below).
LT.13.5 Meeting with the employee on their first day back in the workplace after a long absence and ensuring they feel welcome and at ease is considered crucial to the process of rehabilitation.
LT.13.6 Therefore, where the line manager is unable to meet with the employee on their first day back, they should nominate another, suitably briefed, manager to conduct the Return to Work meeting in their place.
LT.13.7 Phase 4 is a transition phase from absence to full attendance and aims to rehabilitate the employee back into their work and also into normal working relationships as quickly as possible in their individual circumstances. Part of this rehabilitation will be the restoration of the normal supervisory relationship between the employee and their line manager. LT.13.8 To facilitate this, there is no right to formal representation at Phase 4 Return to Work
review meetings, except at the Final Review Meeting when the Return to Work section of the Personal Plan should be formally signed off (see below).
The Final Return to Work Review Meeting
LT.13.12 Requests to be accompanied by a Trade Union Representative or current work colleague at the Final Review meeting must be made at least 14 calendar days prior to the meeting, to ensure availability of a representative and Personnel specialist.
LT.13.13 Where formal representation at the Final Review Meeting is requested, the procedural guidance in Appendix C for calling a formal Attendance Management Meeting will apply.
LT.14 What happens if the Return to Work Plan is not successful or cannot be signed off within 12 calendar weeks?
LT.14.1 In circumstances where full rehabilitation has not been achieved within 6 weeks, the line manager should be meeting with the employee regularly and reviewing with them the potential for them to return to work successfully.
LT.14.2 Accordingly the line manager must review the Return to Work Plan formally with the employee not later than 12 calendar weeks from the date of return to work to re-examine the alternative options for the employee‟s future. These can include the consideration of:
medical redeployment if time permits, or
an application for ill-health or early retirement or
suspension from duty pending a hearing to consider the employee's continued employment.
LT.14.3 These options will be considered if a Return to Work Plan that is satisfactory to both the manager and the employee cannot either be signed off, or amended, to achieve a successful and sustained Return to Work within a reasonable timescale.
Right to Representation
LT.14.4 This will effectively return the Long Term Procedure to Phase 3 and therefore the manager will have the right to be accompanied by a Personnel specialist and the employee will have the right to be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or current work colleague. Other procedural guidance applicable to a Phase 3 Attendance Management Meeting will also apply – see Appendix C.
Duration of the Personal Attendance Support Plan
LT.14.5 The Personal Attendance Support Plan will remain on the employee‟s personal file for 24 months after it is signed off at the Final Return to Work Review Meeting. In certain circumstances, if the employee‟s attendance gives further cause for concern during this period, this Personal Plan may be reviewed and the Long Term Procedure re-activated at Phase 3 initially (see next section).
LT.15 What happens if the employee has a further sickness absence following their Return to Work?
LT.15.1 If the employee has a further sickness absence during the Phase 4 Return to Work period, and it occurs before the Phase 4 Final Review Meeting and sign off of the Return to Work Plan, the absence will be continue to be managed under Phase 4, even if it is a short term sickness absence.
LT.15.2 A Return to Work meeting should be held as above and the line manager should review the Return to Work Plan and record any amendments that may be agreed in the light of information arising from the meeting.