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Managing Sickness: Supporting Staff policy and procedure

Our policy and procedure for supporting staff with health issues to manage sickness absence and thrive at work.


Policy


Owner
Peter Eley
Version
F+1 4.2
Approval date
19 Oct 2023
Approved by
JUCNC - 19.10.23
Date of last review
05 Aug 2021
Date of next review
Information not provided

Purpose, aims and scope

The purpose of the Managing Sickness, Supporting Staff policy and procedure is to enable employees to work and fulfil their responsibilities, wherever possible, and to provide support where they are affected by health conditions that impact on their role.

The aims of this policy are:

  • to enable the University to provide a supportive environment for employees affected by ill-health and health conditions
  • to ensure sickness absence is managed responsibly, fairly and effectively
  • to encourage and develop a positive culture towards attendance at work, to support and enable employees to undertake their roles wherever possible and to reduce sickness
  • to address frequent short-term absence in a fair and consistent manner in order to minimise operational disruption and effects on team morale and wellbeing
  • to balance the needs of the individual, their colleagues and the operational needs of the department and the University;
  • to manage staff affected by health issues with care, dignity and respect. This includes situations where, unfortunately, a member of staff is no longer fit and able to fulfil their job and/or their level of absence is such that it prevents them from providing their responsibilities to the University
  • to provide a framework which ensures that all employees are managed in line with the Equality Act (2010)

This policy sets out the arrangements for unplanned non-attendance due to ill-health and will be carried out in line with the relevant Health & Safety and Equality legislation, as well as the University of Bath Wellbeing policy.

Further advice is available in the Sickness guidance for employees and Managing Sickness, Supporting Working − Guidance for Managers.

Responsibilities

The Manager has a responsibility to:

  • maintain confidentiality when involved in situations relating to an individual’s health and wellbeing
  • support a positive wellbeing culture and create a healthy working environment
  • discharge the University’s duty of care to the employee
  • work to build trust and act sensitively and respectfully in engaging with staff
  • address health or attendance related issues at the earliest opportunity
  • ensure that employees are aware of arrangements for reporting any unplanned absences
  • take reasonable steps to establish the reasons for absence
  • ensure that all absences are recorded, and medical certification is securely uploaded to the HR Information System
  • maintain reasonable contact during a period of absence
  • hold return to work discussions with employees following a period of absence
  • seek advice and support from their HR Advisor or Business Partner and Occupational Health as required
  • consider advice and implement reasonable adjustments as required
  • monitor absence levels in their team or area
  • follow this policy and the managing sickness procedure
  • comply with the relevant legislation – seeking, considering and following advice and support from Human Resources
  • Remain up to date on policy and practice, engaging positively with development opportunities

The Employee has a responsibility to:

  • attend work and perform their duties unless they are on authorised absence; taking personal responsibility for their own health, wellbeing, and attendance at work
  • raise any health concerns or matters with their line manager at the earliest opportunity where they may impact them at work
  • report their sickness absence and provide fit notes when required in a timely manner in line with University and departmental timescales
  • maintain reasonable contact with their line manager during a period of absence
  • follow this policy and the managing sickness procedure
  • seek advice and support from their HR Advisor, Business Partner or Trade Union representative as required

HR have a responsibility to:

  • support the line manager and/or employee with guidance and advice on the application of the policy and procedures
  • provide absence monitoring information to the line manager
  • provide support with referrals to Occupational Health
  • advise on legislation and case law, including on the consideration of adjustments and whether they are reasonable
  • maintain the Managing Sickness policy and procedure, ensuring that it is in line with best practice
  • provide the input and opportunities for line managers to develop the skills and knowledge to deliver HR policies fairly and effectively

Payroll have a responsibility to:

  • collate all medical certification information and maintain it securely, including the reasons for and lengths of absences
  • administer University sick pay and/or statutory sick pay in line with University policy and certification within required timescales
  • confirm to employees and their managers when University employees are about to transfer into half or nil pay

1. Confidentiality

1.1. Medical information is highly sensitive and University of Bath employees and managers are required to maintain confidentiality when involved in managing, supporting, or advising on situations relating to an individual’s health and wellbeing.

1.2. All records in relation to an employee’s health are confidential and are held in accordance with the Data Protection Act (2018).

2. Sickness payment

2.1. The University values the contribution made by its employees whilst recognising that illness or injury is a normal part of our lives. The University therefore provides occupational sick pay as outlined here:

Grades 2 to 5

Length of service Period of full pay Period of half pay
After 3 months 2 months 2 months
2 to 3 years’ service 3 months 3 months
4 to 5 years’ service 5 months 5 months
After 5 years’ service 6 months 6 months

Grades 6 to 9

Length of service Period of full pay Period of half pay
First 6 months’ service 2 weeks 2 weeks
6 to 12 months’ service 1 month 1 month
After 12 months’ service 6 months 3 months

2.2. If employees are not eligible for occupational sick pay they may still be entitled to statutory sick pay. This is different from the occupational sick pay entitlements above, which are the amounts that the University of Bath provides employees beyond the minimum statutory entitlement. Further information on Statutory Sick Pay can be found on the Government website.

2.3. Entitlement to sick pay (including university sick pay and statutory sick pay) is subject to this policy and procedure and the guidance for employees being followed correctly.

2.4. In exceptional circumstances, the University reserves the right to refuse sick pay (including SSP) to an employee if:

  • they fail to notify their manager of their absence or provide a medical certificate form when required
  • the University has reasonable cause to believe that an employee is not genuinely unwell or that they are abusing the sick pay scheme

3. Reporting an absence

3.1. When an employee is unable to attend work, they should notify their line manager at the earliest opportunity and at least 30 minutes before their start time by speaking directly to their line manager or in line with local arrangements.

3.2. Failure to report an absence may be considered Absence Without Leave ('AWOL'). Where an employee is considered AWOL, their pay will normally be stopped, and they may be investigated under the Disciplinary policy and procedure.

4. Certification

4.1. Where an absence is for less than event calendar days an employee can self-certify their absence by following the reporting process outlined in the Sickness guidance for employees (or local arrangements where these are set and different).

4.2. Absences continuing beyond seven calendar days must be covered by appropriate medical certification − normally a fit note or medical certificate (MED3) from a GP or other specified healthcare professionals*. Certification must be sent to the line manager in good time to ensure that the full period of absence is covered without any gaps. The University may at its discretion require employees to obtain a medical certificate for shorter periods of absence. Backdated fit notes or medical certificates will not be accepted by the University for pay purposes, other than where agreed in wholly exceptional circumstances.

4.3. Where an employee is unwell when overseas and needs to certify their absence, they are required to provide a medical certificate with a certified translation provided. Any costs for this are to be met by the employee (unless it occurs when the employee is overseas on University business).

4.4. Where medical certificates are not received or there is a break in the period covered by their certificates, the employee may be classified as AWOL (see section 3.2).

4.5. A fit note may state that an employee:

a) Is 'not fit for work', in which case the employee should remain off work for the duration of the fit note; or

b) 'May be fit for work', subject to recommendations made by a GP being followed

4.6. Where recommendations are made on a fit note, the University will consider whether the adjustments proposed are reasonable and can be practicably implemented. Where the adjustments are found to be reasonable and can be practicably implemented, they will be actioned to support the employee in returning to work.

4.7. Where it is not practical or reasonable to accommodate proposed adjustments, the employee will be treated as in 4.5a, is 'not fit for work'.

  • From 6 October 2023 state-registered nurses, occupational therapists, pharmacists and physiotherapists are also eligible to certify a fit note (MED3)

5. Returning to work

5.1. Employees should normally report to their line manager before they return to work following any period of absence.

5.2. Line managers should arrange to meet with an employee following an absence to carry out a return-to-work conversation or interview as soon as is practicably possible following their return to work. Where an employee is returning from long term absence the return-to-work conversation will, where possible, take place in advance of their return so that any potential adjustments can be discussed.

6. Managing employee sickness

6.1. The purpose of the Managing Sickness procedure is to support employees in maintaining their attendance at work.

6.2. It is important to note that sickness absence may be a symptom of or mask other issues (such as domestic abuse, childcare or other care issues or crises, substance misuse, bullying and harassment at work or home). Line managers should talk individually with employees about their sickness absence and should aim to create a safe, supportive and trusting environment and show care in asking sensitively and empathetically if there are any other reasons behind their absence.

7. Types of absence

7.1. For the purpose of managing sickness under this policy, all sickness related absence will fall into one of these two categories:

  1. Short-term sickness absence is defined as sporadic episodes of sickness, normally without an identified underlying health cause.
  2. Long-term sickness absence is defined as a period of sickness, normally with an underlying health cause which: normally lasts for more than four weeks continuously or affects an employee periodically only, but with a single diagnosed medical cause linked to a chronic long-term medical condition.

8. Managing sickness procedures

8.1. Line managers should attempt to resolve sickness issues informally and expediently whenever possible.

8.2. It is important that meetings about any employee's health are handled sensitively, supportively and confidentially so that the employee feels able to raise any reasons which may be contributing to their sickness absence and any actions which might help with these.

Short-term sickness absence procedure

9. Absence within a twelve-month rolling period

9.1 As a guideline or standard, where an employee has within a twelve-month rolling period:

  • four or more occasions of absence, or
  • four or more occasions of absence and/or more than 12 days (pro-rata for part time employees) − for identified operational departments,*

this will normally lead to a conversation under Stage 1 of the short-term absence procedure.

* Campus Services, Estates, DD&T, DSDR and Technical Services.

10. Stage 1: informal monitoring procedure

10.1. Where an employee’s absences reaches the absence level outlined in 9.1, the line manager should review their sickness absence record and arrange to meet the employee on a confidential basis to explore any concerns about their attendance with them. The aim of this is to help understand what may be causing the absence and assist the employee to resolve the causes and improve their attendance at work.

10.2. During this meeting the following points will normally be discussed:

  1. Each absence that has occurred including dates, length, reason to understand the reason behind each absence.
  2. Any medical information or documentation provided during or after the absence.
  3. Any concerns that exist around the timings of the absence (any patterns forming).
  4. Any support that the employee might need in improving their attendance.
  5. Any commitment from the employee of actions they will be taking to address any underlying reasons for absence.
  6. Any other relevant matters.
  7. Any actions from the employer or department that may assist the employee to improve their attendance.
  8. Any work-related causes for some or all of the absences that may be addressed.
  9. Timescales for improvements in attendance and implications of not improving.

10.3. The line manager will consider the information discussed and determine whether it is appropriate to initiate an informal monitoring process.

10.4. Where an informal monitoring process is initiated, the manager will inform the employee of the expected level of attendance required from them going forward, referring to 9.1 and will set a review period with them in line with 10.5. Employees are reminded that while the meetings are informal, they may seek advice outside of the informal meetings from their accredited trade union representative.

10.5. During the short-term monitoring process a review period of 12 months with quarterly review meetings will normally be set to assess whether or not attendance has improved to a satisfactory level. It may be appropriate to meet more frequently if attendance continues to cause concern.

10.6. A record of the meeting will be kept and shared with the employee. The employee will be asked to confirm the accuracy of the record or suggest amendments.

10.7 If, at the end of the review period, attendance has improved to a satisfactory level, then no further action will be required, and this will be confirmed to the employee during the final review meeting and in writing.

10.8 If, during the course of the short-term monitoring process, an employee declares that they have an underlying health condition, then the long-term monitoring process should normally be initiated, and line managers should seek advice from Human Resources to determine the most appropriate course of action.

10.9 If the employee’s attendance has not reached sufficient sustained improvement within the monitoring period, the manager will review all of the information provided to date throughout the process and decide whether to move to a formal monitoring process (Stage 2).

11. Notification process for formal meetings (for short-term and long-term procedures)

11.1. Where a formal meeting is being arranged, the employee will be given at least five working days’ notice of the meeting date and invited to the meeting in writing.

11.2. The employee will be notified of their right to be represented or accompanied by a 'workplace companion' (an accredited trade union representative or fellow employee).

11.3. The formal meeting will only be re-arranged at the request of any of the parties in the following circumstances:

  • they provide a good reason for not being able to attend
  • their workplace companion cannot attend the arranged date

11.4. If the formal meeting needs to be re-arranged must normally be held within two working days of the proposed previous date. They will be expected to attend the revised meeting unless there are exceptional circumstances preventing them from attending. If they are unable to attend, they should advise their line manager as soon as is reasonably practicable before the meeting is due to take place. If the employee unreasonably fails to attend the rearranged meeting it will take place in their absence.

11.5. The process set out in this section (section 11) applies to formal meetings held under both the short term and long-term procedures including formal review meetings, stage 3 formal meetings and appeals meetings.

12. Stage 2: formal monitoring process

12.1. If there has been insufficient improvement in the employee’s attendance, the manager will meet formally with the employee to decide on appropriate action in line with paragraph 12.5. The manager will convene a formal meeting under this procedure.

12.2. This meeting will be chaired by the line manager, who will normally be supported and advised by a member of Human Resources.

12.3. The employee has the right to be represented or accompanied by a 'workplace companion' (trade union representative or fellow employee).

12.4. Ahead of the meeting an attendance report will be produced and shared with the employee (and their work companion where identified) in advance of the meeting. During the meeting the following points will normally be considered:

  • the employee’s attendance record during the review period
  • the reasons why the employee's attendance has not improved
  • any medical or other relevant information provided
  • any support requested by and provided to the employee during the review period
  • the impact of the absences on the department
  • any other relevant information, including any further actions that may assist the required improvement in attendance

12.5. The line manager will review all of the information that has been provided and determine what the appropriate action (or any) should be taken:

  • issue a formal warning and implement a formal monitoring process including a timescale and arrangements for review meetings or;
  • defer the decision pending further medical or other information or;
  • referral to the long-term sickness absence procedure or;
  • that no action is taken

12.6. Where a formal warning for short-term sickness absence is issued to an employee it will remain current on their file for 24 months and a formal monitoring and review period will be set with the employee in line with point 10.5.

12.7. The outcome of the meeting will be issued in writing to the employee along with the notes or transcript of the meeting.

12.8. The employee will be advised of their right to appeal the outcome.

12.9. If, at the end of the formal review period, the employee’s attendance has improved to a satisfactory level then no further formal action will be required, and this will be confirmed to the employee during the final review meeting and in writing. Agreed ongoing adjustments and support as applied, will continue and the employee's absence will return to being monitored in the same way as other employees.

12.10. If during the period that a written warning is on file the employee’s absence returns to a level that exceeds the University’s trigger points and it is necessary to recommence the formal monitoring process, then it will recommence at Stage 2.

12.11. If the employee’s attendance has not reached sufficient sustained improvement within the period, the manager will review all of the information provided to date throughout the process and decide whether to move Stage 3: formal meeting.

13. Stage 3: formal meeting

13.1. If, following a Stage 2: formal monitoring process there has been insufficient improvement in the employee's attendance, a further formal meeting will be arranged.

13.2. The formal meeting will be chaired by a nominated senior manager who will be supported and advised by a member of Human Resources.

13.3. The employee has the right to be represented or accompanied by a 'workplace companion' (an accredited trade union representative or fellow employee).

13.4. The line manager will attend to explain the process followed to-date and may be accompanied by a member of Human Resources (normally the individual who supported them during the monitoring process).

13.5. The employee will be given the opportunity to explain the reasons for their absence and produce any supportive evidence.

13.6. During the meeting the chair will listen to both the employee's reasons for their absence(s) and the process the line manager has followed to-date. If after reviewing the evidence, they conclude that:

  1. The employee has made sufficient improvement then the monitoring period will come to an end. The employee's absence will continue to be monitored in the same way as other employees. If during the period that a written warning is on file the employee’s absence returns to a level that exceeds the University’s trigger points and it is necessary to recommence the formal monitoring process, then it will recommence at Stage 2.

  2. There are exceptional circumstances that mean the employee has not been given sufficient reasonable opportunity, then a further review period will be set. The employee will be given a final warning, which will remain on their file for 24 months from the date of the meeting, and if they fail to improve their attendance a formal hearing will be reconvened.

  3. The employee's absences due to ill-health and failure to achieve the expected or identified level of attendance have been managed fairly, the expected or identified level of attendance was fair and achievable, and that the employee has been given all reasonable opportunity to improve their attendance to an acceptable standard but failed to do so, then unfortunately the employee's employment will need to be terminated with the appropriate notice due to their failure to meet an acceptable level of attendance.

13.7. If during the Stage 3 meeting it becomes clear that there is an underlying medical condition that is causing the absence, then the process would move to one under the long-term sickness absence procedure (see section 15).

13.8. The outcome of the meeting will be issued in writing to the employee along with the notes or transcript from the meeting.

13.9. The employee will be informed of their right to appeal the outcome.

14. Stage 4: Appeal process

14.1. Employees can appeal written warnings or dismissal by writing to the Director of Human Resources within 10 working days of the receipt of their formal letter. The grounds for the appeal should be clearly stated.

14.2. The appeal meeting will, where possible, be held within four weeks of the appeal being lodged.

14.3. Appeals against a written warning will be heard by the Head of Department or a nominated senior manager who has previously not been involved with the case. Where there is no appropriate person within the Department, an independent Head of Department or Senior Manager will be appointed. If the original formal meeting was held at Head of Department level, the Director of the Service or Dean of Faculty or School should hear the appeal. A member of Human Resources will be present to advise on proceedings.

14.4. The employee has the right to be represented or accompanied by a 'workplace companion' (an accredited trade union representative or fellow employee).

14.5. An appeal against dismissal or termination of employment will be heard by a panel of three members chaired by a Pro-Vice-Chancellor, Chief Operating Officer or an executive board member and be advised by the Director of Human Resources or a nominated deputy.

14.6. After the appeal meeting, the manager hearing the appeal will, after satisfying them self that all the relevant information has been gathered and properly considered, advise the appellant in writing the outcome of the appeal. There is no further level of internal appeal.

The long-term sickness absence procedure

15. Managing long-term absences and underlying health conditions

15.1. Where an employee has continuous or periodic absences related to an underlying health condition that may impact them at work, and/or their absence lasts for more than four weeks, this would be defined as long-term absence and would come under this procedure. In this situation, their line manager should seek to confirm the employee’s medical position and ascertain the expected length of absence and/or impact on their role.

15.2. Managers should seek the advice of their HR Advisor or Business Partner in cases of long term-sickness absence in line with paragraph 15.1, and in particular, if there is an indication that an employee's health issue may be work related.

15.3. The manager and employee should maintain regular contact during long periods of absence. Ongoing contact is an important means of support and has been shown to have a significant impact on the likelihood an employee making a successful return to work. The method and regularity of such contact should be agreed between the manager and employee.

15.4. The employee is expected to keep their line manager informed of any changes, progress or updates from medical consultations or the expected duration of their absence.

15.5. Where an employee is absent from work or has periodic absences due to a diagnosed medical condition, the line manager will discuss this with them and consider any medical advice that has been provided to identify and put in place support that might assist them in returning/improving their attendance.

15.6. In order to best support an employee, the manager may seek specialist medical advice by referring them to Occupational Health, a Health & Safety advisor from within the University, and/or a medical specialist nominated by the University (such as the employee’s consultant).

15.7. In order for the University to take medical advice into account, the employee will need to consent to the referral or assessments requested and authorise disclosure to the University of the advice given.

15.8. If an employee chooses to decline to be referred to Occupational Health, or other relevant service, or not to authorise the release of the advice from the referral or appointment, then the line manager and the University are unlikely to be able to take any medical or health reasons into account in the management of their absence from work, or to consider any reasonable adjustments to support the employee.

15.9. Where the medical advice confirms that the employee can return to their current role with adjustments, or that adjustments would support the employee in improving their attendance, these will be considered by the line manager, with advice and support from Human Resources and/or Health & Safety Advisor, to determine whether they can be reasonably and practicably implemented. Possible adjustments will always be considered carefully. It is emphasised that this consideration is a requirement if the condition suffered by the employee is deemed to amount to a disability under the Equality Act (2010).

15.10. The line manager should review their employee’s sickness absence record and consider whether to invite the employee to a formal review meeting as part of the long-term sickness absence procedure. It is important that the meet with the employee either informally or formally. The manager should seek advice from their HR Advisor or Business Partner and consider the medical advice that has been provided prior to arranging an informal or formal review meeting.

16. Formal review meeting – long-term sickness absence procedure

16.1. The purpose of this meeting is to understand the employee’s health, how any condition may be affecting them at work and contributing to their absence and how we can support them, wherever possible, to return and fulfil their role. The manager should hold the meeting in a sensitive and supportive way so that the employee feels able to discuss their health condition and any arrangements that might assist them in returning to work or improving their attendance. There may be a number of formal review meeting.

16.2. Where employees are invited to a formal review meeting under the long-term sickness absence process it will be in line with the notification process outlined in section 11, identifying that this meeting is under the long-term sickness absence procedure.

16.3. The meeting will normally be chaired by the line manager, and a member of Human Resources will normally be present to provide advice and support.

16.4. The employee has the right to be represented or accompanied by a 'workplace companion' (an accredited trade union representative or fellow employee).

16.5. During the review meeting the following points will normally be considered:

  • the employee's underlying health condition, where relevant, and its impact on them at work and the likely period of their absence
  • the medical or occupational health advice provided to-date and the impact of the health condition on the employee’s ability to fulfil their role and
  • any reasonable adjustments that are already in place and what further reasonable adjustments could be made to assist the employee in returning to work or to improve their attendance (for example, a phased return, amended job duties, altered hours of work, or workplace adaptations). ACAS guidance on reasonable adjustments is useful in considering what is a reasonable adjustment
  • a plan for next steps to support recovery and return to work

16.6. The focus of the meeting is on supporting the member of staff to be able, wherever possible, to sustainably return to work and fulfil their role. Where the medical or occupational health advice gives a prospect of recovery to a level that they could fulfil their job role (with reasonable adjustments if possible) within a reasonable timeframe the line manager should:

  • look to support their return, including wherever appropriate, considering any adjustments identified and determining whether these can be reasonably and practicably implemented
  • from this, they should aim to agree a return-to-work date with the employee with an identified plan of adjustments, where these can reasonably be applied

16.7. There may be a number of formal review meetings over time between the employee and their line manager (with attendance as per 16.3 and 16.4) as their health condition progresses and potentially changes.

16.8. Where the medical or occupational health advice confirms that:

  • a return to the employees existing role, within a reasonable timeframe, is not deemed possible due to the nature of the individual’s condition or circumstances
  • there are no, or no further, adjustments that can be reasonably or practicably implemented and the employee is not fit to return to their current post; and/or
  • an employee has periodic periods of absence due to an underlying health condition, which are not sustainable

then the line manager will need to decide, with advice and support from Human Resources, the appropriate course of action:

a) defer a decision pending further medical information

b) initiate a monitoring review period to review the impact of the condition and adjustments on attendance

c) consider redeployment, flexible working or retirement options

d) consider any other actions short of dismissal; and/or

e) referral to a formal sickness meeting (see section 19), which may lead to the termination of employment on health or capability grounds

16.8 The line manager may decide to set a period to review the impact of the condition and adjustments on attendance. In this situation an adjusted attendance target would be set, with input from the employee, for a defined review period as part of the long-term sickness absence procedure. This will help to quantify and determine if the adjustments implemented are positively affecting the employee’s attendance and their ability to fulfil their role and a sustainable level of attendance.

16.9 Review periods under the long-term sickness procedure will be set for an appropriate period to test the adjustments, with meetings being held as appropriate to review the adjustments and their impact.

16.10 Where an adjusted attendance target is set for an employee, the manager will review the medical evidence provided and consider whether any adjustments identified or existing adjustments revised can be reasonably implemented to support the employee in sustaining their attendance at work.

16.11 In setting an attendance target the manager will consider the medical information provided and what level of absence the department or team can reasonably sustain, with support from Human Resources. This may include consideration of factors such as the nature of the individual’s role, availability of cover and the impact on commercial outcomes or customers.

16.12 The outcome of the meeting will be issued in writing to the employee along with the notes or transcript of the meeting.

16.13 If, at the end of the monitoring period the employee’s attendance has improved to within the identified standards to a sustainable level, then this will be confirmed to them in the final review meeting and outcome confirmed in writing.

16.14 If the employee’s attendance has not reached sufficient and sustained level within the agreed period, the employee will be invited to a formal review meeting and the line manager will review the progress to date and any relevant medical information to determine whether the monitoring and review period should be extended or another option under point 16.7 should be considered.

17. Redeployment

17.1. Where possible the University will try to retain the employee. Redeployment involves transferring the employee to a suitable alternative position in their department or elsewhere in the University (taking into account the essential criteria including qualifications and skills required for the post and their personal abilities) which they will be fit to fulfil. To redeploy an employee in this situation there does need to be an already existing vacancy; the University cannot create a role for an employee where one does not exist. The redeployment will be on the terms and conditions appropriate to the redeployment post.

17.2. The employee is expected to play an active role in identifying any suitable redeployment opportunity and will have priority status under the redeployment process.

17.3. A trial period of four weeks will normally be applied to assess whether the redeployment position offered is appropriate and the employee can perform the duties required. If the new post being trialled is at a lower grade the employee will remain on their higher salary for the period of the trial and then move onto the lower salary of the redeployment post from the end of the four week trial period.

18. Ill Health retirement and termination due to incapability due to ill health

18.1 Where, unfortunately, all options for their return to work have been exhausted and it is concluded that the employee is unfit to return to work and fulfil their role or to maintain an adjusted sustainable level of attendance to their post in the University for the foreseeable future, their employment may be terminated on the grounds of incapability due to ill health.

18.2 In the case of paragraph 18.1, the employee may be eligible to apply for an ill health retirement pension which will facilitate the early release of their benefits. Depending on the pension scheme requirements, this may require the demonstration that the employee is permanently incapable of returning to their post or other employment in the University. Their application must be supported by Occupational Health evidence. Whilst the University is not obliged to support ill health retirement in all such cases and has no obligation to do so prior to terminating their employment as set out section 19, it will consider applications where these are supported by Occupational Health evidence, subject to the rules of the appropriate pension scheme.

19. Formal long-term sickness absence meeting regarding possible termination of employment

19.1 The formal meeting will be chaired by a senior manager, normally from within the same department, who has not previously had involvement with the process, and they will be advised and supported by a member of Human Resources.

19.2 The line manager will attend to explain the process to-date and answer any questions and may be accompanied by a member of Human Resources (normally the individual who supported them during the formal process).

19.3 The employee has the right to be represented or accompanied by a 'workplace companion' (an accredited trade union representative or fellow employee).

19.4 During the formal meeting they will be given the opportunity to explain their situation and produce any supportive evidence.

19.5 During the meeting the chair will listen to both the employee's reasons for their absence(s) and the process the line manager has followed to-date. If, after reviewing the evidence, the chair concludes that:

  • the employee's absence due to ill-health has been managed fairly and;
  • the employee is not able to fulfil their post and/or maintain a sustainable level of attendance to do so and;
  • all reasonable adjustments have been considered and, where possible, made and;
  • all options for the employee’s return to work have been exhausted and ill health retirement is not applicable or has been turned down by the pension scheme then they may decide to give notice of the termination of the employee’s employment for reasons of (in)capability due to ill-health

19.6 The employee will be entitled to raise an appeal in line with the process set out in section 14.

20.Additional general matters

20.1. Medical appointments should where reasonably practicable be booked outside of the employees normal working hours. Where this is not practicable, paid time off will be granted. Where medical appointments are in work time the employee should inform their line manager and provide them with as much advance notice as possible. Employees must ensure that as little disruption as possible to the working day is caused by medical appointments, for example, by booking appointments at the start or end of the day.

20.2. Sickness as a result of an accident and related third party claims. Where an absence arises from an accident including where damages may be recoverable from a third party, the following arrangements apply:

  • the University may, having regard to the circumstances of the case, make a payment to the employee as an advance, of a sum not exceeding their total sick pay entitlement. This advance will be subject to the employee undertaking to refund from any damages received as a result of the accident the total costs to the University of paying such an advance or such part thereof as the University may, having regard to the amount of damages received, determine after consulting with an employee or their representative
  • if the accident is covered by a personal accident insurance policy, such as holiday insurance, the employee shall similarly have a duty to claim against that policy to recover University’s costs in providing such an advance
  • employees making or involved in a claim should bring the arrangements within this section (20.2) to the attention of their insurer or solicitor at the earliest possible opportunity. This should enable the University’s requirements to be taken account of within the claim
  • the requirement to refund the advance or part thereof from damages received should not extend to any sum awarded by the Criminal Injuries Compensation Board

21.Guidance documents

21.1.Sickness guidance for employees and Managing sickness, supporting working − guidance for managers have been developed to guide both managers and employees through this process by providing a concise overview of what to expect and consider.

Document control

Owner: Richard Brooks/Peter Eley
Version number: Final - minor revision to para 4.2 agreed at JUCNC 19.10.2023 Approval date: 12 August 2021
Approved by: JUCNC
Date of last review: August 21

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