What absence policies need to contain
Posted on 15th February 2020 at 18:22
Organisations should have a clear policy that supports their business objectives and culture, and explains the rights and obligations of employees when absent due to sickness. The law requires employers to provide staff with information on any terms and conditions relating to incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, including any provision for sick pay.
The policy should:
provide details of contractual sick pay terms and their relationship with statutory sick pay
explain when and who employees should notify if they are not able to attend work
include when (after how many days) employees need to fill in a self-certificate form
contain details of when employees need to provide a fit note from their doctor
explain how any review or trigger point system used by the employer operates
say that the organisation reserves the right to require employees to attend an examination by a company doctor or occupational health professional and (with the individual's consent) to request a report from the employee’s doctor
include provisions for return-to-work interviews
explain that adjustments may be appropriate to assist the employee in returning to work as soon as is practicable
give guidance on absence during major or adverse events (for example, snow, pandemics or popular sporting events such as the Olympic Games or World Cup).
In April 2010, the ‘fit note’ replaced the ‘sick note’, though the system is being reviewed – read the blog Is the fit note fit for purpose?
When completing a fit note a doctor has the choice between two options:
not fit for work
may be fit for work.
If the doctor selects ‘may be fit for work’, one of the following four options should also be selected:
phased return to work
The doctor then has the option to make any additional comments.
Employers should arrange to meet with an employee who is assessed as ‘may be fit for work’ to discuss appropriate ways to manage the return-to-work process and support the employee by making adjustments.
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