Aims of the Policy• To promote and encourage an attendanceculture• To inform staff and Boards of Governors of thepolicy and procedures for managing attendance inschools and confidentiality of information• To ensure that all staff are treated fairly,consistently and with sensitivity during times ofillness• To address the negative effect on staff morale• To raise awareness of health and welfare supportservices

StatisticsBELB RAP Target for DE is 20% reductionin sickness absence over a 3 years periodfrom 2005/2006 (financial years)RESULT: 6 days average sickness absenceper year by 2007/2008

StatisticsExample of BELB Teachers Sickness Absence2004/05 (Days) 2005/06 (Days)Nursery 9.4 8.1Primary 5.1 6.3Post Primary 6.3 6.7Special 6.9 8.2Total 6.9 7.3

Effects of Absenteeism• Staff morale• Quality of service• Customer service• Temporary cover• Overtime costs

Role of the Governors• To adopt and promote the Managing Attendancepolicy• To monitor the implementation of the policy inyour school• To ensure that Governors receive up to dateinformation regarding absence management andaction taken• To manage the principal’s attendance• To consider strategies for reducing averageabsence within the school

Role of the Principal• Inform staff of procedures• Monitor absence levels• Maintain contact with employee• Conduct absence interviews/meetings• Provide support• Maintain confidentiality• Discipline – misuse of policy

Role of human resources• Monitor policy – consistent application• Advise on policy• Medical referral arrangements on request• Provide support – Staff Welfare Officer• Independent Counselling Service• It is the role of the principal and/orGovernors to monitor and manageattendance – not human resources

Reporting absenceAny employee who is sick should:• Make personal contact• State nature of illness, expected date ofreturn, or potential length of absence• Maintain appropriate contact duringabsence with principal and/or Governors• Provide relevant documentation to coverabsence

Trigger points• More than 8 casual days absence in a twelvemonth rolling period• More than three periods of absence in a twelvemonth rolling period, each in excess of three daysduration• Continuous absence four weeks or more• An individual member of staff with an absencerate of 5% or moreWhere any employee is approaching a trigger pointaction is required by principal and/or Governors

Action to be takenAfter every absence principals and/orGovernors should:• Welcome the member of staff back• Check that good health is restored• Update regarding developments during theabsence• This should be informal in nature

Action to be takenWhen an employee approaches a trigger pointprincipals and/or Governors should:• Meet confidentially with the employee• Raise awareness of absence levels• Identify any problems• Advise that absence levels will bemonitored• This should be informal in nature

Action to be takenWhen an employee exceeds a trigger pointprincipals/and or Governors should:• Conduct a formal return to work meeting• Decide what if any action is necessary egfurther monitoring, medical referral• Adopt a fair and consistent approach• Meeting must be confidential in nature• Written record should be maintained

Return to work meeting• Should be supportive – not critical• Welcome employee back and update• Discuss attendance problems• Identify support required• Determine appropriate action e.g. medicalreferral, further monitoring period• Monitor attendance for a period• Provide written confirmation to employee

Aims of Return to Work Meeting• To make the employee feel welcome andvalued• To ensure that the employee is fit to return• To create an atmosphere of trust andsupport• To approach the meeting in a genuine spiritof enquiry (exercising duty of care)• Be prepared to address the issues

Options available if no improvementin attendanceABCDFurther meetingMedical referralReferral to Staff Welfare OfficerDisciplinary action

Role of the Staff Welfare Officer• Responsibility to individual staff and tomanagement• Provide confidential welfare support forstaff• Provide advice and guidance to staff,managers, principals and school Governorson a range of welfare matters

Role of Staff Welfare Officer• Provide quality listening / helping service• Intervene and facilitate in welfare issues• Signpost specialist support, information andadvice• Does NOT provide ongoing counselling• Does NOT act as staff advocate in issuessuch as grievance, discipline or harassment

Role of Occupational Health Service• Support and guidance for individual staff inrelation to their illness• A mechanism to address absence problems, workrelated stress and identify staff with disabilities• Establish existence or otherwise of genuinemedical conditions to enable appropriate action• Facilitate ill health retirement• Act as a deterrent where illness is not genuine

Summary• Return to work meetings, both formal andinformal, are the single most effective toolfor reducing absence• Principals and/or Boards of Governors mustcarry them out for every person• The meeting is part of the support structureof the organisation – not the disciplinarystructure

What Human Resources can offer• Group training sessions on policy and proceduresfor principals/managers/Governors on annual basis• On site training for staff/principals provided onrequest• Specific training for conducting Return to WorkMeetings• One-to-one advice & support for principals and/orGovernors• Arranging medical referrals on request• Providing draft documentation to assist principals

Contact Us• Bernadette DohertyManaging attendance and medical referralse-mail: 9056 4361• Mark MarshallStaff Welfare Officere-mail: 9056 4016• Jill DowieAssistant Human Resources Manager for Employee Relationse-mail: 9056 4020

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