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Browne Jacobson HR for Education 2017 - Workshop 1A - Sickness absence

Browne Jacobson LLP HR for Education Conference 2017 - 4th October Workshop 1A - Gill Martindale and Helen Badger Managing the day to day reality including effective use of an occupational health referral, getting use out of return to work and stage meetings and dismissal in cases involving a disability.

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HR for Education 2017
Sickness absence workshop
Sickness absence
Effective day to day management of employee sickness
Gill Martindale, HR Consultant
Helen Badger, Partner
Join the conversation #BJ_HREd
We will focus on
Taking a strategic approach
Key management tools
Effective use of Occupational Health
Fair dismissals
Dealing with disability
Why is this an issue?
Impact on:
• Pupils outcomes
• Quality of education
• Colleagues
• Finances
• median cost in the public sector
• £789 per employee in 2015
• £835 in 2016
• £522 in 2016 of general workforce
There is some good news
7.6 7.5
8.5
6.3
1
3
5
7
9
2014/15 2015/16 General public
sector 2015/16
General
workforce
2015/16
Number of working teacher days lost to
sickness
Adopting a more strategic approach
Have a plan…
Create a healthy
working culture
Monitoring
and
reporting
Use your
policy to
take action
Focus on
wellbeing
Key management tools
Return to work meetings
• Most common tool to improve
attendance
• Need not be time consuming
• Part of your duty of care
• Reinforces attendance
culture message
• Identifies if hit trigger for
further action
• Evidence to support dismissal
Sickness review meetings
• As a result of hitting short
term or long term triggers
• Formal process
• Warnings issued?
• Right of appeal?
• Evidence to support dismissal
Return to work meetings
Welcome back
Are they fit to
resume duties?
Clarify reason for
absence
Discuss Fit Note (if
applicable)
Is absence likely to
re-occur?
Any support
required
Set expectations
for attendance
Identify any
concerns regarding
attendance
Update on any
changes in the
organisation
Absence meetings
Long term
• Likely date of return
• What alternatives the employee
may wish to explore:
redeployment, retirement
• OH advice where applicable
• Discuss a return to work
programme
• Reasonable adjustments?
• Warning if not able to return to
work?
Short term
• Set out the impact on pupils,
colleagues and the school
• The likelihood of further
absences
• Are changes to the job
required?
• Reasonable adjustments?
• Issue formal warning?
When absence becomes a problem
• Investigate the causes (and likely length of absence for
LTS)
• Obtain medical evidence
• Meet and consult with employee regarding medical
evidence and impact of absence
• Offer right to be accompanied
• Consider reasonable adjustments or alternative
employment
Role of occupational health
Provides advice to management
GP is the patient’s
advocate
OH should take a
more balanced view
You are entitled to follow OH advice, rather than GP’s.
Possible questions for OHU
1. What is their condition and its prognosis?
2. Is the absence work related?
3. What is their current fitness for work?
4. Will they be able to return to work in the foreseeable future?
5. Are they considered disabled under the Equality Act 2010?
6. If so, are there any reasonable adjustments?
7. Is there an underlying medical condition affecting attendance?
8. Is further absence likely?
What you should get from OHU
• Clear and actionable advice
• A response to each question you ask
• An outline of treatment in place
• Recommendations for adjustments
• Recommendations on fitness for work
• Timescales for return to work
• Other support
Dealing with stress
Look at the
causes, not just
the symptoms
Assess
workloads/
organisational
change/excessive
working hours
Consider
relationships
Carry out a risk
assessment
Obtain a medical
opinion from OH
Dealing with stress-related absences
Capability dismissals
Capability is one of the fair reasons for dismissal
Before any capability hearing
– Write to the employee
 Summarise absence history and medical advice
 advise that dismissal might be an outcome
 Date, time location of meeting
 Right to be accompanied
Meet with the employee
– Explain background and purpose of meeting
– Opportunity to raise and address any concerns
– Impact of employee’s absence
– Adjourn if necessary
– Always consider alternatives to dismissal
Appeal meeting
Avoiding employment Tribunal Claims
• Act promptly
• Know the absence policy well, and follow it consistently
• Effective Line Managers
• Keep detailed records and notes of absence
• Perform your return-to-work interviews and review
meetings
• Consider disability and as a consequence reasonable
adjustments
• Gather appropriate medical information
• Don’t pre-judge the outcome of meetings
Dealing with disability
Is the employee disabled?
• Is there a physical/mental impairment?
• What is the effect of the impairment on day-to-day
activities?
• Is it substantial?
• How long is the impairment likely to last?
• Is it likely to recur?
Employer’s duty to disabled workers
1. Direct discrimination
2. Indirect discrimination
3. Discrimination arising from a disability
4. Duty to make reasonable adjustments
Duty to make reasonable adjustments
• What is the provision, criterion or practice (PCP) and what is the
disadvantage?
• What can you do to remove the disadvantage?
• Is it reasonable to expect the employer to make that adjustment in order
to remove the disadvantage?
• Potential adjustments
• Auxiliary aids
• Redeployment
• Modifying trigger points in absence policy
• Modifying grievance and disciplinary procedures
• Redundancy selection
• Sick pay
When might disability become an issue?
• Recruitment
• OH clearance
• Pre-employment questionnaires
• Adjustments for interview processes
• Performance
• Is performance affected by the disability?
• What adjustments can be made?
• Does the employer have to accept poor performance
from a disabled employee?
When might disability become an issue
• Absence
• Recognising a disability
• Easier in cases of long term absence
• Always consider the possibility of underlying
conditions in short term absence cases
• Reasonable adjustments
• Dismissals due to ill health
Dealing with disability – a summary
• Only an ET can determine whether an employee is disabled.
• OH will guide but, if in doubt, manage the employee as if
they are disabled.
• Don’t assume the employee is not disabled unless OH say
they are.
• Duty to make reasonable adjustments is onerous – consider
all suggestions and think creatively
• If you rule out an adjustment, record your reasons
• Don’t be afraid to ask other employees to be flexible
• Tread with caution and take appropriate advice along the
way.
Online resources
www.brownejacobson.com/education
Get in touch
Helen Badger | +44 (0) 121 237 4554
helen.badger@brownejacobson.com
Please note
The information contained in these notes is based on the position at October 2017. It does,
of course, only represent a summary of the subject matter covered and is not intended to
be a substitute for detailed advice. If you would like to discuss any of the matters covered
in further detail, our team would be happy to do so.
© Browne Jacobson LLP 2017. Browne Jacobson LLP is a limited liability partnership.
Gill Martindale| +44 (0)330 045 2110
gill.martindale@brownejacobson.com

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Browne Jacobson HR for Education 2017 - Workshop 1A - Sickness absence

  • 1. HR for Education 2017 Sickness absence workshop
  • 2. Sickness absence Effective day to day management of employee sickness Gill Martindale, HR Consultant Helen Badger, Partner Join the conversation #BJ_HREd
  • 3. We will focus on Taking a strategic approach Key management tools Effective use of Occupational Health Fair dismissals Dealing with disability
  • 4. Why is this an issue? Impact on: • Pupils outcomes • Quality of education • Colleagues • Finances • median cost in the public sector • £789 per employee in 2015 • £835 in 2016 • £522 in 2016 of general workforce
  • 5. There is some good news 7.6 7.5 8.5 6.3 1 3 5 7 9 2014/15 2015/16 General public sector 2015/16 General workforce 2015/16 Number of working teacher days lost to sickness
  • 6. Adopting a more strategic approach Have a plan… Create a healthy working culture Monitoring and reporting Use your policy to take action Focus on wellbeing
  • 7. Key management tools Return to work meetings • Most common tool to improve attendance • Need not be time consuming • Part of your duty of care • Reinforces attendance culture message • Identifies if hit trigger for further action • Evidence to support dismissal Sickness review meetings • As a result of hitting short term or long term triggers • Formal process • Warnings issued? • Right of appeal? • Evidence to support dismissal
  • 8. Return to work meetings Welcome back Are they fit to resume duties? Clarify reason for absence Discuss Fit Note (if applicable) Is absence likely to re-occur? Any support required Set expectations for attendance Identify any concerns regarding attendance Update on any changes in the organisation
  • 9. Absence meetings Long term • Likely date of return • What alternatives the employee may wish to explore: redeployment, retirement • OH advice where applicable • Discuss a return to work programme • Reasonable adjustments? • Warning if not able to return to work? Short term • Set out the impact on pupils, colleagues and the school • The likelihood of further absences • Are changes to the job required? • Reasonable adjustments? • Issue formal warning?
  • 10. When absence becomes a problem • Investigate the causes (and likely length of absence for LTS) • Obtain medical evidence • Meet and consult with employee regarding medical evidence and impact of absence • Offer right to be accompanied • Consider reasonable adjustments or alternative employment
  • 11. Role of occupational health Provides advice to management GP is the patient’s advocate OH should take a more balanced view You are entitled to follow OH advice, rather than GP’s.
  • 12. Possible questions for OHU 1. What is their condition and its prognosis? 2. Is the absence work related? 3. What is their current fitness for work? 4. Will they be able to return to work in the foreseeable future? 5. Are they considered disabled under the Equality Act 2010? 6. If so, are there any reasonable adjustments? 7. Is there an underlying medical condition affecting attendance? 8. Is further absence likely?
  • 13. What you should get from OHU • Clear and actionable advice • A response to each question you ask • An outline of treatment in place • Recommendations for adjustments • Recommendations on fitness for work • Timescales for return to work • Other support
  • 14. Dealing with stress Look at the causes, not just the symptoms Assess workloads/ organisational change/excessive working hours Consider relationships Carry out a risk assessment Obtain a medical opinion from OH
  • 16. Capability dismissals Capability is one of the fair reasons for dismissal Before any capability hearing – Write to the employee  Summarise absence history and medical advice  advise that dismissal might be an outcome  Date, time location of meeting  Right to be accompanied Meet with the employee – Explain background and purpose of meeting – Opportunity to raise and address any concerns – Impact of employee’s absence – Adjourn if necessary – Always consider alternatives to dismissal Appeal meeting
  • 17. Avoiding employment Tribunal Claims • Act promptly • Know the absence policy well, and follow it consistently • Effective Line Managers • Keep detailed records and notes of absence • Perform your return-to-work interviews and review meetings • Consider disability and as a consequence reasonable adjustments • Gather appropriate medical information • Don’t pre-judge the outcome of meetings
  • 18. Dealing with disability Is the employee disabled? • Is there a physical/mental impairment? • What is the effect of the impairment on day-to-day activities? • Is it substantial? • How long is the impairment likely to last? • Is it likely to recur?
  • 19. Employer’s duty to disabled workers 1. Direct discrimination 2. Indirect discrimination 3. Discrimination arising from a disability 4. Duty to make reasonable adjustments
  • 20. Duty to make reasonable adjustments • What is the provision, criterion or practice (PCP) and what is the disadvantage? • What can you do to remove the disadvantage? • Is it reasonable to expect the employer to make that adjustment in order to remove the disadvantage? • Potential adjustments • Auxiliary aids • Redeployment • Modifying trigger points in absence policy • Modifying grievance and disciplinary procedures • Redundancy selection • Sick pay
  • 21. When might disability become an issue? • Recruitment • OH clearance • Pre-employment questionnaires • Adjustments for interview processes • Performance • Is performance affected by the disability? • What adjustments can be made? • Does the employer have to accept poor performance from a disabled employee?
  • 22. When might disability become an issue • Absence • Recognising a disability • Easier in cases of long term absence • Always consider the possibility of underlying conditions in short term absence cases • Reasonable adjustments • Dismissals due to ill health
  • 23. Dealing with disability – a summary • Only an ET can determine whether an employee is disabled. • OH will guide but, if in doubt, manage the employee as if they are disabled. • Don’t assume the employee is not disabled unless OH say they are. • Duty to make reasonable adjustments is onerous – consider all suggestions and think creatively • If you rule out an adjustment, record your reasons • Don’t be afraid to ask other employees to be flexible • Tread with caution and take appropriate advice along the way.
  • 25. Get in touch Helen Badger | +44 (0) 121 237 4554 helen.badger@brownejacobson.com Please note The information contained in these notes is based on the position at October 2017. It does, of course, only represent a summary of the subject matter covered and is not intended to be a substitute for detailed advice. If you would like to discuss any of the matters covered in further detail, our team would be happy to do so. © Browne Jacobson LLP 2017. Browne Jacobson LLP is a limited liability partnership. Gill Martindale| +44 (0)330 045 2110 gill.martindale@brownejacobson.com