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Key Stages of the Supporting Attendance at Work Policy

Information for Line Managers on the key stages of the Supporting Attendance at Work Policy

  • Informal Review Meeting:  held on the first occasion that an employee reaches the council's corporate action trigger points (6 days or 4 occasions in a rolling 12 month period or 4 weeks of continuous absence).  Employee has no right to be accompanied/represented at these meetings.
  • Absence Support Meeting: to discuss employees absence record and where appropriate, referral to the council's Occupational Health Adviser. Employee has the right to be accompanied/represented at these meetings
  • OH Medical Referral: obtain a medical opinion to assist you in identifying the most appropriate action taking into account the interests of the service and the employee. Employee has the right to be accompanied/represented at these meetings
  • Stage 1 and 2 Absence Meetings:  formal meetings convened under the Supporting Attendance at Work Policy to discuss employees absence record, and any support required to assist them to improve their attendance or in continuous absence cases return to work.  Employee has the right to be accompanied/represented at these meetings
  • Alternative Employment: when the council's Occupational Health Adviser concludes that the employee is no longer fit to carry out the duties of their job, the possibility of offering the employee an alternative post will be investigated before a decision is taken to terminate their employment
  • Capability Assessment Review Panel: Prior to a capability assessment meeting being convened (except in ill-health retirements), all stage 3 cases will be considered by a capability assessment review panel.  Your Head of Service, you and a member of the HR team will be present.  The purpose of the review meeting is to discuss if the employee should progress to a Capability Assessment Meeting or whether a management discretion would be more appropriate
  • Capability Assessment Meeting:  chaired by the Head of Service with you and a member of the Human Resources Team in attendance in an advisory capacity.  This meeting could potentially lead to the dismissal of the employee, although discretion may still apply.  This will be discussed at the meeting. The employee has the the right to be accompanied/represented at these meetings
Informal Review Meeting

On the first occasion that the employee reaches the council's corporate action trigger point, you will hold an pdf icon Informal Review Meeting [88kb] with the employee.  This involves a positive and constructive one to one discussion between you and the employee.  The employee does not not have the right to be accompanied to this meeting, however it may be beneficial to allow this dependant on the circumstances.  The purpose of the meeting is to discuss the reason(s) why the employee has reached the corporate action trigger point and to consider any support and/or measures that may be necessary to help avoid future absences or for continuous absence, what can support the employee back to work.

For continuous absence this meeting will be convened whilst the employee is still absent from work unless management discretion is being applied.

Absence Support Meeting

An absence support meeting is a formal meeting to discuss the employees absence and where appropriate, referral to the council's Occupational Health Adviser.  Where an employee is absent for a continuous period, a number of absence support meetings and occupational health referrals may be necessary in managing the circumstances of the employees absence. Should the employee be unable to attend their normal workplace (or another council building), a home visit may be arranged with the employees agreement.  The employee has the right to be accompanied/represented at these meetings. These meetings should always be arranged during the employees normal working hours.

Following an Absence Support Meeting, you will confirm the outcome of the meeting in writing within 10 working days and advise the employee of any requirement to attend the council's Occupational Health Adviser and the reasons for the referral. 

OH Medical Referral

The purpose of referral is to obtain a medical opinion to assist you in identifying the most appropriate action taking into account the interests of the employee and that of the Service. By establishing whether the absence may be caused by an underlying medical condition, you are better placed to determine how to support the employee and timescales for doing so. Referral also enables you to seek an opinion from the Occupational Health Adviser as to whether the Equality Act applies for the employee and if so, whether there is a need to consider making reasonable adjustments.  A copy of the word icon completed medical referral [60kb] form will be given by you to the employee prior to the referral appointment.

Should the employee be unable to attend in person, a telephone consultation may be arranged as an alternative if considered appropriate. If this is the case please let OH know ASAP with the details.

Stage 1 and 2 Absence Meetings

Stage 1 and 2 Absence Meetings are formal meetings under the supporting attendance policy and are held to discuss your employees absence record as well as any support they may need to assist you in improving your attendance or in continuous absence cases to support their return to work. This meeting will be held as quickly as possible, but no later than 2 weeks from the employee returning to work or in continuous absence cases, within 2 weeks of the employee reaching the corporate action trigger point.  Where the employee has been referred to Occupational Health the meeting will be held no later than 2 weeks from receipt of the Occupational Health Adviser's report.

At the meeting you will discuss the content of the occupational health adviser's report (if provided) and possibly explore ways of supporting the employee in improving their attendance or supporting them back to work. Reasonable adjustments to their working environment and/or working arrangements including the possibility of alternative employment may also be considered if appropriate. The need for further specialist medical advice or interventions such as physiotherapy or counselling should also be considered at these meetings.

Following a Stage 1 or 2 Absence Meeting, the employees attendance will be closely monitored for a period of 12 months from the date of their return to work or in continuous absence cases the date the employee reached the corporate trigger action point. For intermittent absences any further absence(s) that occur after their return to work but before the stage meeting takes place will not result in the employee progressing to the next stage of the procedure at that point. The outcome of the pdf icon Stage 1 [88kb] or pdf icon Stage 2 Absence Meeting [89kb] is to be confirmed in writing to within 10 working days .

Alternative Employment

In the event that the council's Occupational Health Adviser concludes that the employee is no longer fit to carry out the duties of their job, the possibility of offering them an alternative post should be investigated before a decision is taken to terminate their employment. 

In order to carry out this search the employee is required to complete a skills audit and return it to the HR Business Partner ASAP.  The search for alternative employment will commence from the date you or the head of service meets with the individual and will last for a period of 3 calendar months.  All jobs for the council, including internal only posts are advertised on myjobscotland website and you should direct employees to this site. 

Should the employee be successfully redeployed during this period, they will remain at their current stage of the supporting attendance policy and will be subject to the normal monitoring periods.

If the employee is not successful in being redeployed, a Capability Assessment Meeting will be convened by the Head of Service who will make a decision on their continued employment with West Lothian Council.  You as line manager will be required to be in attendance also.

Capability Assessment Review Meeting

Except in cases of ill-health retirement, Capability Assessment Meeting's (CAM) are only convened following a Capability Assessment Review Meeting (CARM), where the Head of Service, HR and yourself will attend and discuss whether a CAM meeting is necessary or a management discretion is more appropriate.

At this review meeting the following factors will be considered:

  • Advice received from Occupational Health in relation to the employees circumstances
  • Nature of the condition or conditions that have led the employee to trigger to Stage 2
  • Support measures or adjustments that have previously been considered and/or implemented if applicable
  • Whether a discretion is appropriate in the employees circumstances at this stage

Although the employee will not be present at this meeting, the outcome will either result in them progressing to a Capability Assessment Meeting with the Head of Service or a management discretion being applied. All decisions will be confirmed in wiring within 10 days of the meeting,  by yourself.  In cases of capability assessment meetings being convened the employee will be advised of this date and time and their rights under this formal process. 

Capability Assessment Meeting

Capability Assessment Meeting (CAM) is the final formal stage under the Supporting Attendance at Work and is held with Head of Service, HR and yourself in attendance.

Where an Occupational Health Physician advises that the employee has become permanently unfit to carry out their job, it is unlikely that there will be any adjustments or supports that can be put in place to allow them to return to work.  Nevertheless the Head of Service will consider the following factors before reaching a conclusion:

  • Nature of the condition that has led to the employees absence and specifically whether or not this condition is covered by the Equality Act 2010
  • Support measures or adjustments that have previously been considered and/or implemented to help the you return to work
  • Operational impact of the employees continued period of absence
  • The employees views of their ability to return to work and any indicative timescales

If, having considered all the relevant information, the Head of Service concludes that dismissal is not appropriate at this time the employee will be advised of any relevant adjustments or review/monitoring arrangements to be put in place.  Where a decision not to dismiss is taken due to the employee becoming fit for work, they will be placed onto the appropriate stage of the Policy & Procedures on Supporting Attendance at Work.

If, however the Head of Service concludes that dismissal is appropriate the employee will be advised that their employment will be terminated from the date of the meeting and on the grounds of permanent ill-health.  As a result of this dismissal the employee will be entitled to any outstanding annual leave and a weeks pay for each year of completed service up to the maximum of 12 weeks. 

If the employee has more than 2 years continuous service in the local government pension scheme this would result in them gaining access to their pension at the appropriate tier as advised by the Senior Occupational Health Adviser report.  

In cases of Teaching Staff the SPPA will confirm if the employee meets the criteria for permanent ill-health at the appropriate tier dependant on their condition.  

There is a right of appeal if the employee does not agree with the outcome of the pension decision and the decision to dismiss, all which will be discussed in detail a the capability assessment meeting and confirmed in writing by the Head of Service within 10 working days.

For more information on ill-health retirement and appeal process please follow the links on right hand column.