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Absence Policy


trekker
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Does any one have a staff absence policy?

Do it set down what you consider to be a reasonable ammount of absence per year and what do you do if staff exceed this....

Do you differentiate between time taken off as staff are ill and time taken as their dependents are ill?

 

I have staff who take at least one day, often more, off a month for one thing or another...and when you add them together it can mean that every week someone is off and it is crippling my own motivation and the overall progress we can make and means I cant get on with my own 'admin' work as I end up having to cover - so things like policy revisions, SEF, supervisons, parent meetings etc etc all have to wait or be cancelled and rearranged.

 

I am committee run so technically not my call to make - but im the one who has to keep arranging cover so it'd be good to have some procedures in place to minimise the need - if that is at all possible :unsure:

It is really getting me down ...I feel like there is nothing I can do and I'll just have to put up with it...the reasons might include anything from headache, toothache, migraine, ear infection to actual sickness but apart from sickness none contagious and can surely be treated with painkillers ...would you expect staff to come to work if suffering any of these?? (though migraine I can understand)...its not like im not sympathetic but when its so frequent and long running it can be a challenge to accept.

 

It wouldnt be such a challenge if other staff could cover either but we've even had to close for a day in the past because staff are off sick and other staff wont / cant cover - usually because they have dependents or another job.

It seems no matter how many staff we employ we never have cover available when we need it :(

 

Do any of you pay staff extra or give time off if they have to cover at short notice? / have any other strategies that have worked with the issue at all?

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No work, no pay, unless SSP kicked in... which was still 3 days unpaid before getting anything... so most of our staff did not take any sick days unless really had to...and would often arrange cover to swap a shift to make sure they did not lose money... but there were only 5 of us and we were all same level of qualification so swapping at short notice did not matter.. that said I was a hands on in ratio manager so not able to cover anyway.

 

Could you include a staff member on call to cover illness for each session.. so they know they could be called in...

 

it is not easy when staff have second jobs and other commitments that they cannot cover, but something we had to work around.. several of them has second jobs..

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I have a member of staff that is pushing the boat regarding time off. We are a morning only setting and it is becoming ridiculous, so have now felt it necessary to have a policy in place because of one person! I have attached mine, but I have been a little more lenient than what ACAS state such as giving 5 days off if dependants are ill instead of two etc, but this you can adopt to your own setting as you see fit as long as it meets the legal requirements.

 

Staff Sickness and Absence Policy.docx

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Thanks for the replies.

Staff dont get paid when they are off and all are aware that on day off might be called in but still have the issue. Theres always something they have to do and I can make them cancel plans...but you'd hope they wouldnt make any firm ones just in case...especially knowing how tight staffing is anyway.

 

putting it in policy / contracts that they are on call for a specific session might be an option ...

The example policy above will be a good start.

 

Thank you.

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Hmm, can you do this? Make them be on call i mean unless you are willing to pay. I sympathise- I really do and have to admit it isn't a problem I particularly suffer from. My staff are all very good about cover and if needs be then we just manage with less- we are always over ratio anyway. However I dont think you can dictate to people what they do on their days off, unless they are officially on call and paid for it and even then it cant be the same people al the time. Do you pay for time off? It sounds to me like you need to get much stricter on time off.

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We didn't used to pay for time off sick or time off with sick dependents, except with one member of staff who subsequently took the proverbial! When she left and our staff team was working well, we asked staff to try to arrange cover amongst themselves, partly to save time for the manager first thing in the morning and partly because we found they were less likely to swing the lead if they had to ask a colleague themselves to cover. This did tend to work well as they would arrange to swap days immediately with each other where appropriate so they knew straight away they were getting their day in return. We were lucky that our staff didn't have other responsibilities that were very fixed. Once they had arranged or tried to arrange cover they then informed the manager who would be in that day and if any other days were going to be swapped.

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Really not sure if can do it but dont want to let it go on...employing extra staff is the other option but we should be able to cope without I feel.

 

No we dont pay for any time off sick or caring for own dependents eg taking time off when child is sick or whatever .. staff have to take holidays in school hols, appointments outside work hours etc...

I do try to encourage arranging cover themselves if they need time for appointments / courses - I still have to do it when they are off sick though.

 

I do feel there needs to be more firmness around time off but it is not so much time off but time taken as 'sick' - You have to accept it....although I'm finding it very hard to be sympathic the longer it goes on and it seems like at least part of every week someone is off.

 

A policy that states how much time off per year is considered reasonable might just make them think twice about the times its little more than a 'duvet day' - well I 'd like to think so....on the other hand a bonus scheme for attendance maybe... or both combination.

All pie in the sky unless committee agree of course.

Edited by trekker
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Hi Trekker a few years ago the post office had this issue and ended up in court for sacking someone who had had too many sick days...from memory I believe they felt most were duvet days but then they were genuinely sick and this is was tipped it...anyway they won the case and set a precedence for 'expected level of attendance'

 

http://www.cwunorthern.co.uk/attendance%20procedure.pdf This is a guideline I found online which may help you draft something...if it's good enough for Royal Mail...

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We a had a chair once who decided it would be 'nice' to continue to pay staff if they had to stay home with sick children....didn't run it by me, just gave them all a letter, with only 5 staff and 9 children between them I was to say the least not happy, just wasn't seeing how this would affect the budget or staff ratios, they now get 3 paid sick days if not entitled to ssp, which I still don't agree with, if they choose not to work enough hours to be entitled to ssp then that's their choice but they shouldn't get paid...it's just an extra 3 days Hols really ( but that was the compromise) as so difficult to change terms one set in writing.

 

Also thought we,d tied up time off for bereavement/funerals, giving 3 days paid for immediate family + funeral day, that was fine until a member of staffs rarely seen grandparent died and they decided to take the 3 days over a week later as it didn't say from day of bereavement :/

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Our LA policy for all staff, including those in maintained schools is 6 rolling days in any 12 months. This is for any number of periods of sickness, e.g. 1 x ill for over 6 days or 6 x individual days, then informal procedures including occupational health are instigated. It makes no difference how genuine or otherwise the absence is. You can have time off for emergency childcare cover but this is limited to 1 day after which you have to use your annual leave or take unpaid leave (which frankly makes sense to me as I don't have children/dependents requiring my time so always end up covering the duties of those that do). After a year the days drop off the end of the total. There is a separate arrangement for compassionate leave but with published criteriawhich i forget as I've never used it!

 

Also thought we,d tied up time off for bereavement/funerals, giving 3 days paid for immediate family + funeral day, that was fine until a member of staffs rarely seen grandparent died and they decided to take the 3 days over a week later as it didn't say from day of bereavement :/

I suppose it depends where you need to travel to, I'd have to take 3 days minimum for any family funeral as it takes a day to get there and a day to get back usually, and funerals aren't always immediate.

 

Cx

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Do you have an absence management procedure when they return to work?

 

We do, and it does [did :rolleyes: ] work a treat when we had problems with one staff member. She subsequently left for some reason ;)

 

Basically a formal recorded interview when they return to work- even after one day.

 

xx

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Looby loo - we dont but ive seen that some absence policies do include this.....what sort of format does it take e.g. Do you have a specific set of questions?...currently I just get them to fill in an absence form giving reason to keep with hour sheets so I can track back.

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We also did back to work interviews after even one day absence. I might have been mean but I used to insist it was before the session started or after the session, so in staff member's own time because we couldn't afford for staff to out of ratio, etc. It was less than 15 mins so I said it couldn't be paid for time. I can't say if this was legal or not but it also helped cut down on duvet day leave. I can't find the form but we found loads online that we adapted, and basically recorded why the member of staff had been off, for how long, whether the situation was resolved, if the setting could do anything to support (useful for genuine illness due to poor lifting for eg) and if medical advice had been sought, medication taken/still being taken. I think it was more the thought of having to complete the meeting that put them off than the form!

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Looby loo - we dont but ive seen that some absence policies do include this.....what sort of format does it take e.g. Do you have a specific set of questions?...currently I just get them to fill in an absence form giving reason to keep with hour sheets so I can track back.

 

Very similar to holly35's ........... only we did do it it work-time :D

 

We found by asking questions such as 'how can we support you?', and ' have you seeked professional advice?' [Dr, Dentist etc] certainly made staff think about the time they'd had off. We always made a point of saying how we'd missed them.. stressful day etc [even if it was a nice quite day :D ::1a ]

 

 

 

xx

 

oh dear... seeked= sought!!! :D

Edited by louby loo
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