Consult your Sickness Absence policy in the first instance. This should give you guidance.
If you do not have a policy or if the policy is not clear, the first step you will need to take is to investigate the reason why the employee is off work; how long they are likely to continue to be off work; whether they are any steps that can be taken to enable the employee to return to work at the school; will the employee be able to return to work after medical intervention; what is the impact on the school and teaching and learning and what is the impact on other staff in the school as a result of the employee’s continuing absence?
Once you have investigated these issues which must include speaking to the employee in question and is likely to involve seeking a medical advice, you can then consider the options. This may include taking steps to support the employees return to work, setting timescales for review or possibly considering dismissal if there is no evidence that the employee will be able to return to work in the near future and no reasonable adjustments which can be made. The individual should be encouraged to participate in this process as much as possible.
Prior to dismissing an individual for long term sickness absence you should invite them to a formal meeting, warning that the outcome may be the termination of their employment. The usual rules on the employee having notice of any meeting, being able to consider all the evidence and being represented by their Trade union or a work colleague apply.
We have a range of letters to support you in this situation, please see:
S3: Letter requesting employee consent to medical report
S4: Medical consent form
S5: Letter to GP/Consultant requesting medical report
S7: Invitation to meeting to discuss medical report
S11: Invitation to long term sickness absence meeting(s)
S12: Invitation to final long term sickness absence meeting
S23: Guidance note: conducting long term sickness absence meeting(s)
S24: Guidance note: conducting final long term sickness absence meeting (potential dismissal)
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