Argyll and Bute Council values the contribution of its staff in the delivery and maintenance of quality services to the community. Whilst recognising that employees may be prevented from attending work through ill health, the Council has a duty to maintain service delivery and minimise disruption. The Council is therefore committed to managing attendance and sickness absence and believes that it is the responsibility of the Council’s managers, trade union representatives and employees to work together to promote the management of sickness absence and ill health.
Sickness absence will be dealt with in a way that is non discriminatory and in accordance with the Council’s equal opportunities policy. Employees will be dealt with consistently and the sickness absence procedures will be fairly applied across the Authority. Sickness absence cases will be conducted with respect for confidentiality and in accordance with the requirements of the Data Protection and Access to Medical Reports Acts.
As an employee you are expected to:
- Attend work unless unfit to do so.
- Raise concerns with your line manager if you believe your job is making you ill or contributing to illness.
- Report sickness absence promptly, in accordance with the Maximising Attendance procedure.
- Ensure that the appropriate certifications are completed
- Maintain contact with your manager during periods of sickness absence
- Co-operate fully with the Council’s Occupational Health
- Physicians and other organisations that provide support to the Authority and its’ employees.
- Ensure that medical advice and treatment, where appropriate, is received as quickly as possible in order to facilitate a return to work.
- Not knowingly abuse the Managing Attendance procedures or sick pay schemes.
Notification and Certification Procedures
On each occasion of sickness absence, employees must comply with the Council’s notification and certification requirements. Failure to comply with these without reasonable explanation will result in entitlement to Statutory Sick Pay and/or Occupational Sickness Allowance for all or part of the absence being forfeited. For further details please refer to the Absence Line guidance or contact the Attendance team for further information.
In certain circumstances where abuse of the sick pay regulations is suspected, the employee may be required by the Council to submit a “Statement of Fitness for Work” (“Fit Note”) from the first day of each period of absence, at the Council’s expense. Where the Line Manager deems this action applicable following discussion with Human Resources, it will be confirmed in writing to the employee.
If the employee believes their absence may have been caused by something that happened at work they should inform their Line Manager of this and arrange for an Accident Report Form PER/S/100C to be completed.
Where an employee is absent for more than three days as a result of a work related injury, an F2508 form must also be completed and sent to the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) with a copy being sent to the Council’s Health & Safety Manager.
Whilst absent, you should maintain regular telephone contact with your line manager.
Return to Work
Upon your return to work, your line manager will arrange to meet with you privately, ideally during your first day back, or within 3 days of your return. Where a face-to-face meeting is impracticable, contact will be by telephone.
The purpose of the meeting is to welcome you back to work, ensure that there is an accurate record of your absence, and appropriate certification, and to update you on work issues. Your line manager can also provide you with information on sources of support.
If your absence meets one of the following trigger points (pro rata for part time employees), your line manager will review your attendance with you:
- Three or more instances of sickness absence in a twelve month rolling period, irrespective of the length of absence. (This period may be extended for the purposes of invoking the next stage of the Procedure where a recurring pattern or trend begins to emerge out with the rolling reference period);
- Ten or more cumulative calendar days of sickness absence within a 12 month rolling period. (This period may be extended for the purposes of invoking the next stage of the Procedure where a recurring pattern or trend begins to emerge out with the rolling reference period);
- Any noted pattern of absence e.g. Mondays and Fridays, or before, or after, leave;
- Continuous absence of more than four weeks (28 calendar days);
- Any period of unauthorised absence (failure to comply with notification and certification procedures).
- Where it has been reported that the absence is due to identifiable work-related issues. Examples of this could include medical conditions which are aggravated by working practices, occupational diseases or concerns about workload, working relationships etc;
- Where the reason for the absence is “stress” or a similar condition; or
- Back and/or musculoskeletal related absences
If you reach any of the above triggers, you will be invited to a Attendance Review Meeting to discuss the following:
- Your absence record
- Reasons for absence
- Areas for support
Targets for improvement, and what further action may be taken if improvement targets are not met.
You may be accompanied by your trade union, or other representative, if you so wish.
You will be invited to a follow-up meeting to review progress.
The following outcomes may result:
- Advice may be sought from the Council’s Occupational Health Physician (including a report where appropriate).
- Reasonable adjustments, such as changes to your workload, work practices or work patterns. These arrangements may be temporary or permanent.
- You may be required to submit a medical Fit Note from your doctor for every instance of absence
- Redeployment may be identified in accordance with the Council’s redeployment procedure.
Further meetings will be held with you as required, and you will be advised of the consequences of no improvement in your attendance.
If you are absent on a long-term basis, other options may include:
- Investigation may take place into whether you may be eligible for ill health retirement pension benefits.
- Decisions may be made about your continuing employment.
- Any action being contemplated will be discussed with you and, if you so wish, your representative before any final decisions are made
Support and advice is available from your line manager and from HR at HRadviceenquiries@argyll-bute.gov.uk