It’s enough to make you sick

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It’s enough to make you sick

Many members working in NPS who have first-hand experience of the Attendance Management Policy (PI 01/2017) will be well aware of the draconian and emotionally draining process they are forced to go through when absent from work due to ill-health.

Staff who are absent for up to and more than eight days in a 12-month rolling period (from your last absence) or four spells of sickness absence during a 12-month period will be considered to have “hit a trigger”.  

If you have previously had your trigger point increased, then this does not apply to you at this stage but will if you exceed your trigger.

What to expect when you are unable to attend work because you are unwell.

  1. Your manager must keep in regular contact with you either by telephone, email or visit, and should “adopt a work focused approach” for example what they can do to ensure a speedy return to work. If you are off with a broken leg it may be suggested that you work from home.
  • Your line manager will arrange regular meetings with you during your absence and explain there are two types of meetings; an informal review (after 14 days of continuous absence) and a formal attendance review (FAM) meeting after 28 days of continuous absence and every month thereafter. There is no need to hold an informal review in a month where a FAM is scheduled.
  • The formal meetings will adopt a work focussed approach and discuss medical advice, possible occupational health referral, remind you of the trigger points and bring you up to date with any developments happening at work. If it is a long-term absence, for example more than six months, then consideration should be given whether you are referred for ill health retirement, downgrade or dismissal on the grounds of medical inefficiency.
  • When you return to work the manager must hold a return to work discussion (this occurs after every period of absence) on the day they return or as soon as possible. At this meeting previous periods of sickness absence will be discussed. If you have reached or exceeded your trigger, then a formal unsatisfactory meeting is held. At this meeting a decision will be made whether to issue you with a warning.  The only exceptions where warning must not be issued is if you are absence due to pregnancy related illness, if you contracted a disease or have been assaulted whilst undertaking your duties.
  • If you are issued with a warning you will be informed that future absences will be closely monitored and you will be subject to a three-month improvement period. During the three months you must not exceed more that 25% of your trigger for example if your trigger is eight days then you must not have more than two days’ sickness absence during that three-month period. If you do, the employer can decide to extend your Improvement Period for a further three months. If there are no further periods of sickness absence, then you will be subject to a 12-month Sustained Improvement Period and your triggers return to eight days. In reality this is a 15-month period whereby you must sustain your attendance at work.

If you have any questions or need advice about your sickness absence, contact your local branch or Napo HQ

Siobhan Forman
National Vice-Chair

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