Policy

For further details please refer to the full sickness absence policy and the temporary COVID adjustments:

Log your absence - login to teamseerLogin to TeamSeer

This page details guidance for staff and managers on sickness absence. Please refer to the College policy, which can be downloaded from the box to the right, for a comprehensive detailing of the policy and process. Please also review the temporary adjustments that have been implemented as a result of COVID. Also in the to the right. 

To log an absence, please use the highlighted button to the right-hand side. These can be used by both staff and managers and will take you through to the College's "leave and absence management system" - TeamSeer. In other words, it is a system that electronically records absences for staff and allows managers to monitor and approve (where appropriate) their team's requests.

If you are still unsure of the sickness absence process, following reading the policy and guidance detailed on this page. Please contact the HR Staff Hub, who will be able to provide help and advice. 

Staff guidance

What are my responsibilities when I am sick?

  • When you are unwell, you are required to make contact with your line manager within the first hour of your normal start time. You should confirm the nature of your sickness absence, likely duration and any urgent work which may need to be completed in your absence. 
  • You must agree with your manager how often you will provide an update on your continued sickness absence.
  • You will also need to log your absence in TeamSeer, or a colleague can do this on your behalf if necessary.
If you are sick for 8 calendars or more:
  • You are required to provide your manager with a copy of your medical Statement of Fitness for Work which is issued by your GP.  This must be provided to your line manager without delay as it may affect your entitlement to the College’s sick pay.
  • If your absence is expected to, or lasts longer than originally anticipated, you must ensure that your Statements of Fitness for Work have no gaps between them (i.e. if one statement expires on 16th February and your absence is expected to continue beyond this date your next statement must start no later than 17th February).

What am I entitled to when I am unwell and unable to attend work?

Sick pay entitlement
  • During your first year, one month at full pay and then one month at half pay
  • During your second and third year, three months at full pay and then three months at half pay
  • During your fourth year and beyond, six months at full pay and then six months at half pay
Further information on entitlement
  • The College’s sick pay entitlement allows you time off work to recuperate or return to work on a gradual basis following sick leave without the added worry of the financial implications of the sickness absence.
  • The College will pay sick pay which ranges from one month to six months full pay and followed by half pay of up to six months, dependent on length of service and following the correct sickness procedure.
  • All sickness absence will count as continuous service and staff will continue to accrue their annual leave entitlement during periods of sickness.  College closures days cannot be accrued and therefore staff are unable to reclaim these during periods of sickness absence.
  • The College sick pay scheme incorporates the provisions of the Statutory Sick Pay Scheme. No combination of payments will exceed normal contractual full pay. Enhanced sick pay benefits are calculated on the first day of each absence and take into account the number of days of sickness absence already taken within the previous 12 months.

What are my manager’s responsibilities when I am sick?

Your manager is responsible for effectively managing the sickness process. This includes:

  • Advising you of how to notify us of your absence.
  • Communicating requirements to you of your statement of fitness for work or any other reporting required.
  • Supporting you upon and preparing you for your return from sick leave. 
  • Confirming your absence or reporting it in the absence management system, TeamSeer.
  • Communicating your requirements with relevant parties, such as HR or Occupational Health as required.
  • Advising you of support available to you [such as the College’s confidential counselling service, Confidential Care, or Occupational Health]

What types of sickness absence are there and how are they identified?

There are two types of absences:

1) Short-term absence

Short-term absence is described as being absent from work through sickness or injury on a number of occasions over a rolling 12 month period, or absences which fall into a pattern over the same period. 

2) Long-term absence

Long-term absence is described when a staff member has been, or are expected to be absent from work for more than four consecutive weeks. 

How is sickness absence manged?

There are two approaches to managing sickness absence – informal and formal and your manager is responsible for monitoring sickness.  The College uses the Bradford score index to assist with monitoring sickness absence levels.

What is the Bradford Score Index and how is it used?

The Bradford Score Index is the total number of days absent multiplied by the number of episodes in the preceding 12 months squared.  As examples:

  • 30 days absence on one occasion is calculated with a Bradford score of 30 (30x(1x1)
  • 12 days absence on seven occasions is calculated with a Bradford score of 588 (12x(7x7)

The Bradford score is used to determine if your manager should have an informal discussion with you, i.e. a score of 250. A Bradford score which then increases to 350 or more will trigger a formal sickness meeting. 

Informal Stage
  • Concerns in sickness absence are usually triggered by a score of 250 or more.
  • If your manager is concerned about your attendance, they may have an informal 1-2-1 meeting with you to discuss this
  • In line with the College’s objective to support you, when dealing with short-term sickness absence, it is hoped that the informal discussion between you and your manager will address the concerns regarding your sickness absence, however your manager will advise you that if there is no improvement the issue may proceed to the formal stage.
Formal Stage
  •  A Bradford score of 350 or more will trigger a formal sickness meeting (see the Bradford Score index at the FAQ above).  If you are invited to a formal sickness review meeting, you will receive a letter inviting you to the meeting which also outlines your right to represented by a work colleague or trade union representative and what will be discussed at the meeting.  The meeting will normally be chaired by your manager and HR will be present.
  • It is normal but not always necessary for an Occupational Health referral to take place prior to a formal meeting.  It may be necessary to obtain medical advice beforehand.
  • At this meeting you will be asked for your comments on the level of your sickness absence, review any medical advice previously received including details on any workplace adjustments, what further support can be put in place for you in doing your role and/or attending work regularly and finally to discuss the operational impact of your sickness absence.
  • There are several possible outcomes of this meeting:
    • No further action
    • Your manager may decide to issue a formal improvement notice (warning) and the reasons will be outlined in the outcome letter which will follow once the meeting has taken place
    • Dismissal

Workplace adjustments and disability

  • If you have a disability and you make your manager aware of this, they will give careful consideration to any reasonable workplace adjustments that would help your working or sickness situation.
  • If you return to work before an Occupational Health appointment can take place, you should discuss with your manager what interim adjustments (including a phased return to work) can be introduced.
  • Where it is operationally impractical to implement workplace adjustments please get in touch with Occupational Health.
  • For more information on disability support please access the disability support webpages.
 

What happens if my sickness absence continues?

If you do an underlying condition, you may be invited to one or several sickness review meetings.  The purpose of the meeting (s) will be to find out the treatment you are receiving and its effectiveness in assisting with improving your health, the long-term prognosis of your health or wellbeing and sickness absence levels against the operational needs of the department.  You will, of course, be given full opportunity to comment throughout the process.

Where you are unable to return to your role, the possibility of redeployment opportunities or medical retirement may be considered by College. If this were to be the case, it would, of course, be discussed in detail with you.

If two formal notices have been issued, a capability review hearing will be introduced. 

  •  Usually, this happens when the medical advice received indicates that the staff member may not be able to return to their post for the foreseeable future and or redeployment (or any of the recommended workplace adjustments) have not been possible.
  • The purpose of the Capability Review Hearing is for a panel (usually the second line manager and a HR representative) to hear the case and decide whether and for how long the College can support continued employment.
  • In these instances, the staff member will be fully briefed on the reasons why a Capability Review Hearing is being arranged and they can be entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trades union representative.

 

Managers guidance

Bradford Score Index and how it works

The Bradford Score Index is to help establish patterns of sickness and when ongoing sickness needs to be formally looked at. It works by looking at the total number of days absent multiplied by the number of episodes in the preceding 12 months squared.  As examples:

  • 30 days absence on one occasion is calculated with a Bradford score of 30 (30x(1x1)
  • 12 days absence on seven occasions is calculated with a Bradford score of 588 (12x(7x7)

A score of 250 or more should lead to an informal discussion between you and the member of staff to address any concerns regarding the member of staff's sickness absence.

A score of 350 or more will trigger a formal sickness meeting.

 

Your responsibilities

To manage sickness absence, you need to undertake a return to work interview in order to ensure the staff member is able to return to work. If unusual and/or set patterns of absence are identified they should be discussed informally with the member of staff.  It is important to monitor sickness absence for your staff and always bear in mind that an underlying condition, particularly one which is not diagnosed as yet may incur short-term sickness absence.  It is important to support staff members as much as possible whilst balancing with operational needs.

  • You are responsible for supporting a member of staff and effectively managing the sickness process.
  • You are responsible for ensuring that staff are aware of sickness notification and TeamSeer requirements as well as any local sickness reporting arrangements.
  • You are responsible for ensuring that copies of Statements of Fitness for Work (as issued by the individual's GP) are sent to Human Resources without delay.
  • Ensuring clear lines of communication are established on how a member of staff should communicate their sickness absence and provide an update on their continued absence, particularly for long-term sick.  You will also ensure that you will liaise with Human Resources or Occupational Health, as appropriate to ensure a member of staff receives the right level of support.
  • You will advise staff of what support is available to them during their sickness absence, such as referral to Occupational Health or details on the College’s confidential counselling service, Confidential Care.
  • Conducting a return to work meeting with the member of staff after each period of sickness absence, a Sickness absence - return to work meeting checklist will guide you through this.
  • Putting the recommended reasonable workplace adjustments in place.
  • Using the Staying Well (SWELL) Plan to ensure there is a plan to support your member of staff.

Short-term absence

Short-term absence is described as being absent from work through sickness or injury on a number of occasions over a rolling 12 month period, or absences that fall into a pattern over the same period. 

Informal meeting
  • You need to monitor sickness absence for your staff and always bear in mind that an underlying condition, particularly one which is not diagnosed as yet may incur short-term sickness absence.  
  • It is College procedure that a Bradford score index of 250 or more should lead to an informal discussion between you and the member of staff to address any concerns regarding the member of staff's sickness absence.  During this discussion, you can advise them that if there is no improvement the issue may proceed to the formal stage.
  • When preparing for an informal discussion with a member of staff regarding their sickness absence, you can refer to the guidance available in the College’s  People management guidance [pdf].
  • Having this type of meeting can be daunting, so you can discuss how to approach this with your HR representative, role-play with a colleague or contact the Confidential Care Managers advice line for more support. Please call 0800 085 3805 Monday to Friday between 8am - 8pm or email assist@cic-eap.co.uk.
Formal meeting
  • A Bradford score index of 350 or more will trigger a formal sickness meeting.
  • It is normal but not always a requirement for an Occupational Health referral to take place prior to a formal meeting as it may be necessary to obtain medical advice beforehand.
  • As the manager, you will lead the meeting with HR present to support the process and to take notes.  During the meeting, you will ask the member of staff for their comments on the level of their sickness absence and any support they require that may improve this.  In consultation with HR, you will review any medical advice previously received including details on any workplace adjustments, what further support can be put in place for them in doing their role and/or attending work regularly and finally to discuss the operational impact of their sickness absence.
  • There are several possible outcomes of this meeting:
    • No further action
    • You may decide to issue a formal improvement notice (warning) and the reasons will be outlined in the outcome letter which will follow once the meeting has taken place.
    • Dismissal.

Long-term absence

Long-term absence is described when a staff member has been, or are expected to be absent from work for more than four consecutive weeks

Managing long-term sickness absence or recurring short-term sickness absence

The process for dealing with sickness absence depends greatly on the individual’s circumstances, disability and/or long-term health condition.

  • When dealing with long-term sickness absence or recurring short-term sickness absence which is or may be caused by an underlying condition, a sickness meeting will be held to review the situation.
  • If the member of staff does have a disability or underlying condition, one or several sickness review meetings may take place.  The purpose of the meeting (s) will be to find out the treatment the member of staff is receiving and its effectiveness in assisting with improving their health, the long-term prognosis of their health or wellbeing and sickness absence levels against the operational needs of the department.  It is important that the member of staff is given full opportunity to comment on their health and wellbeing.
  • If there is no improvement you may need to consider inviting the member of staff to a Capability Review Hearing.
Workplace adjustments and disability
  • Where a member of staff has a disability, you are required to give full careful consideration to any workplace adjustments.  If in doubt, contact your HR representative, Occupational Health or the Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Centre (EDIC).
  • There may be instances where a member of staff returns to work before an Occupational Health appointment can take place.  In these instances, you should discuss with the member of staff what interim adjustments (including phased return to work) can be introduced.
  • Where it is operationally impractical to implement workplace adjustments for a member of staff who is returning to work following sick leave, further advice must be sought from your Human Resources representative and Occupational Health.

Sickness review meetings

Staff with underlying health issues, as identified by an Occupational Health report, that has incurred long-term absence or recurring short-term absences will meet with their manager to discuss:

  • Their health.
  • Anticipated recovery progress
  • Whether they expect to be able to return to work in the foreseeable future
  • What type of support they feel they need on return to work
  • Explore with the member of staff facilities and adjustments, please see paragraph 6.4
  • If the member of staff has a disability the line manager must give full consideration to their duty to make reasonable adjustments in accordance with the Equality Act 2010.

See the sickness absence policy for more information.

Medical retirement

Where a staff member is unable to return to their role, the College will look at possible redeployment opportunities or medical retirement.  This is of course discussed in more detail with them.

If there is no improvement, the decision to dismiss is seen as a last resort and will only be considered via a Capability Review Hearing. 

A Capability Review Hearing is considered when a staff member has received two formal improvement notices (under the formal short-term absence process) or when they have been given opportunities to comment on their fitness to work and/or the likelihood of returning to work. Usually in these circumstances this happens when the medical advice received indicates that a staff member may not be able to return to their post for the foreseeable future and or redeployment (or any of the recommended workplace adjustments) have not been possible.

The purpose of the Capability Review Hearing is for a panel (usually the second line manager and a HR representative) to hear the case and decide whether and for how long the College can support continued employment.  One of the outcomes of this meeting can be dismissal. In these instances, the staff member will be fully briefed on the reasons why a Capability Review Hearing is being arranged and they can be entitled to be accompanied by a work colleague or trades union representative.