Sick pay scheme

Article 31

Section 1
  1. The employees referred to in this Agreement shall (where appropriate) be subject to the provisions of the Sick Pay Scheme for Manual Workers set out in Appendix 3 hereof.
  2. Details of the provisions relating to Self-Certification of Sickness for employees covered by this Agreement, as issued by the Whitley Council in June 1982, can be found at Appendix 4 hereof.
  3. For the purposes of Section 8(A)16 of the Sick Pay Scheme the form of undertaking to be found at Appendix 5 of this Agreement should be used in all cases.
Section 2
  1. In cases where an employee’s level of sickness absence gives cause for concern, managers should seek to bring about an improvement by following the capability procedures. However, the application of those procedures does not affect an employee’s entitlements under the Sick Pay Scheme.
  2. In dealing with the matter of serious illness which calls into question the likelihood of an employee being able to return to work the following guidance and procedure should be followed.

The absence provisions of the Sickness Scheme (Appendix 3 of the Memorandum of Agreement) relate to absence wherein there is a probability of an eventual return to work. The concept of sick leave assumes a return to duty and the full sickness entitlement only applies if there is to be a return to work.

There are, however, unfortunate instances in which it becomes evident at some stage that a return to work is at best unlikely. In those cases it is reasonable to expect that an employer should refer the employee to the employer's medical adviser and that, if the advice received so indicates, early retirement procedures should be put into effect. Whilst it is impossible to lay down hard and fast rules since so much depends on individual cases such procedures can be instituted before the expiry of the sick leave allowance period.

The procedure to be followed should be that if the employer’s medical adviser recommends early retirement the employee should be seen, advised of the recommendations, which should be made available to him and given the notice appropriate to his length of service. He should also be given a right of appeal to be exercised within 28 days. Such an appeal would require to be supported by medical opinion obtained by the employee. Any such medical opinion, which the medical practitioner concerned may prefer to forward direct to the employer would then be referred to the employer's medical adviser to see whether it caused him to revise his previous recommendation. In the event of there being a difference of medical opinion the matter would be referred for final decision to an independent medical referee chosen jointly by the employer and the employee.

NOTE: During the course of these procedures the normal sick pay entitlement provisions would be used.

If the absence is continuous but medical opinion indicates that the illness is not permanent and therefore early retirement is not appropriate, consideration should be given as to whether, in view of the continued inability to attend work, termination of employment should be considered on the grounds of capability. In considering this course of action the following agreed procedures for capability should be followed having regard to:

  1. the current length of absence and the prognosis of a likely return to work
  2. the impact the above is having in the workplace

The Procedure

  1. Seek a medical review at 3 months of absence
  2. If medical prognosis is that a return to work is likely take no further action other than to monitor the situation for the next 6 months
  3. If there is no return to work before the end of this period seek further medical advice
  4. If medical opinion confirms that the employee is not permanently unfit but remains unable to return to work consideration should be given to terminating employment on the grounds of lack of capability (Stage 3 capability procedures) provided that the employee has exhausted his entitlement to sick pay under the Scheme

Where termination of employment is being considered, further advice on the application of the procedures can be sought from the Office of Human Resources and the potential benefits available from the Public Services Pensions Authority.

Last Updated - February 2016