This policy and procedure covers all staff and should be read in conjunction with the Sickness policy and procedures.

Lara Nichols wishes to support all employees to achieve standards of attendance and to address any associated issues. Non-attendance has a high cost in terms of efficiency and additional pressure placed upon other team members and direct costs. You have a responsibility to keep absence to a minimum.

Medical Practitioners and health experts offer medical guidance and provide objective support to staff with health problems. Failure to resolve an attendance issue may result in the termination of your employment.

Recording attendance

Overall responsibility for attendance and resource management rests with your line manager who is the key contact on attendance issues, providing procedural guidance, support, monitoring and recording your attendance.

Unacceptable levels of attendance

Due to the nature of many of the jobs and staffing levels, high levels of absenteeism or repeated spells of sickness/absence cause considerable disruption. Both short term/spasmodic and long term sickness absence cause disruption to operations and incur additional costs. They also place an undue burden upon other team members. Therefore, in order to ensure consistency your line manager will investigate and arrange a meeting to discuss the situation further with you in any of the following cases:

  • Any unauthorised absence
  • Two days late in one month
  • 14 working days sickness in a twelve month period
  • 4 spells of sickness in a twelve month period
  • A regular pattern of absence, e.g. before/after a bank holiday or annual leave.

Dependent upon the outcome of this meeting counselling may be appropriate or disciplinary action taken, or indeed no action taken if none is appropriate.

Issues of capability arising from poor levels and/or patterns of absence are distinct from capability issues involving long term health problems or disability.

Long term absence

Should you unfortunately become disabled or suffer from a long term health problem during employment it is the policy of Lara Nichols to make every effort to help you retain your original position. It is your line manager who will try and balance the needs of the business with their support for you in the event of long term sickness. In the event that the length of your absence causes operational problems, which requires either your return or replacement, your line manager will determine what action is to be taken.

Action may include a personal interview with you or a request to provide a medical report from your GP or a request to undergo an occupational health assessment by a practitioner appointed by Lara Nichols. Occupational health advisers are more knowledgeable about the working environment. The examination or assessment will determine your fitness to resume your normal role or indicate what alternative roles may be suitable. Once sufficient appropriate advice is available, a further meeting with you will be arranged to discuss it.

All alternative employment options including transfers, part-time working, reasonable adjustments to work premises, practices or equipment will be fully examined by Lara Nichols and discussed with you.

Absence due to pregnancy will be dealt with due regard to your statutory maternity rights. In these circumstances you may be suspended from work on full pay, remain on sick pay or, if the sickness occurs within the four weeks prior to the expected date of birth, be transferred on to maternity leave.

If it is advised by the doctor that you are fit to return to work, Lara Nichols will cease to pay sick pay and you will be expected to be at work the following morning.

You will accrue holiday entitlement during long term sickness absence, and you are permitted to take all or some of your accrued holiday during this period of absence.

Intermittent absence

Short term spasmodic absence is particularly disruptive, as it cannot be planned for and puts more pressure on managers and colleagues.

Intermittent non-attendance will be dealt with in accordance with the stages of the disciplinary procedure, as appropriate. Where the absences are unexplained or may have an underlying sickness reason a medical examination or occupational health assessment will normally be requested.  Their objective is to provide Lara Nichols with sufficient information to more effectively balance your needs with that of the organisation, or to make a decision regarding your continued employment.

Irrespective of the cause of the intermittent absences, you will be warned of the consequences of further failure to meet attendance targets at each stage of the disciplinary procedure. If the disciplinary procedure is exhausted without sufficient improvement in the level of attendance, you may have your employment terminated with due notice on capability grounds.

Covert recording of meetings using mobile phones or other devices is not permitted and such recording may result in disciplinary action.

This policy was last reviewed in April 2020