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Absence and Attendance Policy - Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service

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MERSEYSIDE FIRE AND RESCUE SERVICE<strong>Absence</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Attendance</strong> <strong>Policy</strong>September 2005WWW.MERSEYFIRE.GOV.UK


ABSENCE AND ATTENDANCE POLICY1. Objectives:Improved attendance will result in a reduction in theprospects for insufficient staff to be available for theAuthority to meet its performance targets (e.g. attendancetimes) <strong>and</strong> thereby increase the prospects of theAuthority to achieve its vision to make <strong>Merseyside</strong> safer,in a way which achieves value for money.This policy accordingly has the following objectives:-• To promote improved attendance <strong>and</strong> a positive attitudetowards recognising good attendance.• To set out the extensive level of support that the<strong>Service</strong> as a caring employer is providing to employees.• To recognise <strong>and</strong> incentivies attendance at work• To identify trends <strong>and</strong> causes of absenteeism <strong>and</strong>take effective remedial action.• To identify <strong>and</strong> monitor the absence levels of individuals<strong>and</strong> the impact on the performance of the<strong>Service</strong>.• To ensure that Line Managers are implementing thepolicy <strong>and</strong> acting in accordance with their responsibilities.2. <strong>Attendance</strong> Incentive Scheme:This scheme provides incentives for employees throughouttheir careers for the achievement of attendance atwork. The scheme allows for positive recognitions foremployees who in both the immediate <strong>and</strong> long termachieve good attendance, <strong>and</strong> will be subject to reviewin 2 years.The scheme has two forms of incentive provisions:<strong>Attendance</strong> DrawThis scheme allows for the names of employees whoinitially achieve a period of attendance without sicknessabsence to be placed in a draw with monetary awards.• Employees who have achieved service without sicknessabsence for the period 1 st October, 2005 to 1 stApril 2006 will have their names entered into a drawto take place on 1 st April, 2006. The employee1whose name is selected at r<strong>and</strong>om in the draw willreceive a prize of a new car (the make, model <strong>and</strong>value to be determined by the Authority)• In addition employees who have achieved servicewithout sickness absence for the preceding 3months (<strong>and</strong> who are not the subject of a live warningunder the sickness absence procedure or disciplineprocedure) will have their names entered intomonthly draws, the first to take place on 1 st April,2006. The employee whose name is selected atr<strong>and</strong>om in the draw will receive a prize of £1000.• In addition, employees who have achieved servicewithout sickness absence for the preceding 12months (<strong>and</strong> who are not the subject of a live warningunder the sickness procedure or discipline procedure)will have their name entered into an annualdraw, the first to take place on 1 st April, 2007. Theemployee whose name is selected at r<strong>and</strong>om in thedraw will receive a prize of a new car (the make,model <strong>and</strong> value to be determined by the Authority).<strong>Attendance</strong> AwardAn employee who qualifies for entry in the annual drawas set out above will also accrue an additional daysleave <strong>and</strong> £50.00. These awards accrue throughout anemployee’s career, (subject as set out below) <strong>and</strong> areredeemable upon the employees retirement or resignationfrom the service.<strong>Attendance</strong> Certificates & PresentationThe simple process of recognising good attendance bythanking employees can have a positive impact. The<strong>Service</strong> monitors absence, <strong>and</strong> shall, where an employeeachieves good attendance, let them know it hasbeen noted <strong>and</strong> is appreciated.A certificate will be issued using a system of bronze,silver, gold <strong>and</strong> platinum levels of award for 3 <strong>and</strong> 5years, <strong>and</strong> 5 yearly service thereafter without a periodof sickness absence, congratulating employees on theirachievement. The certificates may also record awardsaccrued under the scheme.The <strong>Service</strong> shall publicly recognise the achievement ofstaff who accrue attendance awards by publicising theirreceipt of <strong>Attendance</strong> Certificates <strong>and</strong> attendanceawards in <strong>Service</strong> leaflets such as ‘The Hotline’ <strong>and</strong> includingpresentations in <strong>Service</strong> Award PresentationEvenings.


Review of Incentive SchemeThe Authority has the right to review the attendanceincentives, <strong>and</strong> may from time to time either increase,decrease or cease the attendance awards referred toabove, <strong>and</strong> where it reduces or ceases the attendanceawards then it shall have no further liability to its employees.Non-exhaustive examples as to why the Authority maywish to vary or cease the attendance awards are:-• An increase from time to time to reflect inflation• Cessation of the attendance incentive element ofthe scheme if service targets for reduction of sicknessabsences are not metWithdrawal/Exclusions(a) If an employee is found to have committed seriousmisconduct, any attendance award accrued to thedate of such finding shall be withdrawn(b) In the case of industrial action the incentivescheme (including entry to attendance draw <strong>and</strong>attendance awards) shall be withdrawn from thoseemployees who participate in industrial action <strong>and</strong>all accrued awards will be withdrawn. Employeescan rejoin the scheme as a new starter effectivefrom the date they resume full duties3. <strong>Absence</strong> Targets/Triggers<strong>Absence</strong> from work, places a significant strain on theAuthority both in financial <strong>and</strong> operational terms. If asa result of persistent short term or continual long-termabsences, an employee is failing to attend for duty,then the Authority has a responsibility to take remedialaction.The Authority has set absence targets providing'trigger points' for action for all groups of employees,as follows:Days/shifts/retained cover periods:Sickness absence from a total of 8 workingdays/shifts/retained cover periods in any consecutivepreceeding 12-month period (or prorata for part time staff).OrFrequency:More than three separate instances of sicknessabsence or unavailability for retained cover periodsin the preceeding 12 months (or pro rata forpart time staff).OrPatterns & TrendsWhere a sickness absence pattern or trend is identified(non-exhaustive examples include regularity of sicknessabsence on a Friday or Monday; trend of takingsickness absence during school/summer holidays;regularity of booking sick following refusal of bank holidayleave; pattern of sickness absence during footballteams fixtures).Disregard of Certain <strong>Absence</strong>s• <strong>Absence</strong>s due to disability (as defined under theDisability Discrimination Act <strong>and</strong> advised by the<strong>Service</strong> Medical Officer) <strong>and</strong> pregnancy relatedabsences will be disregarded for the purposes ofthis <strong>Policy</strong>.• Where an employee initially attends work (or isinitially unavailable for retained cover), but subsequentlygoes off duty during a shift/work dayon account of sickness, then:(a)(b)if the employee fails to work (or is initiallyunavailable for retained cover) for at least50% of the shift/day, the complete shiftday will be recorded as absence due tosicknessif the employee has worked for more than50% of the shift/day before going absent,then the employee will not be regarded asbeing absent on account of sickness• Where an employee attends a hospital/medical appointment<strong>and</strong> is absent (or is initially unavailablefor retained cover) for more than 50% of the shift/day, this will be recorded as sickness absence. Ifthe employee is absent (or is initially unavailable forretained cover) for less than 50% of the shift/day,then the appointment will be recorded as a hospital/2


\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\medical appointment, <strong>and</strong> will not be regarded asabsence on account of sickness for the purposes ofthis policy.• <strong>Absence</strong>s due to attending cancer screening will bedisregarded for the purposes of this policy• This provision applies to wholetime <strong>Fire</strong>fighters whoalso work retained duties. Where an occurrence ofsickness results in absence from both wholetimeduties <strong>and</strong> unavailability for retained cover duringthe same period of sickness then the absence willonly be counted as one instance of sickness absencefor the purposes of determining whether theabove frequency targets/triggers have been exceeded.The <strong>Absence</strong> Management ProcedureThis procedure applies to all employees1. Informal Stage:This first stage of the procedure is an informal‘return to work interview'. This is conducted with allemployees following all absences from work (or unavailabilityfor retained duty on account of sickness.The interviewing officer will be the Watch Manager/line manager.2. Formal Written WarningEmployees who have exceeded a ‘trigger point’ shallbe interviewed <strong>and</strong> a formal written warning willnormally be issued. This warning lasts for 6 monthsfrom the date of return to work <strong>and</strong> the attendancetrigger points specified above will normally apply.The interviewing officer will be the Station Manager/SectionHead/Locality Manager.3. Exemption from issue of warningWhere the interviewing officer considers that thereare exceptional reasons for a warning not to be issued,then they should apply for an exemption tothe <strong>Absence</strong> Monitoring Officer, providing all relevantinformation including details of relevant sicknessabsence. The application will then be consideredby an Exemption Board comprised of oneGroup Manager, one Station Manager, (or theirequivalent ranks) <strong>and</strong> the Senior HR Support Officer,<strong>and</strong> a decision made whether to grant an exemptionor not.4. Final Written WarningEmployees who have failed to achieve the targetsset under the Formal Warning stage of the procedureshall be interviewed <strong>and</strong> a final written warningwill normally be issued. This warning will beheld on record for 18 months from the date of returnto work <strong>and</strong> the attendance trigger pointsspecified above will normally apply during the 18month warning period. The interviewing officers atthis stage will be either the Director of Human Resourcesor the Divisional Officer, <strong>Attendance</strong>Manager.5. Third Formal Stage - Potential SanctionsEmployees who have failed to achieve the targetsset under a final written warning (or further finalwritten warning as the case may be) will be interviewedby the ACFO, DCFO or CFO with the outcomea potential sanction ranging from stoppage ofpay to dismissal from their employment with the<strong>Service</strong>. The interviewing officer has discretion tosanctions, including a stoppage of pay of up to 13days pay, demotion, a further final written warning.Any combination of the above or dismissal.6. Appealsa) An employee can appeal against a formal writtenwarning or a final written warning to a managerat the same role or level or higher in the <strong>Service</strong>who has not been involved in the case.b) An employee can appeal against a decision atthe Third Formal Stage to a member of the ExecutiveLeadership Team who has previously hadno involvement in the case where a sanctionshort of dismissal has been imposed.c) In the case of dismissal the employee can appealto the Appeals Committee of the ElectedMembers.7. General Practitioner Medical CertificationWhere patterns/trends of sickness absence are identified(see above for non-exhaustive examples) or sicknessabsence exceeds the applicable targets, thenmanagement may require the employee to obtain <strong>and</strong>3


\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\\provide a General Practitioner Medical Certificate inrespect of further absences on the grounds of sickness,in order that the employee may qualify for sickness payin respect of such absences.In such circumstances, the Authority shall refund thecost of a General Practitioner Medical Certificate. If theemployee refuses to attend their General Practitioner,or fails to provide a valid sick note, the Authority willbe entitled to notify the employee that they will not bepaid sickness pay in respect of those absences.Similarly the Authority may at any time require the employeeto attend at the <strong>Service</strong>s premises to undergo amedical examination <strong>and</strong> if the employee fails to do so,then the Authority shall have the discretion to ceasepayment of sick pay.8. CommencementThis policy will commence with effect from 1st January2006 <strong>and</strong> will be subject to periodic review9. Related Documents• Discipline procedure• Disability <strong>Policy</strong>• <strong>Absence</strong> & <strong>Attendance</strong> <strong>Policy</strong> Guidance Note4


ABSENCE AND ATTENDANCE POLICY GUIDANCE NOTECONTENTS<strong>Absence</strong> Management Procedure• Introduction – Why have a Procedure?• Which Employees will be monitored under the <strong>Absence</strong>Procedure?• Definition of Unsatisfactory Levels of <strong>Absence</strong>• Exemption ProcedureOccupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s• Introduction• Medical <strong>Service</strong>s• Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s• Rehabilitation• Contacting OH <strong>Service</strong>sSickness <strong>Absence</strong> <strong>and</strong> Notification• Day 1 Employee Initial Notification• <strong>Service</strong> Contact with the Employee• Day 4 Employee Second Notification• Day 8 Employee Third Notification• Day 14 Employee to Contact Occupational Health• Submission of Sickness Declaration Forms• General Practitioner Medical Certification• Community <strong>Fire</strong> Safety Resources Section• Resumption of Duties5


ABSENCE MANAGEMENT PROCEDUREIntroduction - Why have a Procedure?• To promote improved attendance <strong>and</strong> a positiveattitude towards recognising good attendance.• To identify trends <strong>and</strong> causes of absenteeism <strong>and</strong>take effective remedial action.• To identify <strong>and</strong> monitor the absence levels of individuals<strong>and</strong> the impact on the performance of the<strong>Service</strong>.• To ensure that Line Managers are implementing thepolicy <strong>and</strong> acting in accordance with their responsibilities.Which employees will be monitored underthe <strong>Absence</strong> Procedures?<strong>Absence</strong>s of all employees in the Authority, both operational<strong>and</strong> support staff, will be subject to the procedurescontained in this policy. In cases where InterviewingOfficers themselves (see below) or other moresenior officers have unsatisfactory levels of absence,they will be dealt with under the same procedure butby an officer of an appropriate higher rank/level in theorganisation.Medically certified pregnancy related absences will beexcluded from the <strong>Absence</strong> Procedure, as well as absencesdue to disability as defined in the Disability DiscriminationAct 1995 <strong>and</strong> advised by the <strong>Service</strong> MedicalOfficer.The Authority shall grant all employees necessary paidtime off for the purpose of cancer screening. The Authorityreserves the right to ask the employee for documentaryevidence to confirm the nature of the screeningappointment. <strong>Absence</strong>s due to attending cancerscreening will be excluded from the <strong>Absence</strong> Procedure.Definition of 'Unsatisfactory Levels of<strong>Absence</strong>'It is accepted that employees may suffer illness/injuryfrom time to time <strong>and</strong> it is not the Authority's intentionto apply pressure to people to remain at work whenthey are incapacitated.It must be recognised, however, that absence fromwork, places a significant strain on the Authority bothin financial <strong>and</strong> operational terms. Staff are employedunder a Contract of Employment to carry out prescribedduties. If as a result of persistent short term orcontinual long term absences, an employee is failing tomeet the conditions required of that contract, then theAuthority has a responsibility to take remedial action.In determining the 'trigger point' above which absenteeismis regarded as being unsatisfactory, the Authoritywill adopt a number of measures.The procedure provides for four stages:These procedures have, for operational members ofthe <strong>Service</strong> <strong>and</strong> MACC staff conditioned to the NJC forLocal Authorities <strong>Fire</strong> Brigades Scheme of Conditions of<strong>Service</strong>, been agreed as part of the national pay agreement.The implementation of this procedure is a fundamentalmanagerial responsibility <strong>and</strong> managers should ensurethat they are fully conversant with their role in the policy<strong>and</strong> how it will apply to them <strong>and</strong> the employeesthey supervise.The stages of the procedure are stated in the <strong>Absence</strong><strong>and</strong> <strong>Attendance</strong> <strong>Policy</strong>.Exemption ProcedureIn circumstances where the Interviewing Officer considersthat there are exceptional reasons for a warningnot to be issued at the Formal Written Warning Stageof the Procedure they should formally apply for an exemptionto the <strong>Absence</strong> Monitoring Officer, HumanResources Support, <strong>Service</strong> Headquarters.Interviewing officers must submit a formal justificationfor seeking an exemption <strong>and</strong> provide details of thelast three years absences of the employee, using theExemption Request Form (contained in Outlook/PublicFolders/Forms). An Exemption Request should be accompaniedby relevant documentary evidence to substantiatea claim of exceptional circumstances.The responsibility for the granting of an exemption forall <strong>Merseyside</strong> <strong>Fire</strong> <strong>and</strong> <strong>Rescue</strong> <strong>Service</strong> employees willbe the responsibility of an exemption board.6


ABSENCE MANAGEMENT PROCEDUREThis board will consist of one Divisional Officer, oneAssistant Divisional Officer <strong>and</strong> the Senior Human ResourcesSupport Officer. The Divisional Officer responsiblefor the Human Resources Support Departmentwill not be a member of the exemption board.Following receipt of the exemption application, the <strong>Absence</strong>Monitoring Officer will convene a meeting of theexemption board <strong>and</strong> all appropriate records shall beforwarded to allow them to facilitate a review of thecase.In order to assist the exemption board to facilitate afull review of the case, they may request the attendanceof any other appropriate persons who may beable to assist them. e.g. if the absence was due to aninjury on duty which was investigated by the IncidentInvestigation Team (IIT), a member of the IIT may berequired to attend to provide additional informationsurrounding the injury.At the Final Written Warning Stage <strong>and</strong> the Third FormalStage the interviewing officer may exercise theirdiscretion not to issue a warning if they consider thatthere are exceptional circumstances for them not toissue a warning.7


FORMAT OF THE REPORTOCCUPATIONAL HEALTH SERVICESIntroductionThe objective of Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s is to promote<strong>and</strong> facilitate the maintenance of the highest possiblest<strong>and</strong>ards of health <strong>and</strong> fitness, both physical <strong>and</strong>mental, for <strong>Service</strong> employees.Occupational Health shall provide advice to the <strong>Service</strong><strong>and</strong> its employees on their capacity to work <strong>and</strong> willcontinually seek to provide support <strong>and</strong> assistance toensure that employees are fit to perform their usualrole.Medical <strong>Service</strong>sThe provision of medical services has been undertakenby Fairfield Independent Hospital since 1996. The existingcontract expires on 31st May 2006.The service provider undertakes the following medicalreviews for the <strong>Fire</strong> <strong>Service</strong>:Pre- Employment Medicals:These are performed for all employeesHealth Screenings:The primary health screenings performed are thethree yearly health screening for Operationalstaff. These are compulsory medicals, <strong>and</strong> for firefightersover the age of 40 require attendance withboth the Occupational Health Advisor <strong>and</strong> ConsultantPhysician.The <strong>Service</strong> offers voluntary tri-annual healthscreening for Support Staff <strong>and</strong> MACC Staff.Other Health Screenings are conducted for Hot <strong>Fire</strong>Training Staff <strong>and</strong> Fork Lift Truck Drivers.Medical Reviews - Shall be conducted by either theConsultant Occupational Physician or the OccupationalHealth Advisor.Long Term Sickness - all employees who are consideredto be absent long term sick shall attend for amedical.Management Referrals – are conducted when a linemanager has concerns regarding the health <strong>and</strong>/orcapacity to work of an employee under their supervision.LGV Licence Medical – Employees who are LGV licenceholders are required to attend a medical everyfive years once they reach 45.Other medical screeningsEyesight screenings – the <strong>Service</strong> will provide foreyesight screenings for employees under the requirementsof the Display Screen Equipment Regulations<strong>and</strong> for uniformed staff for fireground aids to vision;Health Advice Clinic appointments – are availableto all staff on request for an assessment of blood pressure,cholesterol, eyesight, hearing, or their fitness.Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>sIn addition to the extensive range of health screening<strong>and</strong> medical reviews that are performed there are arange of services available to employees to assist themmaintain or achieve health <strong>and</strong> wellness.Physiotherapy <strong>Service</strong>sThe <strong>Service</strong> shall make available to employees as anearly intervention the provision of physiotherapy treatment,supplied by six practices geographically spreadthroughout the county area.Specialist Nurse Advisors HealthAssessmentsThe <strong>Service</strong> will facilitate an early intervention <strong>and</strong> theprovision of assessments <strong>and</strong> support from SpecialistNurse Advisors for employees who may be experiencingdifficulties due to stress, anxiety, depression, or asimilar 'mental health' problem.Clinical Checks - are conducted when medical staffrequest that employees are further reviewed followinga return to their usual role.8


Early Intervention Diagnostic Assessment<strong>and</strong> InterventionWhere employees are experiencing undue delay in accessingNHS referrals for diagnostic tests, such as X-rays or MRI scans or for consultant specialist referralsthe <strong>Service</strong> shall provide for an early intervention toFairfield Independent Hospital, the preferred providerunder this procedure.Medical Financial AssistanceSimilarly where employees are experiencing undue delayin the provision of treatment <strong>and</strong>/or surgery underthe auspices of NHS then the <strong>Service</strong> shall provide aloan of up to £5,000 as medical financial assistance tofacilitate access to appropriate treatment services.Total Fitness Rehabilitation Exercise ReferralsIn partnership with Total Fitness the OccupationalHealth section shall refer employees for a rehabilitativeexercise referral programme at a Total Fitness Exercise,Hydrotherapy <strong>and</strong> Rehabilitation Centre.Massage Rehabilitation ClinicEmployees may be referred for massage therapy, atthe <strong>Service</strong> Training Centre, to assist them in their rehabilitationto return to their usual role.Smoking Cessation SupportThe <strong>Service</strong> shall through its Occupational Health Advisor<strong>and</strong> organisations such as the Roy Castle FoundationFags Ends support employees with smoking cessationinitiatives.Counselling <strong>Service</strong>sEmployees experiencing difficulties due to stress, anxiety,depression, or a similar 'mental health' problemmay be referred to the <strong>Service</strong> Counsellor via OH <strong>Service</strong>sor the Specialist Nurse Advisors.In addition to the above services Occupational Health<strong>Service</strong>s shall promote health <strong>and</strong> wellness throughspecific health initiatives, such as the campaign for theprovision of influenza inoculations, <strong>and</strong> the publicationof Occupational Health Bulletins. OH <strong>Service</strong>s shall supportthe development of support services for employeeswho may require health assistance through serviceproviders such the Benenden Healthcare Society.RehabilitationBased on advice from the Occupational Health medicalstaff the <strong>Service</strong> will provide the facility for employeesto return to work on a rehabilitative basis. Staff returningto work on a rehabilitative basis shall undertakeuseful work matched to the capability of the employee<strong>and</strong> the requirements of the <strong>Service</strong>. The work shallconform to any medical recommendations, from the<strong>Service</strong> Occupational Health staff, concerning the typesof activities that can or cannot be undertaken by theemployee.Rehabilitative returns are available for both operational<strong>and</strong> support staff.Operational staff on a rehabilitative return to work shallbe posted in the Community <strong>Fire</strong> Safety Resources Section.If the other duties return to work is anticipated asbeing short term (i.e. less than 4 weeks) <strong>and</strong> meaningfulwork can be provided an operational employee canperform such duties at their home station.The <strong>Service</strong> shall accommodate rehabilitative operationalstaff on other duties based on the day workingpattern. CFSRS staff shall work the usual flexi-time daystaffing system. Their attendance in terms of workingdays <strong>and</strong>/or hours may be adjusted based on medicaladvice from Occupational Health, Shift related otherduties will not be permitted, unless there is specificauthorisation from a CLT ranking officer, <strong>and</strong> this shallbe regularly reviewed with the objective of them workingthe usual day working pattern of flexi-time.Once an employee has been transferred into Commu-9


FORMAT OF THE REPORTnity <strong>Fire</strong> Safety Resource Section (due to a prognosisindicating that they will not be fully fit, for a continuousperiod of 12 weeks or more, or due to a return to workon other duties), the <strong>Service</strong> may choose to fill the resultantvacancy on a permanent basis. This meansthere will be no guarantee that an individual, once fullyfit, will return to his/her former post. Each case howeverwill be reviewed on its own merits, in consultationwith the Comm<strong>and</strong>er or line manager. Where possible,subject to the exigencies of the <strong>Service</strong> an employeeshall on their return to fitness for their usual role bereturned to their respective operational functional ormobilisation <strong>and</strong> communication centre post.MACC staff shall return to work on other duties toMACC.Support staff may return to work on rehabilitativeother duties based on medical advice. These other dutiesmay be in a different department, with the objectiveof an early return to their usual area of work.Based on medical advice employees may work reducedhours or days, or possibly both, on a phased basis withthe objective of returning to their full contractual hours<strong>and</strong> duties.In all cases the <strong>Service</strong> will observe the advice providedby the Occupational Health Medical staff.Contacting OH <strong>Service</strong>sOccupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s are part of the PersonnelTeam based at <strong>Service</strong> Headquarters. The OccupationalHealth Advisor can be contacted via email <strong>and</strong>on telephone extension 4336.Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s Management Section canbe contacted via email <strong>and</strong> on extensions 4344, 4307<strong>and</strong> 4339.10


SICKNESS ABSENCE AND NOTIFICATIONTo enhance the <strong>Service</strong> sickness reporting system anemployee absent due to sickness should contact the<strong>Service</strong> as indicated below:DAY 1:Employee Initial notification:In the case of every period of absence due to sicknessor injury, an operational member of the <strong>Service</strong>/shiftrelated Mobilisation <strong>and</strong> Communications Centre staffmust ensure that <strong>Attendance</strong> Management is notifiedof an intended absence at least one hour before theduty tour concerned is due to commence.<strong>Attendance</strong> Management is staffed from 0700 hours to1900 hours Monday to Friday. During weekends / bankholidays calls will be re-directed to MACC.In the case of operational staff on day duties <strong>and</strong> supportstaff they must notify their section manager by9.30am on the first day of sickness absence.In all cases the employee must report the reason forabsence <strong>and</strong>, if possible, an approximate date of returnto duty.Completion of Notification of Sickness Form(Operational)On receiving notification of absence of operationalstaff, <strong>Attendance</strong> Management will complete a Notificationof Sickness Form with the following information:• Date• Name• <strong>Service</strong> No.• Station <strong>and</strong> Watch• Nature of Illness• Estimated Period of Sickness• Method of Notification• Time of Notification• Notification by other than above (Name)• Position<strong>Attendance</strong> Management will then email the Notificationof Sickness form to Personnel Sick Pay. For reasonsof privacy <strong>Attendance</strong> Management will then removethe section on Nature of Illness before forwardingthe form via email to Central Staffing, Station Comm<strong>and</strong>er<strong>and</strong> the relevant watch officers <strong>and</strong> stationlogin e.g. (N7Southport). This is to ensure detached inranks are made aware of any personnel who are sick.Completion of Notification of Sickness Form(Non–Operational & Support Staff):On receiving notification of absence, the recipient willcomplete, either the pre-carbonised Notification ofSickness Form or the version of this form contained inOutlook, Public Folders, with the information as listedabove, with the only possible variation of workplacerather than Station/Watch.The recipient will then sign the pre-carbonised form,retain the top copy <strong>and</strong>, without delay, forward thecarbon copy to the Personnel Occ. Health ManagementTeam (Personnel Sickness Pay) <strong>Service</strong> Headquarters.In cases where the recipient has completed the form inOutlook they should send this form to the PersonnelSickness Pay email address.<strong>Service</strong> Contact with the employee:The employee’s Station Manager or Watch Manager/Section Head/Line Manager should initiate contactwithin the first three days of their sickness absence<strong>and</strong> where practicable should conduct a home/hospitalvisit within this timescale.If an employee is absent due to an injury, on or offduty, the injury is reported on an Injury List producedby MACC. This list is received by Jackie Sullivan, OccupationalHealth Nurse Advisor, who under the <strong>Service</strong>’searly intervention procedures shall, where appropriate,write to employees offering the provision of physiotherapyby a practice approved by the <strong>Service</strong>.If an employee reports absent sick due to stress, anxiety,depression or a similar problem they shall be referredunder the <strong>Service</strong>’s early intervention procedures,by Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s ManagementSection to a Specialist Nurse Advisor for a health assessment.DAY 4:Employee Second Notification:All employees are required to contact the <strong>Service</strong> ontheir fourth day of sickness. Employees should contact<strong>Attendance</strong> Management or their Section Head/LineManager, as appropriate, as per their requirements forday 1.11


FORMAT OF THE REPORTFor operational employees this marks the end of theirfirst full tour of duty absent. For all employees day 4 isthe trigger for Statutory Sickness Pay.DAY 8:Employee Third Notification.All employees are required to contact the <strong>Service</strong> ontheir eighth day of sickness. Employees should contact<strong>Attendance</strong> Management or their section Head/LineManager, as appropriate, as per their requirements forday 1.For operational staff this marks the commencement oftheir second tour of duty absent due to sickness. Forall staff from this point in their sickness absence employeesare required to submit General PractitionerMedical Certification.DAY 14:Employee to Contact Occupational HealthAll employees absent for two weeks are required tocontact the Occupational Health Nurse Advisor, OccupationalHealth <strong>Service</strong>s Medical Suite, <strong>Service</strong> Headquarters,on 0151 296 4336. The Occupational HealthNurse Advisor is available Tuesday to Friday 0930 to1530 hours.This contact provides the opportunity for employees toaccess early medical advice from a professionally qualifiedOccupational Health medical practitioner, <strong>and</strong> canfacilitate a referral into the medical services offered byMFRS, such as physiotherapy. The Occupational HealthNurse Advisor will be able to advise the <strong>Service</strong> on anemployee’s sickness <strong>and</strong> request a medical review inadvance of an employee becoming long term sick (28calendar days).Employees who fail to comply with the requirementsof the <strong>Service</strong> Sickness Notification procedurewill have the payment of their sicknesspay reviewed <strong>and</strong> the <strong>Service</strong> may cease paymentof sickness pay.Submission of Sickness DeclarationFormsA sickness declaration form must be completed <strong>and</strong>submitted for EVERY period of absence that is due tosickness or injury.• If the absence lasts for between ONE ANDSEVEN DAYS (including Saturday <strong>and</strong> Sunday),the employee must complete a sickness declarationform <strong>and</strong> forward it to the Sickness PaySection, Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s, PersonnelTeam, <strong>Service</strong> Headquarters on the first day theyreturn to work.See below for additional requirements in the case ofidentified patterns or trends of absence.• If the absence lasts for MORE THAN SEVENDAYS (including Saturday <strong>and</strong> Sunday), theemployee must submit, in addition to a sicknessdeclaration form, a doctor's statement as evidenceof sickness.• If the absence continues for MORE THANTWO WEEKS, the employee, for the period statedby the doctor, must complete <strong>and</strong> submit a sicknessdeclaration form to accompany each doctor's statementas evidence of sickness.• On return to work a final sickness declarationform must be submitted. The procedures regardingthe requirements for medical certification/medicalofficer authorisation to resume duty are indicated inparagraph Resumption of Duties.• The box at the top right h<strong>and</strong> corner of every sicknessdeclaration form must be ticked to indicatewhether the declaration is a first, intermediate orfinal declaration.• If the member is personally unable to complete <strong>and</strong>sign the form, another person may do so on his/herbehalf, but such person must state on the form thatthis has been done. The person signing this formshould be aware that they are accountable for theveracity of the information contained therein.• In each case of sickness, original doctor's state-12


ments must be submitted.An employee who is in receipt of Department of SocialSecurity Incapacity Benefit may take the original doctor'sstatement to his/her nearest <strong>Merseyside</strong> <strong>Fire</strong> &<strong>Rescue</strong> <strong>Service</strong> station for sighting by the officer-incharge.The officer-in-charge will complete a form P5,stating that the original statement has been sighted<strong>and</strong> send it to Sickness Pay Section, OccupationalHealth <strong>Service</strong>s, Personnel Team, <strong>Service</strong> Headquarters.Alternatively, an employee in receipt of DSS benefitsmay submit the original doctor's statement direct tothe Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s Management Section,<strong>Service</strong> Headquarters with a stamped addressed envelopeaddressed to their local DSS office. The doctor'sstatement will be noted <strong>and</strong> forwarded on.Employees who fail to comply with the requirementsof the <strong>Service</strong> procedure for the submissionof sickness pay documentation (GP MedicalNotes <strong>and</strong> Sickness Declaration Forms) will havethe payment of their sickness pay reviewed <strong>and</strong>the <strong>Service</strong> may cease payment of sickness pay.Please Note: With regard to the above proceduresfor employee notification, discretion should be exercisedwhere the <strong>Service</strong> is advised of a serious medicalcondition. If a Station Manager or Watch Manager/Section Head/Line Manager, or <strong>Attendance</strong> Managementare uncertain regarding exercising discretion,advice should be sought from Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s.In such circumstances the employee may be advisedto contact Occupational Health <strong>Service</strong>s ratherthan <strong>Attendance</strong> Management for sickness notificationsfollowing the contact on DAY 1.General Practitioner MedicalCertificationcost of such a General Practitioner Medical Certificate.If the employee refuses to attend their General Practitioner,or fails to provide a valid sick note, the Authoritywill be entitled to notify the employee that they willnot be paid sickness pay in respect of those absences.Community <strong>Fire</strong> Safety ResourcesSectionCommunity <strong>Fire</strong> Safety Resources Section offers theopportunity for employees to return to work on a rehabilitativebasis. Staff transferred into CFSRS shall undertakeuseful work matched to the capability of theemployee <strong>and</strong> the requirements of the <strong>Service</strong>. Thework shall conform to any medical recommendations,from the <strong>Service</strong> Occupational Health staff, concerningthe types of activities that can or cannot be undertakenby the employee.Where possible rehabilitative therapeutic activities,such as physiotherapy, shall be designed in the employeesreturn to work programme during workinghours to assist the employee resuming their usual role.Employees absent due to sickness in excess of 12weeks shall be transferred into the Community <strong>Fire</strong>Safety Resources Section. Where the <strong>Service</strong> is advisedthat an employee shall be absent for this period of timebefore the 12- week transfer point they shall be movedinto CFSRS. This advice shall be either General PractitionerMedical Certificate or advise from the <strong>Service</strong>Occupational Health Medical staff.Where an employee returns to work unfit for theirusual role they shall be posted, if not already moved,into CFSRS for a rehabilitative return to work. This returnshall take cognisance of the advice received fromthe <strong>Service</strong> Occupational Health Medical staff, <strong>and</strong> theyshall be monitored throughout their period of ‘otherduties’ by Occupational Health.Where patterns/trends of sickness absence are identified(e.g. a pattern of taking Mondays off sick) or sicknessabsence exceeds the applicable targets under the<strong>Service</strong> <strong>Absence</strong> Management Procedure, then managementmay require the employee to obtain <strong>and</strong> providea General Practitioner Medical Certificate in respectof further absences on the grounds of sickness,in order that the employee may qualify for sickness payin respect of such absences.In such circumstances, the Authority shall refund the13CFSRS staff shall work the usual flexi-time day staffingsystem. Their attendance in terms of working days<strong>and</strong>/or hours may be adjusted based on medical advicefrom Occupational Health.Where possible, subject to the exigencies of the <strong>Service</strong>an employee shall on their return to fitness fortheir usual role be returned to their respective operationalfunctional or mobilisation <strong>and</strong> communicationcentre post.


FORMAT OF THE REPORTResumption of DutiesAll operational members of the <strong>Service</strong> should notify<strong>Attendance</strong> Management of their intention to resumeduty as soon as they are aware of their date for returnto duty <strong>and</strong> at least one hour before the duty tour isdue to commence. <strong>Attendance</strong> Management, followingnotification from an employee that they are booking fitfor duty, will immediately inform Central Staffing, StationManager <strong>and</strong> the station, log in by Email advisingthem of this information using a Booking Fit Form.In the case of support staff where there is a differenceof opinion between the <strong>Service</strong>’s Medical Officer<strong>and</strong> the member’s general practitioner, which followingconsultation between the <strong>Service</strong>’s Medical Officer <strong>and</strong>the member’s general practitioner cannot be resolved,the opinion of the <strong>Service</strong>’s Medical Officer shall prevail.September 2005.Where, following a medical examination by the <strong>Service</strong>’sMedical Officer, a member has been found unfitfor any duties, they may not return to normal dutiesuntil the <strong>Service</strong> Medical Officer so certifies.Where a member has been absent from work due toan injury (on or off duty), or due to having an operation,for more than 4 weeks but less than threemonths they must submit either a General PractitionerMedical Certificate indicating that they are fit toresume work or must be declared fit for their usual/other duties by the <strong>Service</strong> Medical Officer. The membercannot resume work if they have not met either ofthese requirements.Where a member has been absent for work due to illnessor injury for a period in excess of three calendarmonths they may not resume work until the <strong>Service</strong>Medical Officer certifies that they are fit to do so.Where a member’s own general practitioner issues asigned statement indicating that the member need notrefrain from work, but the member has been absentfrom work due to illness/injury for a period in excess ofthree calendar months, they may not resume work until<strong>Service</strong> Medical Officer certifies that they are fit todo so.Where there is a difference of opinion between the<strong>Service</strong>’s Medical Officer <strong>and</strong> the member’s generalpractitioner regarding the member’s fitness for duty,the <strong>Service</strong>’s Medical Officer will take all appropriatesteps to liase with the member’s general practitioner toresolve the differences. In the case of operationalemployees <strong>and</strong> MACC staff if no agreement can bereached the matter will be referred to an IndependentMedical Practitioner, in accordance with theNJC for Local Authorities <strong>Fire</strong> Brigades Scheme of Conditionsof <strong>Service</strong> (Grey Book).14


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