3.7      PROCEDURAL STAGES

There are 3 stages within the Supporting Attendance and Wellbeing procedure. Once a trigger level is met an employee will be entered into the first formal stage of the process, Stage 1.  The manager should issue a letter inviting the employee to the Stage 1 Attendance Review Meeting.

 

3.7.1   STAGE 1

 

Stage 1 Attendance Review Meeting

At the Stage 1 Attendance Review Meeting the manager must discuss with the employee the reason(s) for reaching the absence trigger level and agree an attendance improvement plan.  The manager will set a review period during which absence will be monitored and improvements in attendance sought.  It is recommended that the review period is no longer than 12 weeks.

 

Stage 1 Outcome Meeting

At the end of the review period, or at an earlier date if it is evident that the improvement required will not be met, the manager and the employee will meet to discuss attendance during the Stage 1 review period.

There are three potential outcomes to Stage 1;

 

  1. Return to Normal Monitoring
    Applies where the required improvement in attendance has been achieved.  It should be noted that where an employee is unable to sustain their attendance at any point in the next 12 months, the manager has the option to move the employee back into the procedure at the point at which they left i.e. the end of Stage 1.
  1. Extend the review period
    It may be applicable to extend the review period where annual leave or special leave has occurred during a Stage 1 review period; where medical information is not immediately available to inform a decision, or where sickness absence has improved but not enough to justify a return to normal monitoring.
  1. Progression to Stage 2
    Where there has been a further episode(s) of absence or the employee has failed to return to work from a continuous absence during the review period, a caution for unsatisfactory attendance should be issued and the employee moved to Stage 2.

 

3.7.2   STAGE 2

 

Stage 2 Attendance Review Meeting

If a decision is made to commence Stage 2, the Stage 2 Attendance Review Meeting immediately follows the Stage 1 outcome meeting.  The manager must review and, if necessary, amend the attendance improvement plan and will set a review period at Stage 2 during which absence will be monitored and improvements in attendance sought.  It is recommended that the review period is no longer than 12 weeks.

Stage 2 Outcome Meeting

At the end of the review period, or at an earlier date where it is evident that the improvement required will not be met, the manager and the employee will meet to discuss attendance during the Stage 2 review period.

There are three potential outcomes to Stage 2;

  1. Return to Normal Monitoring
    If the required improvement in attendance has been achieved, the employee will be informed that their attendance will no longer be subject to regular review under the Supporting Attendance and Wellbeing procedure. It should be noted that where an employee is unable to sustain their attendance at any point in the next 12 months, the manager has the option to move the employee back into the procedure at the point at which they left i.e. the end of Stage 2.
  1. Extend the Review Period
    It may be applicable to extend the review period where annual leave or special leave has occurred during a Stage 2 review period; where medical information is not immediately available to inform a decision or where sickness absence has improved but not enough to justify a return to normal monitoring.
  1. Progression to Stage 3
    It would be appropriate to issue a final caution and progress to Stage 3 of the procedure in the following circumstances;
  • No Underlying Medical Condition – If no underlying medical condition has been identified to explain the reason that improvement in attendance has not been achieved.
  • Underlying Medical Condition – If absence relates to an underlying medical condition, reasonable and practical adjustments have been considered and implemented (where appropriate) and the level of absence is unsustainable.
  • Continuous Absence of more than 4 weeks – If the employee is currently absent and the medical evidence suggests that they may be unlikely to return to work within a reasonable timescale, with or without reasonable adjustments. Before progressing to Stage 3, redeployment and ill health retirement, where applicable (see section 4.0), must be investigated and ruled out as alternatives.

 

3.7.3   STAGE 3

Stage 3 Attendance Review Meeting

If a decision is made to commence Stage 3, the Stage 3 Attendance Review Meeting immediately follows the Stage 2 outcome meeting.  The manager must review and, if necessary, amend the attendance improvement plan and will set a further period of review at Stage 3.   The duration of this further review is at the manager’s discretion; however, it is recommended that this is no more than 12 weeks and can be for a shorter period where the medical evidence suggests that the employee is unlikely to be able to improve their attendance within a reasonable timescale.

At the end of the Stage 3 review period, a report will be prepared by the manager who has managed the employee’s absence(s). It is important that the management report provides evidence of the contact with the employee regarding their attendance and any support provided to the employee to improve their attendance. The manager should forward the completed report to their Chief Officer, for arranging a Capability/Conduct Assessment Meeting.

The employee will be invited to a Capability/Conduct Assessment Meeting at the end of the Stage 3 review period.  Where absence relates to an underlying medical condition, the manager’s report will be a Capability Report and the employee will be invited to a Capability Assessment Meeting.  Where absence does not relate to an underlying medical condition the manager’s report will be a Conduct Report and the employee will be invited to a Conduct Assessment Meeting.

Stage 3 Capability / Conduct Assessment Meeting

The employee should be given at least 5 working days’ notice of the meeting in writing and a copy of the manager’s report.

The meeting will be attended by;

  • The Chair of the meeting who must be an independent manager at least at Third Tier level or above (for teachers/SNCT employees the Chair will be the Director or nominee)
  • The line manager who has managed the absence(s) to date
  • The employee
  • The employee’s trade union representative or work colleague (where applicable)
  • A People and Organisation Adviser

The purpose of the meeting is to consider whether the required improvement in attendance has been achieved, up to and including the Stage 3 review period and to carefully examine all options, including the likelihood of improved attendance or dismissal on the grounds of lack of capability due to ill health or misconduct due to sustained poor attendance (whichever applies).  

At the meeting the employee’s manager will present their report on the employee’s absence, highlighting the measures taken to assist the employee to improve their attendance.  The reasons for the absence levels will be discussed as well as the content of the latest medical report (where applicable).  The employee will be given the opportunity to provide a full response at the meeting.

There are three potential outcomes to the Stage 3 Capability / Conduct Assessment Meeting;

  1. Return to Normal Monitoring
    Where the required improvement in attendance has been achieved during the Stage 3 review period, the employee will be informed that their attendance will no longer be subject to regular reviews under the Supporting Attendance and Wellbeing Policy. It should be noted that where an employee is unable to sustain their attendance any point in the next 12 months, the manager has the option to move the employee back into the procedure at the point at which they left i.e. a Capability/Conduct Assessment Meeting at Stage 3 of the Supporting Attendance and Wellbeing procedure.
  2. Extend the Review Period
    The chair of the Capability/Conduct Assessment Meeting has the discretion to extend the review period if additional information or monitoring is required to inform a decision.
  3. Termination of Employment
    Where the Chair decides, after considering all available information, to terminate employment, if possible the employee will be informed of this at the meeting, with the decision confirmed in writing along with details of their right of appeal.

The reason for termination of employment must be clearly communicated to the employee. Where absence relates to an underlying medical condition (Capability Assessment Meeting) employment will be terminated on grounds of lack of capability due to ill health.  Where absence does not relate to an underlying medical condition (Conduct Assessment Meeting) employment will be terminated on the grounds of misconduct relating to failure to fulfil contractual responsibilities due to poor attendance.

3.7.4   APPEAL

The employee has the right of appeal against dismissal within 10 working days of receipt of written notification of the decision. Any appeal must be lodged in writing, with the grounds clearly stated. A non-teaching employee can choose to have their appeal heard by a senior manager at Chief Officer level or above, who has had no prior involvement in the case, or through the Appeals Sub Committee.  A teaching employee can choose to have their appeal heard by a Director, who has had no prior involvement in the case, or through the Appeals Sub Committee.

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