Part 2 Section 6

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PART 2: SECTION 6 - SICKNESS ALLOWANCES AND NOTIFICATION ARRANGEMENTS

Qualification and Entitlements


6.1 All employees must accrue a total of 18 weeks continuous qualifying council service before being entitled to sickness allowance. This allowance is complementary to the statutory provisions, and employees with less than 18 weeks continuous qualifying service may be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP).


6.2 A week’s qualifying service comprises any week, regardless of the number of hours worked, in which an employee is employed by a council. This includes periods of annual leave, public holidays, sickness absence, maternity leave or other special leave.


6.3 Continuity of qualifying service is deemed to be broken where a break exceeds two weeks. However, a newly qualified teacher will have until 1 November of the year following their entry to the Induction Scheme to secure a first teaching appointment, without having to requalify for sickness allowance.


6.4 Once 18 weeks continuous qualifying council service has been attained the entitlement to sickness allowance is maintained, unless there is a break of service in excess of two weeks.


6.5 Where an employee returns to council service following a break for maternity/adoption reasons, they will be entitled to have previous service taken into account for the purposes of entitlement to sickness allowance. This, however, is provided that the break in service does not exceed eight years and that there has been no paid employment during the break.


6.6 An employee absent from duty due to sickness or injury will receive, in any one period of 12 months, sickness allowance as set out in the table below:


Service at Commencement of Absence from Duty Full Salary for a period of Half Salary for a period of
Less than 18 weeks nil nil
18 weeks but less than 1 year 31 days 31 days
1 year but less than 2 years 61 days 61 days
2 years but less than 3 years 122 days 122 days
3 years but less than 5 years 152 days 152 days
5 years or more 183 days 182 days


6.7 For the purpose of sickness allowance, a month shall be a calendar month. In aggregating periods of absence of less than 1 calendar month, a month shall be reckoned as 30 days.


6.8 The council has the discretion to extend the periods of sickness allowance, where appropriate.


6.9 When an employee is absent from duty due to sickness, all other sickness absences in the 12 months preceding the first day of absence will be taken into account and deducted from the sickness allowance entitlement. Initially, previous sickness absence should be deducted from the period of full pay.


6.10 A period of sickness allowance terminates on the day prior to the day on which the employee is fit to return to duty in accordance with the Notification and Certification procedures set out in paragraphs 6.26 to 6.32, below.


6.11 If an employee is still unfit to work at the expiry of the half salary period the Director of Education, or equivalent, shall either;

(a) place his or her name on the reserve list (in the case of a teacher or music instructor only);
(b) decide whether payment of sickness allowance shall be extended for a period; or
(c) take such other action as may be deemed appropriate.


The Director of Education, or equivalent, will consider all relevant factors, including medical reports, in reaching a decision.


Note: Where a teacher or music instructor is placed on the reserve list, she/he shall continue to accrue statutory leave for as long as she/he remains on the list.


Calculation of Allowance

6.12 Sickness allowance shall be calculated on the basis of 1/365th of the annual rate of salary for each calendar day the employee is certified absent.


6.13 Where an employee is entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP), the full sickness allowance will comprise a sum that, when added to SSP payable, will equal 1/365th of the annual rate of salary for each calendar day the employee is certified absent.


6.14 Where an employee becomes excluded from entitlement to SSP, the full sickness allowance will equal 1/365th of the annual rate of salary for each calendar day the employee is certified absent.


6.15 Where an employee is entitled to SSP, the half sickness allowance should be equal to half 1/365th of the annual rate of salary for each calendar day the employee is certified absent added to the SSP to which the teacher is entitled, so long as this sum does not exceed 1/365th of the annual rate of salary for each calendar day the employee is certified absent.


6.16 Where an employee is or becomes excluded from entitlement to SSP, the half sickness allowance will equal half 1/365th of the annual rate of salary for each calendar day the employee is certified absent so long as this sum, when added to any benefits payable under National Insurance Acts, does not exceed 1/365th of the annual rate of salary for each calendar day the employee is certified absent.


Suspension of Allowance

6.17 Should the Director of Education, or equivalent, have reason to believe that the employee’s absence is due to his/her own misconduct or negligence, deliberate conduct which is prejudicial to recovery, or failure to observe the terms pertaining to the sickness allowance under this scheme, the payment of sickness allowance may be suspended by the council. Prior to suspension, the employee will have the opportunity to appear, with representation, before the Director or his/her equivalent. If the Director, or equivalent, decides that there are justified grounds for suspension there will be no further payment of allowance in respect of the current period of absence. The employee will be entitled to appeal this decision. The appeal shall be treated as an appeal under the final stage of the grievance procedure and things will stay as before until the appeal process is completed.


Absence Due to Non Work Related Accident

6.18 Where an employee receives damages as the result of an accident, repayment of any sickness allowance advanced (either the total amount or proportion thereof represented in the amount of damages received) must be repaid to the council. The employee shall be notified of any action taken.


6.19 Any period of absence where a refund is made in full will not be treated as sickness absence and will not count against the period of entitlement. Any such period will be counted as special leave.


Absence Due to Work Related Injury/Illness

6.20 Where an employee is absent due to sickness or disablement as a result of a work related injury or illness, the employee shall be entitled to a separate allowance. It will be calculated on the same basis as the sickness allowance provided for in paragraphs 6.6 and 6.7 above. This allowance and the sickness allowance are entirely separate.


6.21 Normally an injury caused by an accident at work will only qualify for payment if the accident book (Form BI 510) has been completed. Where there is good reason for the entry not to have been made (by the employee or other party) the council should not refuse the allowance.


All other cases of injury or illness that are work related must be confirmed by both the employee’s medical practitioner and the medical officer appointed by the council. For this allowance to be applied, the medical officer appointed by the council must confirm that the injury or illness is work related.


Victims of Crime Violence

6.22 Where an employee is absent from work because of an injury where the Criminal Injuries Compensation Authority (CICA) may make an award, there is an entitlement to sickness allowance. There is no requirement to refund any of the allowance received from the sum awarded by CICA. Where a CICA award is made, the period of absence shall not be treated as sickness absence, will not count against any period of entitlement but will instead be treated as special leave.


Assault in the Course of Employment

6.23 In the case of assault in the course of employment, an employee’s period of absence shall not be treated as sickness absence and shall not count against the periods of entitlement. The absence will be treated as special leave and payment will be up to 6 months full pay and 6 months half pay on the production of a fit note.


6.24 The employer will ensure that the incident is reported under the appropriate violent incident and accident reporting procedures. The employer will keep the absence under medical review and there is an expectation that the employer will support the employee with any reasonable adjustments to return to the workplace at the earliest opportunity.


6.25 If the absence no longer relates to the violent incident and the employee continues to remain medically certified unfit for work the absence will then be treated as sickness absence and the sickness provisions shall apply, as set out in paragraph 6.1 – 6.11 above.


Notification and Certification

6.26 To receive sickness allowance the employee must meet the requirements detailed in paragraphs 6.27 to 6.32 below.


6.27 The employee must notify the school/council as soon as is practicable. If the employee is unable to do this due to illness, some other person may act on his/her behalf. The employee should, if possible, indicate the date of return to work.


6.28 Where the absence continues to a fourth day further notification, as above, should be made to the school/council.


6.29 Where the absence period is 4 to 7 days, the employee will complete a self-certification form on return to work.


6.30 Where the absence extends beyond 7 days of sickness, the employee will submit a statement of fitness for work to the school to cover absence beyond the 7 days. In addition, a self-certification form to cover the first 7 days of absence should be completed and returned, following issue by the council.


6.31 The statement of fitness for work will state that the employee is “not fit for work” or that the employee “may be fit for work” and may benefit from a phased return to work; altered hours; amended duties; or workplace adaptations. The council will review the content of the statement of fitness for work in discussion with the employee with a view to agreeing the basis of return to work. Where further medical evidence is required, the council may refer the employee to the council’s medical examiner.


6.32 Where an employee fails to comply with the notification and certification requirements, in respect of any day of sickness entitlement, the sickness allowance will cease for that day, unless there is an acceptable reason provided for this failure.


Supported Return To Work

6.33 Where an employee seeks a supported return to work but a fitness to work statement has not been issued, the council should consider the supportive provisions set out in 6.31. The terms of the supported return should be discussed with the employee with a view to agreeing the basis of return to work. This would normally require medical evidence from the employee and/or evidence from the council’s medical adviser.


Infectious Diseases

6.34 An employee who is prevented from attending the place of employment because of contact with notifiable infectious diseases, shall advise the council immediately and shall be entitled to full pay during absence. A period of absence, in this case, should not be reckoned against his/her entitlement to sickness allowance.


Respiratory Tuberculosis

6.35 Where an employee is suffering from respiratory tuberculosis, and where the absence is supported by a doctor’s statement, full salary is payable for any period of absence up to a maximum of 12 months plus half salary up to a maximum of a further 6 months. The employee shall not return to duty until certified as fit to resume work.


Long Term Medical Conditions


6.36 Where an employee is suffering from a long term medical condition, the council should give careful consideration to extending the period of sickness allowance, particularly when the prognosis is that he/she will be able to return to work or where the illness will bring the employee under the terms of the Equality Act 2010. The medical officer acting on behalf of the council should obtain evidence from the employee’s medical adviser to help the council reach a decision.


COVID-19


6.36.1 Absence from work with acute COVID-19 and/or Ongoing symptomatic COVID-19 will be treated as paid special leave for the duration that the person is unable to work, or 12 weeks, whichever is shorter. This leave will be separate to other sickness absence entitlements. Where Post-COVID-19 syndrome is diagnosed outwith this period that prevents normal working, an employee will be paid under existing sickness pay arrangements and normal attendance policies will apply.


6.36.2 If an employee is asked to self-isolate through test and protect, medical advice or similar arrangements and can work at home, they should do so and be paid normally. If they are unable to work paid special leave should be granted.


Prolonged Sickness and Annual Leave: Teachers and Music Instructors

6.37 Where a teacher or music instructor, owing to certified absence, as set out in paragraphs 6.26 to 6.32, has been incapacitated for a continuous period of 8 consecutive days or more, the employee will accrue compensatory leave if the following conditions are met. For each certified absence the employee will accrue compensatory leave of 2 days for every 5 days of designated annual leave which cannot be taken, subject to a maximum credit of 8 such days accruing in any one leave year.


6.38 In agreement with the council, this compensatory leave entitlement shall be taken by the employee following his/her return to work. The timing of this leave is subject to the overriding needs of the service and should normally be taken in the term in which the return to work takes place or within the following term.


6.39 Where a teacher or music instructor, owing to certified sickness, has not taken, or will be unable to take, the statutory leave entitlement (28 days), within a leave year, he/she shall receive the appropriate balance of leave to bring his/her total leave to the statutory leave entitlement for that leave year. Such leave will normally be carried forward into the following leave year. Pro rata arrangements shall apply to part time staff and those employed for any part of the leave year. Where a teacher or music instructor is carrying forward a compensatory leave entitlement and a statutory leave entitlement the total of such leave shall not exceed the maximum statutory leave entitlement.


6.40 A teacher or music instructor is entitled to take, in full or in part, the appropriate balance of leave up to the statutory leave provision during a period of sickness absence. Where such leave is taken during a period of sickness absence, pay shall be the normal pay for each day (inclusive of Statutory Sick Pay and replacing Sickness Allowance).


6.41 Where a period of leave is substituted for a period of sickness absence, as set out in paragraph 6.38 above, the substituted leave period shall not count towards the entitlement period for payment of Sickness Allowance, but will count towards entitlement for Statutory Sick Pay.


6.42 Any leave up to the statutory leave entitlement which remains untaken at the end of the leave year, shall be carried forward into the next leave year and shall be taken following the employee’s return to work. The timing of this leave shall take account of the needs of the service and should normally be taken in the term in which the return to work takes place or within the following term.


6.43 The council shall notify the teacher or music instructor of his/her leave entitlement, including entitlement arising from paragraphs 6.37 and/or 6.39, in writing and advise how this leave entitlement can be taken.


Prolonged Sickness and Annual Leave: Educational Psychologists, Senior Educational Psychologists, Depute Principal Educational Psychologists and Principal Educational Psychologists and Education Support Officers, Quality Improvement Officers and Quality Improvement Managers

6.44 Should sickness coincide with any period of annual leave, this period should be regarded as sick leave when the appropriate self certificate or statement of fitness for work is submitted.


6.45 If the sickness absence exceeds 3 months during a leave year, the council has the discretion either to grant the full period of annual leave or to limit it to a proportion of the annual leave due for the period actually worked (subject to the minimum statutory leave provisions).


6.46 Where statutory leave provision has not been taken within a leave year owing to certified sickness, the appropriate balance of leave to bring the total leave to the statutory leave provision for that leave year should be provided. Pro rata arrangements shall apply to part time staff and those employed for any part of the leave year.


6.47 The council shall notify the employee of her/his leave entitlement in writing and advise of how this leave entitlement can be taken.


6.48 Employees are entitled to take, in full or in part, the appropriate balance of leave up to the statutory leave provision during a period of sickness absence. Where such leave is taken during a period of sickness absence, pay shall be the normal pay for each day (inclusive of Statutory Sick Pay and replacing Sickness Allowance).


6.49 Where a period of accrued leave is substituted for a period of sickness absence, the substituted leave period shall not count towards the entitlement period for payment of Sickness Allowance, but will count towards entitlement for Statutory Sick Pay.


6.50 Any untaken leave up to the statutory leave provision which remains untaken at the end of the leave year, shall be carried forward into the next leave year and shall be taken following the employee’s return to work. The timing of this leave shall take account of the needs of the service and should normally be taken as soon as possible following the return to work.

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