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This document can be used by an employer to create a Sickness Absence Policy. The sickness absence policy has two main objectives:
The document has been tailored for use specifically in the jurisdictions of England and Wales, and Scotland.
This document can be used by employers with organisations of varying sizes (small, medium or large). It also makes provision for an organisation whose employees are part of a trade union.
How to use this document
This document should be made easily accessible to all employees within the employer's organisation. It should also be communicated to employees either electronically (via email) or in a physical printout to ensure that all employees are aware of the employer's commitment to promoting the health and well-being of its employees.
This policy has been created from the position that it does not form part of the employee's employment contract. This grants the employer the benefit of being able to change the policy without the prior agreement of the employee, as well as saving the employer from possible contractual issues such as a claim for breach of contract.
PLEASE NOTE: Where the employer consults the employees' trade union before implementing this policy, it is possible that the policy will then form part of the employment contract, particularly if the union agrees this to be the case. Additionally, if the employees within the organisation are members of a trade union, the employer may need to consult with the trade union about the policy before it can be implemented.
This policy should be signed and dated by a senior member of management who has the authority to do so. This can be the employer himself, or in the case of an organisation with multiple high-level personnel, the Managing Director. The employer should ensure its managers are acquainted with this policy and follow it regularly in matters relating to sickness absence so that there is limited risk of becoming liable for unfair dismissal or discrimination resulting from failure to handle an employee's sickness absence properly. This can occur, for example, where the employee is dismissed because of sickness absence, and the employer has failed to follow a fair procedure in handling the matter.
It is a legal requirement for employers to give their employees information about the terms and conditions on incapacity for work due to sickness or injury, and provisions for sick pay. Hence, this document should be used alongside documents such as the employee's employment contract or the employer's staff handbook.
Whenever this policy is changed or amended, the employer should provide the employee with the amended policy in either an electronic format (via email) or a physical printout at the earliest opportunity.
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