Sickness & Abscence
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What if I’m unwell and can’t come to work?
2.2a Statement on Sickness Absence
Full attendance is important for the efficiency of the Company, and for fairness to all employees. We recognise that sickness does occur, but we will not tolerate abuse of this policy by any employee who does not have a genuine reason for being absent. While we will give consideration to the merits of individual circumstances, failure to follow the correct procedures as set out in this section may result in loss of pay and/or benefits and could result in disciplinary action. Claiming sick pay for absences not caused by illness will not be tolerated.
The purpose of the Company’s approach to Sickness Absence is as follows:
to support individuals who are ill
to improve the management of those who are off sick
to support staff who remain in work and carry the burden of absent staff
to reduce the level of lost time
We will endeavour to provide appropriate support to those absent through illness, and to ensure a safe and timely return to work.
Absence levels across the Company will be monitored regularly and where necessary, we reserve the right to:
request that we visit absent employees at home and/or
request access to a medical report from your medical advisors and/or
require you to attend the Company doctor
2.2b Reporting Absence
Absence Answering Machine: 01722 420506
You are required to notify us if you are unable to attend work for any reason
On the first day of each absence, you must phone the Company between 8.00am and 10.00am, and each day thereafter until we receive a medical certificate. If you are unable to make contact yourself, it is your responsibility to ensure that someone else does so on your behalf.
The following information must be given:
Reason for Absence
Estimated length of absence
Whether you are seeing/have seen your GP
If you have been signed off, and if so for how long
Whether you have posted your medical certificate to the Company.
It is not acceptable to leave a message with anyone other than the number given above, or your immediate manager.
2.2c Absence due to Sickness
In the case of sickness absence, in addition to the general notification arrangements:-
if your absence exceeds 7 consecutive calendar days and is medically certificated you must keep the HR Department informed of your progress on a regular basis.
If you are unable to make this contact yourself, you should arrange for someone else to do so on your behalf.
you are asked to notify us once your return to work date is known.
if you are involved in an accident at work you will need to complete the Accident Book and inform your manager immediately.
2.2d Medical Certification
On your return to work, you must complete a self-certification form for any period of sickness absence. These can be obtained from either your manager or from HR. For absences of seven consecutive calendar days or more, a doctor’s certificate is required.
The medical certificate your doctor will give you should have a return date stated. If, for whatever reason, it is open-ended you will need a certificate signing you fit for work again, before you attend for work. On no account should you attend for work while under the cover of a doctor’s certificate.
If you are prescribed drugs that may affect your behaviour while attending work you should inform your manager and produce a note of explanation from your doctor.
Any entitlement to sick pay will depend on the evidence of sickness that you provide to us.
For Health & Safety reasons, the Company reserves the right to require you to attend the Company doctor before resuming work after any period of long-term sickness absence. If we do so, you are entitled to your normal wages while waiting for the outcome.
2.2e Statutory Sick Pay (SSP)
We are responsible for the payment of Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), which can be paid for a period of up to 28 weeks. The rates of SSP and the rules regarding its payment are in accordance with the Department of Social Security.
SSP is payable from the fourth day of any illness (including weekends and Bank/Public Holidays). SSP is a daily payment and is usually paid for the days that you would normally work. The days that you would normally work are known as Qualifying Days (QDs). SSP is not paid for the first three QDs, in any period of sickness unless it falls within a linking period.
2.2f Company Sick Pay
Employees starting Permanent Employment on or before 30th July 2014:
Following completion of twelve months’ service, and if you have followed the procedures for sickness absence as set out above, then we will bring your income up to full salary (ie basic pay less SSP).
Employees starting Permanent Employment after 30th July 2014:
No Company Sick pay will be payable for the first day of absence. Thereafter, following completion of twelve months’ service, and if you have followed the procedures for sickness absence as set out above, then we will bring your income up to half salary (ie basic pay less SSP).
The length of time that Company Sick pay applies in any 12 month period* is as follows:
1 year and under 2 years up to 2 months (8 weeks)
2 years and under 3 years up to 3 months (12 weeks)
3 years and under 5 years up to 4 months (16 weeks)
5 years and over up to 6 months (26 weeks)
* this being the 12 months retrospective to the most recent day of sickness.
Allowances will be pro-rated for part-time employees.
2.2f.1 Removal from Company Sick Pay
Following a third absence of any duration within a rolling twelve month period, you will be removed from the Company Sick Pay Scheme for a minimum period of 6 months.
To qualify for re-entry to the scheme, you must complete six clear months of attendance with no periods of sickness or unauthorised absence.
2.2g Illness during Holidays
There is no automatic entitlement to additional holidays because of periods of sickness occurring while on holiday, or during Company shutdowns.
If the absence covers a Bank Holiday period, no credit for additional days holiday entitlement will be given.
2.2h Exclusions from Company Sick Pay
You may be excluded from eligibility to Company Sick Pay for any of the following:
Failure to follow notification procedures
Failure to follow medical certification procedures
Failure to comply with procedures for managing absence
Self inflicted injury or illness directly related to drug/alcohol abuse
Injuries resulting from dangerous sports or hobbies
Work or actions inconsistent with your illness while absent from work
Injury caused by other paid work
We have good reason to doubt that your absence is due to illness or injury
During notice periods
This list is not intended to be exhaustive and our decision will be final, after objective consideration of the individual merits of each case
If your sickness or injury is the result of an accident outside of the workplace, e.g. a car accident or incident involving a third party; for which damages or compensation may be recoverable, we will require any sick pay to be repaid once damages have been agreed. Additionally, if your absence is due to illness or injury resulting from activities outside the Company (eg sporting injuries), we reserve the right to investigate the situation and reduce your entitlements under the Company sick pay scheme.
2.2i Industrial Injuries
Industrial injuries must be reported in the accident book on the day of the accident. Retrospective injuries will not be recognised for sick pay.
2.2j Medical Appointments
See Section 2.4 ‘Leave for Special Circumstances’
2.2k Managing Absence
We monitor absence across the Company and will investigate all instances where individual absence exceeds acceptable levels, whether these be on a departmental, company or national basis.
In the case of both short-term and long term sickness absence the following procedures may apply, although as each case is different, action appropriate to the case will be taken so that each instance is considered on its merits.
Home/hospital visits to check on your progress. The HR Manager and/or your Manager will undertake visits. Visits will be by mutually convenient arrangement.
Return-to-work interviews following your return.
Gaining a GP’s report on your current medical condition.
Requesting you undertake an independent medical examination
Asking you to produce a doctor’s certificate for every period of absence.
Should you not co-operate in providing the medical information required by the Company youwill be informed that any decision regarding future employment will be based on information available to the Company at that time.
Monitoring your absence and setting absence improvement targets within a specified timescale. Failure to achieve agreed and acceptable standards of attendance may result in disciplinary action, up to and including termination of employment.
2.2k.1 Long-Term Sickness
We define long-term sickness as a single period of absence or directly linked periods of absence lasting more than 4 weeks. You are required to follow the same notification and medical certification procedures as detailed earlier.
If you are absent for a continuous long period of time or a number of shorter periods due to an underlying medical condition, the company will seek an up-to-date medical report from a GP/Specialist as appropriate.
Should you not co-operate in providing the medical information required by the Company you will be informed that any decision regarding future employment will be based on information available to the Company at that time.
We will follow our procedures for managing absence, in addition:
Consultation will take place with you periodically during your sickness absence.
You will be kept informed if your employment is at risk.
On the basis of a GP’s and/or independent medical report, consideration will be given to reasonable adjustments to your responsibilities, environment and where appropriate, to alternative employment on either a temporary or permanent basis.
Where a return to work date cannot be given and your entitlement to sick pay has expired, a review of your employment situation will be undertaken.
Any decision to terminate your employment will be carried out in accordance with your current contractual and statutory rights.
2.2k.2 Frequent Short-term Absence
Where there is a pattern of unsatisfactory absence/time keeping, a meeting will be arranged to discuss your individual record. If we are not satisfied with the reasons for absence Company sick pay may be delayed until we are satisfied.
If it appears after discussions that there is an underlying medical reason for the absence, the matter will be dealt with as for Long-term Sickness.
If this is not the case, we will discuss with you the need to improve your record and to sustain that improvement within acceptable levels.
In the event of us being dissatisfied with your attendance record or we are satisfied that there is abuse or misrepresentation, you will be liable to be disqualified from receiving sickness benefit.
2.2k.3 Bradford Factor
We use the Bradford Factor to measure absence. This gives more weight to frequent short spells of absence rather than isolated spells. This formula takes into account the number of absences and their duration, measured over a 12 month rolling period and gives a points total as follows:
S x S x D = Bradford Factor (where S equals the number of occasions when there has been an absence, and D equals the actual number of days lost, calculated over the preceding 12 months)
1 absence of 10 days = a Bradford Factor of 10 (1 x 1 x 10)
10 absences of 1 day = a Bradford Factor of 100 (10 x 10 x 1)
The following points may trigger the appropriate action to be taken:
Points & Action
27 or above Counselling/improvement letter
64 or above Verbal warning of an unacceptable situation
125 or above Written warning of an unacceptable situation
216 or above Final written warning of an unacceptable situation
No disciplinary action will be based solely on the Bradford factor. Its purpose is to highlight where repetitive short term absences are occurring and to trigger investigation and potential absence management.
NB In very exceptional cases, where the pattern of absence is of cause for concern but outside the criteria above, appropriate action may be taken and the individual will be given clear guidance on the improvement required. An employee may be accompanied at any formal meeting to discuss his/her attendance/ time keeping by another employee (This right does not extend to return to work discussions.)
2.2l Referrals To A Company Nominated Doctor
The HR Manager will liaise with Line Managers and arrange for you to be referred to the Company Doctor where:
There is a possibility of you carrying out alternative work in order to prevent/minimize lost time from the workplace.
You have been or are likely to be away from work for more than four weeks.
You are returning to work following serious illness/injury or an extended absence.
The sickness absence record indicates that the same or similar reasons are given for periods of absence.
You are absent as a result of an accident, or injury while at work.
2.2m Record Keeping
All non-attendance and the reason will be clearly recorded and securely retained In the HR Department. Pregnancy related absences will not be included in calculating periods of absence.