This policy is not intended to be comprehensive, but to act as a guide. If you have any questions about this policy, please speak to your manager in the first instance. This policy does not form part of your terms and conditions of employment and may be varied and/ or withdrawn at any time without notice.
Kelly recognises that there may be times when employees are absent from work for an extended period. This policy has been developed to explain the Kelly approach to managing long-term absence and the support we offer to help employees explore all available options. This policy provides specific information about managing absences longer than 4 weeks and should be read in conjunction with Kelly attendance improvement policy.
It is important that you read and understand this policy and follow the provisions contained within it. This policy applies to all permanent UK & Ireland employees, as well as those who are working for and/ or on behalf of Kelly. If you have any questions about the Kelly approach to managing long-term absence, please speak to your manager in the first instance.
_Stage 1 – Attending first absence review
If you have been absent from work for 4 weeks, your manager will invite you to an attendance review meeting to discuss your absence. The purpose of this meeting is for your manager to understand more about the reasons for your absence, whether you are waiting for any medical appointments or test results and to discuss when you think you will be likely to return to work.
Your manager will send you a letter inviting you to this meeting, giving you at least 5 days’ notice. These meetings will be scheduled during your normal working hours. These meetings usually take place at your workplace, but if you are not well enough to get to your place of work you can request the meeting is held in an alternative venue, including your home. The letter will explain your right to be accompanied to this meeting by either a fellow employee or trade union representative. We may, at our discretion, agree for you to be accompanied by a friend or family member to provide you with support.
You should make every effort to attend these meetings, as they help your manager to understand how to best support you and gives them an opportunity to update you with any news regarding your team. If you cannot attend the meeting at the time and date scheduled, if for example if it clashes with a medical appointment, then you should contact your manager as soon as possible to let them know so that the meeting can be rescheduled. If you do not attend the meeting without good reason and/ or prior notification, then this may be treated as a conduct matter and dealt with under Kelly Disciplinary Procedure.
At this meeting your manager may ask you to consent to us gaining an Occupational Health report to understand more about the reasons for your absence and if there is anything we can do to help support you to return to work.
You do not have to consent to an Occupational Health referral, but your manager will then manage your absence based on the information available.
_Stage 2 – Ongoing absence review meetings
If you are absent for a prolonged period you will be invited to attend further meetings with your manager. These meetings maybe in addition to any conversations or welfare meetings you may have with your manager as part of keeping in contact with them during your absence. You will always be invited to the meeting by letter, giving you at least 5 days’ notice and explaining your right to be accompanied.
The absence review meetings are designed for you both to discuss:
o the reasons for your absence and how you are progressing towards recovery o how long your absence is likely to last o any medical information, including any appointments you have scheduled or test results you have received as well as information received from Occupational Health o your ability to return to work and/ or remain in your current role.
At these meetings your manager will discuss with you the most appropriate way of managing your absence and agree the way forward including timescales for review. Your manger will consider one or more of the following options;
Kelly is committed to supporting employees who have a disability to give them the opportunity to perform at their best whilst at work and takes its legal obligations regarding reasonable adjustments very seriously.
The Equality Act 2010 defines disability as a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long-term adverse effect on an individual’s ability to carry out normal day-to-day activities. If you have a disability, your manager will discuss with you whether there are any possible reasonable adjustments which could support you to return to work. Common adjustments are temporary or permanent changes to working hours or start and finish times, allocation of some duties to colleagues, provision of specialist or adaptive equipment or amending systems of working. We may also seek advice from our Occupational Health provider as to any adjustments which may support your return to work.
The type of appropriate adjustments will depend on the nature of your illness or condition and role that you perform. Your manager will discuss the possibilities with you, allowing you the opportunity to suggest any changes you think might be helpful.
If you are returning to work after an extended period of absence, it may be appropriate for us to agree a phased return with you. This means that you will return to work gradually, allowing you time to get back up to speed. It also allows for any adjustments which have been put in place to be reviewed to check that they are working. Phased return might mean that you return to work on reduced hours, or performing amended duties. A usual period for a phased return is 4-6 weeks, but your manager will discuss the arrangements for a phased return with you, considering any advice gained from Occupational Health and/ or your medical practitioner.
Please be aware that if you are working reduced hours during a period of a phased return, you will only receive pay for the hours that you work. You should discuss alternative options with your manager, for example using holidays or any remaining sick pay.
_Stage 3 – Final meeting
If you have been absent for a prolonged period, relevant medical information has been gathered and consideration given to reasonable adjustments, phased return and redeployment and it appears that you are unable or will be unlikely to return to work within a reasonable timeframe, your manager will have to consider terminating your employment.
Your manager will have discussed this with you during your regular meetings. Depending on the circumstances, this will include exploring options for ill-health or early retirement, or terminating your employment on the grounds of capability. If the termination of your employment is a possibility, this will be clearly stated in the letter inviting you to attend the absence review meeting.
If you are dismissed on the grounds of capability due to ill-health this will be with your contractual notice pay. You will also receive pay in lieu for any accrued but untaken holidays during the previous holiday year. This information will be confirmed to you in a letter which will also advise you of your right to appeal against this decision and the details for doing so.
_Sickness absence & holidays
If you are absent from work due to illness for an extended period and have pre-booked holiday which falls during this period, and you are unwell to the extent that you are unable to take your holiday, you may request that this holiday is cancelled. To do so, you should contact your manager before the holiday is due to start to arrange for the holiday to be cancelled and for you to be recorded as sick. You will then receive any sick pay to which you are entitled for this period.
If you are absent from work and you have not taken your holidays during the leave year, you may carry forward a maximum of 20 days (pro-rated for part time) holiday into the next leave year. You should discuss arrangements for this with your manager. Holidays which are carried over must be used within 18 months of the end of the holiday year in which they were accrued.
Kelly recognises that health concerns and/ or medical conditions can have a significant impact on your work and/ or personal life and you may need extra support and guidance in managing these. The Aviva Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) offers a 24hr helpline with experts who can give you personal support and guidance on all manner of issues, including health concerns. They can also offer counselling either over the telephone or face-to-face where appropriate. You can contact the EAP on 0800 015 5630 or download the free EAP in your pocket mobile app, using the access code AVIVAIYP1116.
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