Sick Leave & Absence Policy

Practice Leads

  • Admin: Chris Rushton

Date Reviewed

1st March 2017

Date of Next Review

1st March 2019

This is the practice policy for the provision and management of any practice employed staff absence booking/occurrence. Expert HR advice will be sourced as required.  This policy review has been discussed at a number of past meetings and was further amended to incorporate staff items raised at the 12th January all staff meeting. So this policy will replace all previous ones from the 1st March 2017.   Any practice policy, including this one can be reviewed & amended at a Doctor meeting at any time.

In the policy below:

  • When we refer to the Practices Nurses (PNs), this includes the Health Care Assistants (HCAs).
  • When we refer to the Practice Managers, this includes the Assistant Practice Manager).
  • When we refer to Advanced Practitioners (APs), this includes Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs).
  • Full time is 37.5 hours per week or 9 sessions per week for Doctors
  • Full time is 10 sessions for Advanced Practitioners (APs).

Sickness Notification:

What to do if you are ill (or if you will be absent for any other on-day reason)....

  • You must telephone the practice – 01274 615338 between 7:50 and 8am on your first day of absence or subsequent due notification, stating why you cannot attend and when you will next contact us or intend to return to work.
  • You must then contact us on/before the date you advised you would contact us again.
  • When you know your intended return date – please inform the practice asap of this.
  • If you return to work on or up to 7 days of continuous absence you must obtain, complete and submit a practice self-certificate form asap.
  • If your absence is longer than 7 days, you must provide Doctor medical certificate(s) as due.
  • Failure to notify will result in an unauthorised absence period until notification occurs being treated as unpaid, unless the person was medically not able to do this.
  • Absence for non-illness of the specific employee must not be claimed as sickness absence (as potential fraud), but declared as urgent request for emergency time off (for example: child poorly and nobody else is available to help). This will then be supported and accounted as that person's leave. The employee can alternatively use any accrued TIL, and/or as unpaid or hours worked back at a later time.

Extensive Absences:

If you are frequently absent, (i.e. 3 or more separate absences over a six month rolling period), the Manager/Assistant Manager will be pleased to discuss – in confidence - any underlying problem with you, to establish what exactly may be wrong and what help can be given. Remember – a problem shared is a problem on its way to being resolved. If it is a work problem it may be possible to alter your working hours or change the type of work that you do. If the problem is outside work, we will try to help.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP):

If you are entitled to practice funded SSP, this will be paid as per the Government DW&P rules to you at the appropriate rate for the (QD) qualifying days (excludes the 1st 3 QDs), being those on which you would normally work and is calculated by the practice payroll service. Entitled SSP days will be added together if the period between absence periods is less than 8 weeks. SSP is the statutory minimum that an employee must be paid.

Discretionary Sick Pay (DSP):

If you are absent from duty owing to illness you may be entitled to have any eligible SSP topped up with Practice funded Discretionary Sick Pay (DSP) to the collective total amount as detailed below. The amount depends on the employee length of continuous* Ashcroft practice service up to the start of the sickness absence. DSP can be withdrawn at the employer’s discretion if the employee is deemed to have had a high amount of previous sickness absence compared to their peers. If DSP is paid, it is in accordance with the following scale:

  • Up to 1st year of continuous* practice service:- Nil DSP. Pay SSP if eligible as per DW&P
  • 1 to 3 years continuous* practice service: - from the person **3rd actual working day up to a total of 4 weeks*** absence @ full contracted pay.
  • 3 to 6 years continuous* practice service: - from the person **3rd actual working day up to a total of 6 weeks*** absence @ full contracted pay.
  • 6 to 12 years continuous *practice service: - from the person **3rd actual working day up to a total of 9 weeks*** absence @ full contracted pay.
  • 12+ years continuous practice service: - from person **3rd actual working day up to a total of 12*** weeks absence @ full contracted pay.

Additional Notes:

  1. SSP payment is topped up to the DSP pay level stated, not as well as.
  2. * If the break in service is only because of the employee meeting NHS Pension rules, then it is not counted as a break for the calculation of this policies entitlement. Also, the number of years is calculated up to the previous 1st
  3. ** The first two days of absence occurring in a rolling 12 month period****, either as 2 consecutive or as 1 day on 2 separate occasions, will be paid at the employee contracted pay, not as unpaid. Any further first 2 days absence above this in the same rolling 12 month period will be as un-paid absence. However, for any days absence that are un-paid, the employee can instead opt to use corresponding replacement paid time of annual leave &/or any accurred TIL. They can also work back that time when they are fit to do so and is required cover by the employer, but the deduction will occur and then paid corresponding overtime.. The absence must still be recorded as sickness.
  4. *** The amount of DSP entitlement available is calculated from deducting the cumulative total of all sickness absence occurred in a rolling 36 month period up to the current date of sickness absence.
  5. **** Rolling 12 month period is the past 12 months from the start of that absence period.
  6. As the practice has implemented an employee and partner locum insurance based policy, the employee must complete and submit in a timely manner any requested items required and/or attend any required meeting/medical if requested to so to submit and/or maintain a claim on this policy. Failure to do so will lead to withdrawal of any DSP.
  7. If the insurance policy pays for a greater period than the entitled DSP (could be from 5 weeks absence up to 52 weeks) then with any SSP paid, the employee will continue to be paid up to their 100% of contacted pay for as long as the policy makes payments. Any payments if received by the employee must be paid asap to the employer.

If you receive compensation or insurance payments for your period of absence...

In the event that you claim compensation or are paid insurance in respect of any injury or sickness which caused absence from work that the Practice (and/or its insurance) has provided any absence pay, then you must refund to the Practice the amount that is in excess of 100% contracted pay when totalling any SSP, DSP, and any Insurance/compensation payments for the absence. This includes any other state injury or sickness benefits to which you are entitled and which you have claimed. The contract signature or working the position for more than 4 weeks forms constitute authority to Ashcroft Surgery to make appropriate deductions from your salary for the purposes of implementing the agreement to refund created by this policy.

THE EMPLOYEE MUST COMPLETE AND SUBMIT ANY REQUIRED FORMS ETC IN A REQUIRED TIMELY MANNER AS PART OF ANY CLAIM TO ANY AVAILABLE INSURANCE – I.E. LOCUM ETC. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL CANCEL ANY ‘DSP’ ENTITLEMENT.

Sporting Activity, hazardous pursuits:

Staff that carry out sporting activities/hazardous pursuits (like bungee jumping, parachuting etc.) are expected to self-insure for any absence incurred as a consequence of the sporting activity. Failure to do so will cancel any DSP entitlement.

 

Medical opinion:

The employer can refer the employee (who must then attend/cooperate with) to an occupational health/specialist for medical opinion on their absence, including prognosis assessment etc.

The employer can request medical reports/information from other establishments/staff that hold it or the purpose of understanding, supporting and identifying prognosis of that absence.

Other Types of Leave

Annual Leave (AL):

The person’s entitlement and number of staff allowed off at any one time is detailed in the attached leave allowance process sheet. The annual leave entitlement will be counted in hours for admin & practice nurses and sessions for Doctors & NP’s; by multiplying leave entitlement in weeks (as detailed in the leave allowance process sheet attached) by the persons weekly contacted hours/sessions respectively. Changes in the allowance will be effective from the following full leave year. A Doctor, ANP/AP session is either an AM or PM.

Staff will not accrue any leave entitlement during any other absence period except if maternity.

Time off for Employee Appointments:

The practice will be as flexible as possible to support staff being absent for appointments that could not be made outside of working hours. It is acknowledged that hospital appointment times are mainly determined by them, so if not able to agree these to be outside work time, then the practice will allow the first two hospital out-patient/specific test appointments in any leave year as additional time. Any more than this or for other types of appointments i.e. dentist, doctor etc, this absent time will normally need to be made up at another time(s) as agreed by the line manager, or taken as annual leave, or as unpaid leave. It is the employee’s responsibility to agree the alternative to the use of their leave. Planned appointments should always aim to be made in non-working time.

Time off to Care for Dependants:

The practice will be as flexible as possible to support staff being absent for their or a dependant (child, if the employee is a carer) urgent hospital appointments that could not be made outside of working hours. Employees must try to book appointments outside working hours, but as Hospital appointment times are mainly determined by them, so if you cannot agree these to be outside work time, then the practice will allow the first two hospital out-patient/specific test/emergency treatment appointments in any rolling 12 months as additional time. Any more than this or for other types of appointments i.e. dentist, doctor etc., this absent time will normally need to be made up at another time(s) as agreed by the line manager, or taken as annual leave, or as unpaid leave. It is the employee’s responsibility to agree the alternative to the use of their leave. Planned appointments should always aim to be made in non-working time.

A ‘dependant’ is viewed as a partner, child or parent, where you must accompany them.

Statutory Bank Holidays (BH):

  • Staff are entitled to the 8 Statutory Bank Holidays.
  • The 8 Statutory Bank Holidays will be calculated in hours/sessions as follows...
    • Full time (FT) 37.5 hours (9 for GP sessions) divide 5 days to get 7.5 hours (1.8 sessions) per day x 8 total BHs = 60 hours (14.4 sessions) maximum.
    • Part time will be employed hours (or sessions) divide FT 37.5 hours (or 9 sessions) x 60 hours (or 14.4 sessions) = part time bank holiday entitlement. Divide by 8 to get a specific staff entitlement per each bank holiday.
    • This will then be added to the Annual Leave to determine the maximum Total Leave Entitlement (TLE), calculated in hours/sessions.
    • Example – part time 20 hrs per week, employed for 4 years is AL = 5 weeks x 20 = 100 hours  Plus BH 60 hours x 20/37.5 = 32 so provides TLE of 132 hours pa.
  • As each bank holiday occurs, the staff rostered to work on the bank holiday but released from that day, will have the calculated bank holiday hours per each one deducted from their total leave entitlement (TLE) and not any other absence used. If the person is rostered as a day off, then they will be able to take alternative time off as included in their TLE.
  • If the bank holiday occurs during a sickness absence, then the employee will take the bank holiday entitlement on that specific bank holiday day.

Maternity Leave:

The Practice will provide statutory maternity leave (Ordinary 26 weeks and Additional 26 weeks if eligible) and pay (SMP or MA) in accordance with statutory requirements. The department for Work and Pensions (www.dwp.gov.uk) produces leaflets of employee’ rights & entitlements. For employers’ information see www.dti.gov.uk. The person will still accrue annual leave during the ordinary maternity leave period (up to 26 weeks) which can by agreement be paid instead.

For Doctors – it is agreed in 2007, that as long as the practice receives Doctor Locum payments from the CCG via PCSE, then the practice will top up this SMP/MA and pay to the Doctor the lowest of either, the weekly locum re-imbursement & SMP/MA amount or the employee weekly gross salary. SMP/MA are at a practice cost so is included in the locum re-imbursement. If there is no locum re-imbursement paid to the practice, then the employee will only receive SMP / MA if entitled to do so at that time.

Paternity & Parental Leave:

Paternity leave: eligible employees (farther) whose babies are due or born on or after 6 April 2003 can take up to two weeks paid leave to care for the new baby and support the mother.

Parental leave: employees (both mother & father) who have completed one year’s service with their employer are entitled to up to thirteen weeks unpaid parental leave to care for their child. The leave can usually be taken up to five years from the date of birth: in the case of parents of disabled children, they can take up to eighteen weeks leave up to the child’s 18th birthday.

Study Leave

Doctors are allowed 10 sessions study leave per annum, pro rata for part time. GPR trainers also receive an additional week. (Partners have this as an inclusive total leave entitlement - roughly 8 weeks in total for partners, 9 weeks for GP trainers)

All other staff is entitled to study leave for items approved by the practice manager / Partners /doctor group.

Compassionate Leave:

Staff is initially entitled to 3 days compassionate paid leave on the occasion of the death or for the period (or up to the 3 days) of a serious illness/accident acute hospital admission, of a close family member(s). The manager, or a practice partner in the manager’s absence, can agree up to a further 2 days. A family member is identified as for compassionate leave as a mother, father, children, partner or grandparents only. Any other compassionate leave will be at the discretion of the Manager (or a practice partner in their absence), and will be as unpaid. Alternatively or as addition to, the employee can use any unused annual leave, and/or accrued TIL.

FAQs