Top 5 Manager FAQs
An employee is currently off work on sickness absence, can they be paid their annual leave whilst remaining off sick?
Employees continue to accrue annual leave (excluding statutory days) whilst on sickness absence and in certain circumstances can be paid for annual leave whilst they remain off work on sickness absence.
You should contact your HR Business Partner who will notify salaries to make the payment and amend the sickness absence record.
What questions should I include in the occupational health referral form?
Questions for Occupational Health should be specific to the individual condition, reason for absence relevant for the post that they undertake. Section five of the Occupational Health Referral form (available on the University Website) provides sample questions that you can ask Occupational Health in respect of an employee.
A sample of the questions include;
- Is the employee fit for work?
- Is the individual likely to return to work in the foreseeable future? Please specify when the employee will be fit for work.
- Does the employee require any workplace adjustments (and if so for how long) which you think should be considered to assist with return to work and/or to maintain a regular and reliable attendance at work?
- Is there any action the employee can take to assist in their recovery? Should this employee be considered for ill health redeployment?
- Is the employee fit to attend a meeting regarding their employment?
In addition to providing questions for Occupational Health, you should provide relevant background information and an account of any issues that may be affecting the employee and or their health condition.
You should discuss the referral form with the employee and advise them why you are referring them to Occupational Health and also, what questions you intend to ask Occupational Health.
Once you have completed the referral form, you should send this to the relevant HR Business Partner to arrange the appointment.
Occupational health have recommended a phased return, how should I manage this?
The Occupational Health Physician may recommend a phased return for a member of staff that has been absent on long-term sickness (normally more than 20 days) in order to facilitate a return to work on a gradual basis or to amend duties for a prescribed period of time. The employee may be well enough to do some of their work, but may need assistance to help them return to their normal working pattern/duties.
The Occupational Health Physician will provide recommendations on the duration of the phased return and if amended duties are required following a medical assessment. This information will be contained in the Occupational Health report.
Pay will be protected for the first two weeks of a phased return. Where it is agreed to extend the RTW period, additional days will be managed through the use of accrued annual leave and/or unpaid leave.
Any phased return requested by an employee but not recommended by Occupational Health or the GP may be granted by enabling the employee to use annual or unpaid leave.
An employee has a hospital appointment, how is this covered?
Employees should where possible make doctors, dentists, opticians and other routine health appointments outside working hours. Where this is not possible, appointments should be made at such times that they cause minimum disruption to the working day (i.e. at the start or end of the working day or at lunchtime).
Where the employee has a pattern of appointments due to an underlying medical condition, you should consult with your HR Business Partner for advice.
Where members of staff are required to attend a Hospital appointment during their normal working hours paid time off should be granted, subject to the production of an appointment card and at management discretion.
An employee has failed to submit medical certificates, what should I do?
You should contact the member of staff as a matter of urgency requesting that the medical certificates are submitted as repeated failure to comply with the reporting requirements and submit medical certificates may result in absence being treated as unauthorised absence and. Occupational Sick pay being withheld. Furthermore, this may result in disciplinary action being taken.
Sample letters for issue to staff confirming their requirement to submit appropriate certificates/medical fit notes within the stipulated timescales are available on the University website. For further advice, contact your HR Business Partner.