SICKNESS AND ABSENCE POLICY
AIM OF THIS POLICY
This policy is designed to assist Thongsook College in effectively managing sickness-related and other staff absence. Thongsook College recognises the importance of ensuring that employees are supported through any periods of absence and their subsequent return to work. Through an effective Sickness and Absence Policy, Thongsook College will be better positioned to identify any potentially unsafe work practices, any issues affecting employee morale and any other underlying problems employees may be facing.
Notification of sickness
2.1 If an employee is unable to come to work for any reason, they must inform Thongsook College by contacting the assigned CEO/Manager as soon as possible after 8.30 am on the first day of absence.
2.2 Employees should speak to the office personally i.e. calls on the employee’s behalf from a friend/partner and texting or emailing the manager will only be acceptable in exceptional circumstances.
2.3 The employee should indicate the reason for their absence, its likely duration and when the illness started.
2.4 In the event that the employee’s absence continues for a number of days or weeks, they must maintain regular contact with Thongsook College to keep Thongsook College informed of the reasons for their ongoing absence and the date when they expect to be able to return to work. In such cases the employee should specify how Thongsook College can contact them if necessary, ideally leaving a landline number on which they can be contacted.
Certification of sickness
3.1 All periods of absence through sickness must be certified by Thongsook College, sickness self certification form are available via the Thongsook College website. The completed form should indicate actual days of sickness, even if they include days when the employee would not normally have worked (e.g. weekends and public holidays).
3.1.1 For sickness absences of up to 3 calendar days, the self-certification form should be completed by the employee upon their return to work.
3.1.2 For sickness absence of more than 3 calendar days, the employee must also provide a medical certificate also referred to as a ‘fit note’. This will provide us with more information about your condition, and let us know whether your GP or medical provider considers that you are not ‘fit for work’, or ‘may be fit for work taking account of the following advice’. Subsequent medical certificates must be produced as necessary to cover the total duration of the period of absence. As a minimum, employees should contact their manager on a weekly basis to provide an update on the injury or illness.
Long-term and persistent absence
4.1 Thongsook College will treat as long-term absence any period of extensive absence due to serious or significant illness over a prolonged period. Persistent absence may consist of a series of unconnected short-term illnesses. Where Thongsook College is of the opinion that a period of absence is long-term, it will inform the employee of such and:
4.1.1 require that the employee keep in regular contact with Thongsook College, at such intervals as agreed between Thongsook College and the employee; and
4.1.2 ensure that the employee is kept informed as to any possible threat to their employment.
4.2 Thongsook College reserves the right to request a home visit where the illness is long-term. The purpose of the visit will be to discuss possibilities for a return to work and to discover whether Thongsook College can assist in facilitating this.
4.3 Thongsook College will treat as persistent absence a series of unconnected short-term illnesses.
4.4 It may be necessary in incidences of long-term or persistent absence to treat the matter as an issue of capability or conduct. In such circumstances Thongsook College will:
4.4.1 investigate the absence through “Return to Work Interviews” and the obtaining of medical reports;
4.4.2 set time limits on the assessment of the employee and keep him or her informed of such;
4.4.3 consider adjustments to the job in order to facilitate a return to work or to allow the employee to do their job more easily, for example the implementation of flexible working arrangements;
4.4.4 consider whether the illness amounts to a disability. Where it is found to do so the employee shall fall under the scope of the Company’s Equal Opportunities and Diversity Policy and Thongsook College shall make such reasonable adjustments as are necessary; and
4.4.5 keep the employee informed in all the circumstance of any threat to their employment.
4.5 Where Thongsook College requires medical reports relating to an absence it will either obtain a report from the employee’s doctor, subject to employee consent.
In either case the employee may refuse to attend or refuse to consent to the release of a medical report, or request that corrections are made. Employees are reminded however that any decision regarding their future which could result in dismissal will be taken on the basis of the information available to Thongsook College.
4.6 Thongsook College will hold all medical reports and related information obtained as private and confidential.
4.7 Thongsook College stresses that dismissal will only ever be taken as a last resort. Where however the absence is found to be a matter of misconduct, the employee will be subject to Thongsook College’s Disciplinary Procedure.
Sickness which occurs whilst the employee is on holiday
5.1 Where an employee is incapacitated through sickness or injury during any period of pre-booked holiday (whether in whole or in part), Thongsook College will, subject to the correct notification and certification, allow the employee to transfer to sick leave and take replacement holiday at a later date. This policy is subject to the following conditions, which will be strictly applied:
5.1.1 The total period of incapacity must be fully certificated by a qualified medical practitioner;
5.1.2 The employee must contact Thongsook College (in person and by telephone if possible) as soon as they know that there will be a period of incapacity during the holiday; and
5.1.3 The employee must confirm in writing to their CEO/Manager no later than 3 days after returning to work how much of the holiday period was affected by sickness or injury and the amount of leave that the employee wishes to take at another time.
5.2 Any requests for replacement holiday must be made in accordance with Thongsook College’s holiday policy and the employee should try to take the replacement holiday in the holiday year in which it was accrued. Where this is not possible, Thongsook College will allow the employee to carry forward the leave into the next holiday year. Only if the authorisation has been obtained by their CEO/Manager and in extreme circumstances only.
5.3 Thongsook College may require the employee to take all or part of their replacement holiday on particular days to be specified by Thongsook College .
Return to Work Interviews
Thongsook College shall decide, after any absence due to sickness, whether the employee is required to attend a return to work interview with their CEO/ Manager in order to:
6.1 ensure the employee’s fitness to return to work;
6.2 agree any necessary actions required to facilitate the employee’s return to work;
6.3 ensure the proper certificates have been completed/obtained in respect of the entire period of absence; and
6.4 discuss any problems that may exist.
At the return to work interview, employees may be set reasonable targets and time limits for an improvement in attendance. A failure to improve may result in disciplinary action.
Thongsook College will monitor and record levels of absence and reasons for absence in order to help identify abuse of this policy, which places additional stress on colleagues. Further Thongsook College will be better positioned to identify unsatisfactory work practices and to distinguish between different types of absence.
Thongsook College will obtain consent from each employee, either in their Terms and Conditions of employment, or on a separate consent form to comply with the relevant Data Protection legislation.
All information gathered through absence monitoring under this Policy will be held and treated in confidence.