What to do if you are absent

The what to do… series of posts explains the steps members should take in various situations within the Council.

Phone in when you will be off. Discuss with your manager how often you should keep in contact. For absences without a sick note—those under 7 days—this is normally every day. For longer absences, you should agree expectations for contact with your manager.

Attend the “back to work” meeting. For long-term absences you may want a rep present to help any discussion around a phased return or reasonable adjustments if you have a disability or long-term health condition.

Contact a rep for an absence meeting if you

  • have already had a stage 1 meeting
  • are off with an industrial injury
  • have a disability of long-term health condition
  • are off with work-related stress
  • are off for more than 4 weeks.

You must speak to a rep before you get to stage 3.

Reps need 5 working days notice to attend a meeting. If your meeting is sooner than that, ask for it to be rescheduled so a rep can attend.

Occupational health

You may be asked to discuss your health with occupational health. This is usually helpful and will produce a report that gives guidance to your manager.

You must see the referral before your manager sends it off so you can agree to the content. You can ask for the referral to be changed.

Once you have been to occupational health, the report will be sent to your manager. Ask your manager for a copy before you attend any absence meetings.

Absence stages

An absence stage is a meeting to check in to see how you are doing. It is part of the Council’s ‘duty of care’ as an employer. It is not a punishment.

At any absence meeting you must cover the following:

  1. Have you had an occupational health assessment? Is the advise from the report in place?
  2. Have you contacted PAM for support? PAM provides support for mental health concerns, as well as physio, and can advise on various matters.
  3. If you have a disability of long-term health condition, have you discussed reasonable adjustments that could help you return to work?

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