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Long term sickness absence stage 1 interview.


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I have just been advised that I need to attend a long term sickness absence stage 1 interview. I work for the NHS, for 9 years and in that time I have never taken long periods of sick leave off. In August of this year I had a fall and damaged my shoulder. I was away from work in toal of 1 month. I asked for emergency AL the week I was due back to work as my mother was very ill with terminal cancer. My AL was declined!!!!! but I finally got the AL through my consultant I work for. During that week my mother passed away. After a week of bereavement leave I had this awful chest infection and have been off work for 4 week. This is my 5 week of sickness. I am under alot of stress with regard to my mothers death as I am alone and have no family to support me!! I am a little confused as what they deem as long term sickness?? as ive only been away for a month and I know that my manager is out to get me. making alot of trouble and ringing me up saying she knows why Im not @ work, its because of what has happened. She has also gone around the department asking people if Im OK????!!! I must mention that I received a letter from her for my attitude with regard to my AL request. We had an argument as I couldnt get AL that week and I got upset as my mother was very ill and and I am a lone carer. Please advise as this situation is getting serious. I know of other members of staff that have had more time off than me and have never been asked to attend a Stage 1 long term sickness interview. They are also asking me to attend this interview, when Im off sick!!

Edited by purplemoruga37
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You should ask for your employers managing sickness absence policy. But I am afraid that if you have had a month or more off sick within the 12 months, it doesn't matter at all why you have been off sick, what your previous sickness record was (or wasn't), nor whether it was "genuine" or not. Such policies are commonplace amongst employers now, and the sole criteria as to their implemenatation is passing a "threshold" - a certain number of absences, a certain number of total days, or a "pattern of concern" (like having every other Friday off sick). If your absences reach this threshold, and yours would certainly reach it, then the stage 1 becomes automatic.

 

It is quite unlikely that other workers off long term sick have not had such interviews - they are standard procedure in the public sector (and quite definitely in the NHS), and constitute an important evidential trail for the employer to demonstrate fair dismissal (in relation to capability) and fair process to avoid liability in relation to discrimination and personal injury claims. At a stage one the employer should consider what support or other things may be available to assist you in returning to work, but at the same time they will set a target which is around returning to work where at all possible, and not taking further days of sick leave.

 

It would be very short-sighted to refuse to attend the meeting, but you could ask for someone to accompany you - in fact this is often part of the policy (so you ought to ask to see a copy of it).

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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i must agree with surel on this one

 

the norm is three absence or 14 days absence will cause a atendance procedure to be flaged up

 

You're out of date - the average for public sector organisations is now 11 days! Not a lot of room there for any sort of sickness record!

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I am a barrister specialising in employment law, and only represent employees. My advice on employment issues is advice - not legal opinion - and is based only on the facts you provide. If you want an accurate assessment of your case and prospects, you should get legal opinion from a lawyer - not a public forum. Anything I tell you is for guidance only, and is based on my experience of the law in the context of what details you provide.

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