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Incapability through Ill Health Procedure (APT&C)*


Incapability through Ill Health Procedure (APT&C)|pdf(84.4 kb)


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1. Principles|

2. Legal Aspects|

3. Policy|

4. Procedure|

5. Medical Advice|

6. Timescale|

7. Notes|



Incapability through ill health leading to one of three categories:

a. Prolonged absence.

b. Short, frequent absences.

c. Development of a condition which affects performance in post held but does not, necessarily, affect attendance at work.

should be dealt with under this procedure.

The assistance of a member of the Human Resources Team may be requested by departments, the trade unions or the individual at any stage.


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1. Principles

a. Problems of non-attendance at work need active management for reasons of immediate cost, discipline at work and avoidance of legal (additional cost) difficulties, as well as the importance of being able to provide students with minimal disruptions to their studies.

b. Management needs, at the same time, to be sensitive to the need for good employment practices as well as being aware of the serious problems facing individuals who are suffering from longer term and possible severe illnesses.


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2. Legal Aspects

In many cases of long term absence matters may be resolved by mutual agreement. Nevertheless the extent to which continuous or intermittent absence should be allowed to continue before termination of employment should take account of:

a. The nature, length and effect of the illness of disability.

b. The employee's past and likely future service to the University and associated employers.

c. The importance of the job, and possibilities of an adequate replacement.

d. Whether continued employment is against the interests of the students, the other employees, the University or the public.


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3. Policy

a. When a decision to dismiss is taken it is an employment decision based largely on a balance of the employee's and the University's interests, culminating in the vital question of whether in all the circumstances it is reasonable to expect an employer to go on employing this employee any longer.

b. Where any absence exceeds 4 weeks, the case will normally be referred for medical opinion. N.B. It is a condition of employment that staff may be required to attend for a medical examination if requested to do so.

c. Where medical evidence justifies that the absence is due to genuine illness/injury, the situation should be treated as potentially one of termination on grounds of health not a disciplinary termination.

d. Where regular intermittent absence occurs without adequate supporting medical evidence, then the disciplinary procedure for excessive absence should be followed.

e. Due consideration will be given to employees who are disabled and experience a deterioration in their health condition during their service, to employees who become disabled during their service (either by industrial or non-industrial injury) and to employees who have problems returning to work after illness.

All reasonable efforts will be made to enable the individual to return to work, to restructure the job where reasonably practicable, so that the individual may continue in his/her designated role or if this is not possible, to retrain or redeploy the individual where a vacancy exists or where transfers could occur without detrimental effect to the Faculty/Department, other individuals, employees, or the students. If necessary, the University will call upon the assistance of external advice eg Disability Employment Advisers at local JobCentre Plus offices and specialist charities.


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4. Procedure

a. Stage 1 - Informal discussions with individual, including counselling where appropriate.

b. Stage 2 - Formal health interviews and obtaining medical advice, including consideration of redeployment and/or ill-health retirements where appropriate.

c. Stage 3 - Consultations with individuals and decisions regarding termination of employment or continuation of employment for a period.


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5. Medical Advice

Where the employee has been referred to Occupational Health the latter will seek a medical report from the employee's doctor usually followed by an examination interview. The requirements for an examination may be omitted if the occupational health adviser has satisfied him/herself of the facts in written correspondence with the employee's doctor.

In the case of disagreement between the university's medical adviser and the individual's GP, the opinion of a third, independent, qualified medical practitioner will be sought, the cost to be met by the university.


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6. Timescale

It is important that stages 1| and 2| are correctly carried out, with supporting medical information, in time for appropriate notice periods to coincide with the termination of sick pay entitlement should the decision at stage 3| be to terminate the employment. The timescale should take into account the aspects referred to in 3.a| above, which must be judged in the circumstances of the individual case.


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7. Notes

a. In some cases it may be appropriate to combine stages 1| and 2|.

b. In all cases of illness it is important that the problem can be perceived as having been dealt with in a sympathetic and understanding manner whilst meeting the interests of the University, other employees and the students in a fair manner.

c. Where an employee on long term sick (whether continuous or intermittent) is dismissed, the normal conditions for giving notice should apply even though in practice the employee will be unable to work his/her notice.

d. It is important that informal visits and enquiries are made as good management practice.

e. Absences due to industrial injuries (where claims may often arise) should be treated no differently in respect of this procedure from non-industrial injury absences.

f. HR will support and advise managers to ensure that each case is treated in line with the policy.

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