Long Term Sick questions

Discussion in 'Employment & HR' started by godoit, May 2, 2019.

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  1. godoit

    godoit Contributor

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    I have an employee with a epilepsy and over 2 years employed.
    She had started having siezures and has been off regularly since early December. She has been in and out of work. We have made reasonable adjustments for her to return, not left alone, a friend could call in and then employee can call in later that day.

    she hasnt worked a full 2 weeks since December. She has had other sick leave not related to her disability. She has generally returned before required to produce a doctors note.
    Now we have had a couple of problems.
    Just before the Easter Holidays she had a seizure and mum phoned in that day for the employee. The employee didn't call in for a week, we had tried phoning daily and messaging no response. at the end of the following week she phoned with a sick note. A return to work was held with the out come this may be moved to a disciplinary.
    Easter holidays took place. She was late for every shift.
    During the Easter holiday's she phoned her trainer who works for a competitor company and disclosed she had concerns about a junior staff member. Manager confronted her and she denied it, we have the proof it was her. We also have a whistle blowing policy she did not follow.

    I sent a letter to attend a disciplinary with a weeks notice. disciplinary was 3 points

    Not following our absence reporting policy
    turning up late
    and disclosing information to a third party.

    She texted in sick the next day and refused to answer the phone, produced a sick note with side effects from medication and "problems at work" for 1 week. Disciplinary is booked for tomorrow and the sick note ran out for then so all good for meeting.

    Just got an email for a one month sick note, it was emailed so I cant make out the reason. She says she is too ill to work to attend my meeting.

    I have a few questions.
    We only pay SSP, does the period of max 23 weeks mean SSP is paid for 23 weeks consistently, or is it, 23 weeks of sickness overall and if they are linked we can count from December?

    I want to call her tomorrow now under my duty of care to see if she is able to retun to work at the end of the month or is she incapable of work due to her condition.

    My plan is now to get an Occ health assessment to see if she is able to attend the disciplinary and take it from their. If she refuses to answer and the meeting, can i sack her?

    Posted: May 2, 2019 By: godoit Member since: Oct 8, 2014
  2. WaveJumper

    WaveJumper Contributor

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    I must first say I am no HR guru, but have had to deal with a few long term sick issues in my time and they always end up be very tricky. I would check the SSP as I thought this was now 28 weeks (corrected).

    Regarding the linking if your employee has regular periods of sickness you may well be able to count these as linked if they were in the last 4 or more days, and have been less than 8 weeks apart, be worth checking out gov website

    It sounds like you doing all the right things (showing you’re a caring company etc.) my firsts thoughts were I would concentrate now and focus on the long term sickness issue ‘first’ then when (or if) she’s returns to work follow up the disciplinary issues. It sounds very much like she knows she’s in the wrong.

    However I don’t think there is any reason why disciplinary action cannot be taken whilst someone is out on long term sick leave as long as the employer gives the employee all the usual rights. You can even make arrangements to carry this out at the person’s home.

    If the latter occurs I am sure you would make sure you’re not on your own, I remember turning up to interview a member of staff with the head of HR and when we sat down I happened to look up and noticed the microphone hanging from the light fitting and a cable running out into the hall.

    I wish I could be more helpful and I hope someone with a lot more HR knowledge can jump in here and give you some sound advice. Worth checking out the ACAS website too, best of luck hope it goes well
    Last edited: May 3, 2019
    Posted: May 3, 2019 By: WaveJumper Member since: Aug 26, 2013
  3. Newchodge

    Newchodge Contributor

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    SSP is payable for 28 weeks for every separate period of sickness. It is payable if an employee has a PIW - Period of Incapacity for Work - that lasts 4 calendar days or more. A PIW that starts within 56 days of a previous PIW finishing is linked, so SSP is paid from the first qualifying day for the linked periods, not after 3 waiting days. and all the linked periods count towards 28 weeks.

    She has been diagnosed with epilepsy very recently. It is a very frightening diagnosis and it is not very surprising if she is failing to deal appropriately with things. That is part of her disability and may need reasonable adjustments. You have made some adjustments, you may need to make more.

    Ringing her to ask what she expects her state of health to be in a month's time is an exercise in futility. I would worry it would be considered intrusive.

    I would definitely get occ health advice. Does your employment contract cover occ health?
    Posted: May 3, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
  4. godoit

    godoit Contributor

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    She has had epilepsy since she was very young, its started flaring up again when the doctor's changed her med's.

    Nothing in the contract about occ health.

    It's not to see about her health in a month, its to see if we she is well enough so we. could meet to have the disciplinary. Her sick note is for stress, surely if stress related then having a disciplinary over her for head for a month is not conducive to helping her recover. Would I then not be failing in my duty to resolve it quickly?

    If she refuses to speak to occ health then maybe it is futile. A gp report and occ health to ask about attending a meeting rather than returning to work. Happy to do it at her house, nutreal place, with extra support. I just really want it resolved.

    As soon as she is back the disciplinary will need to be rescheduled and I have it in the policy that sharing info with a third party is gross misconduct. she could be fired depending on the information outcome of the meeting at which point the stress will come back.
    Posted: May 3, 2019 By: godoit Member since: Oct 8, 2014
  5. Newchodge

    Newchodge Contributor

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    Have you already carried out a full investigation into the disciplinary matters? Has she been spoken to as part of the investigation and been given a copy of the investigation report?
    Posted: May 3, 2019 By: Newchodge Member since: Nov 8, 2012
  6. godoit

    godoit Contributor

    332 27
    No investigation meeting, she admitted them, straight away on an informal chat with her manager apart from the third point of info. Notes written up on the third point. I will need to share that with her a week before the meeting so she know's what she is fighting.
    Posted: May 3, 2019 By: godoit Member since: Oct 8, 2014
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