- Doctor: All GP Partners
- Nurse: –
- Admin: Chris Rushton
7th Oct 2019
DATE OF NEXT REVIEW:
This is the practice policy for the provision and management of any practice employed staff absence booking/occurrence. Expert HR advice will be sourced as required. This policy review has been discussed at a number of past meetings and was further amended to incorporate staff items raised at the 12th January all staff meeting. So this policy will replace all previous ones from the 1st March 2017. Any practice policy, including this one can be reviewed & amended at a Doctor meeting at any time.
In the policy below:
- When we refer to the Practices Nurses (PNs), this includes the Health Care Assistants (HCAs).
- When we refer to the Practice Managers, this includes the Assistant Practice Manager).
- When we refer to Advanced Practitioners (APs), this includes Advanced Nurse Practitioners (ANPs).
- Full time is 37.5 hours per week or 9 sessions per week for Doctors
- Full time is 10 sessions for Advanced Practitioners (APs).
What to do if you are ill/not coming in for whatever reason
- You must telephone the practice – 01274 615338 between 7:50 and 8am on your first day of absence or subsequent due notification, stating why you cannot attend and when you will next contact us or intend to return to work.
- You must then contact us on/before the date you advised, you would contact us again.
- When you know your intended return date – please inform the practice ASAP of this.
- If you return to work on or up to 7 days of continuous absence you must obtain, complete and submit a practice self-certificate form ASAP.
- If your absence is longer than 7 days, you must provide medical certificate(s) as due.
- Failure to notify will result in an unauthorised absence period until notification occurs being treated as unpaid, unless the person was medically not able to do this.
- Absence for non-illness of the specific employee must not be claimed as sickness absence (as potential fraud), but declared as an urgent request for emergency time off (for example: child poorly and nobody else is available to help). This will then be supported and accounted as that person’s leave. The employee can alternatively use any accrued until, and/or as unpaid or hours worked back at a later time.
How do I request leave?
- All admin staff leave must be submitted on the practice leave request form to the stated authoriser person above.
- All Nurse staff leave requests must be submitted on the practice leave request form to the stated authoriser person above.
- Doctors must make their requests clear (verbal, email) to the Practice Manager (and Assistant Practice Manager in their absence).
- Very urgent leave will be accepted by telephone on a case by case basis – the lead authoriser may involve other people in the decision-making process.
Who approves leave?
- Doctors & APs – authorisation by Practice Manager[PM]. (in their absence – Assistant PM or GP partner. If GP partner – must not be the same as GP requesting leave).
- Practice Nurses – Lead Practice Nurse (in her absence – PM/Assistant PM)
- Admin staff – Assistant PM (in their absence, the PM)
Types of Leave & Allowance
- Doctors – The leave year is January to January.
- Nurses & Admin – The leave year is March to March.
The person’s entitlement and number of staff allowed off at any one time is detailed in the attached leave allowance process sheet. The annual leave entitlement will be counted in hours for admin & practice nurses and sessions for Doctors & NP’s; by multiplying leave entitlement in weeks (as detailed in the leave allowance process sheet attached) by the persons weekly contacted hours/sessions respectively. Changes in the allowance will be effective from the following full leave year. A Doctor, ANP/AP session is either an AM or PM. Staff will not accrue any leave entitlement during any other absence period except if maternity.
The amount of leave you are entitled to depends on the amount of continuous employment at this practice – unless otherwise agreed. This means, you cannot carry over past NHS employment years with another organisation. If you join the practice part way through the year, the leave you are entitled to is pro-rata of that detailed below.
- GP Trainees: as per the national BMA contract
- Salaried GPs: 6 weeks – increases to 8 weeks with the incorporation of study leave after 3 years continuous work at the practice.
- GP Partners: 8 weeks (includes Study Leave of 10 sessions)
- GP Partners who are also GP Trainers: 9 weeks (includes Study Leave of 10 sessions PLUS 1 week of compulsory attendance at Trainer events)
- Practice Managers, Advanced Practitioners (APs), Nurses, HCAs & Admin
- Up to 5 years service = 5 weeks
- 5 to 12 years service = 5½ weeks (rounded up to the next hour)
- 12 & over = 6 weeks
All are in addition to the statutory bank holiday entitlement. These allowances will be effective from the following full leave year and for Practice Nurses and Admin calculated into hours by multiplying the above by the member of staff contracted weekly hours. Doctors and APs are in sessions, with a session being either an AM or PM. The value of the statutory bank holiday entitlement can be added to the annual leave entitlement to make a Total Leave entitlement TLE. The person will then be deducted the daily bank holiday entitlement for each bank holiday they would have worked on. This can be calculated in hours, days, sessions depending on the working profile of that group of staff.
The minimum period of notice required is 1 month.
Sometimes, at the discretion of the partners or Practice Manager, periods of notice of less than this might be approved. This depends of the reason for the short notice of leave (e.g. a funeral, short notice course etc) and providing there is an adequate level of working staff to provide service provision. Sometimes, this may require a reworking of work schedules of existing staff and in exceptional circumstances, the employment of a locum.
Staff will be able to normally book for the following leave year period from the 1st October of the previous leave year period. The authoriser can agree leave booking prior to this if the leave is for a special occasion or reason, for example, a silver wedding anniversary, a world cruise trip, 40th birthday, religious, humanity aid.
Leave will be granted on a first come first serve basis up to the total number of individuals allowed off for your staff group.
- Staff should normally not take more than 2 weeks off at any one time, unless approved as a special occasion, for example, a special trip to Australia.
- Where possible, staff should not take a large amount of their annual leave as individual days. Staff will be allowed up to one week to be used as individual days, with the rest to be take as whole weeks.
- There may be discretionary exceptional allowances to both of the above – but these will be on a case by base basis and your first port of call should be the named authorisor for your staff group.
We prefer you to take your leave in bulk rather than in odd days here and there because this causes less disruption to service provision. It also means others who wish to take lengthier periods are not prevented from doing so because of the several others who have taken one-day leave during their requested time off. (For instance, we have a general rule – in terms of doctors – no more than two off at any one time).
We suggest that you keep one-day leave requests to a minimum, especially if it is a Monday or Friday.
The exception to the rule is the GP Trainers – we understand that there are several GP Trainer training events throughout the year (Spring School, Summer School, Autumn School, Trainers’ Conference, Trainers’ Workshops) – some of which are mandatory, others are not – but often these are 1, 2 or 3-day workshops. It is a requirement from HEE that GP Trainers attend such events as it is a requirement of their 5-yearly approval.
- GP Partners – As per Partnership agreement, you can only carry over 10 sessions. More sessions will be allowed if there have been exceptional circumstances – decision to be made by partners or Practice Manager – especially if your involvement in the practice has prevented you from taking your annual leave in a timely way.
- Other Doctors, Nurses & Admin – You can carry over up to 5 sessions if authorised by the leave authorisor for your staff group.
- Leave will be lost if the person has just not bothered to book it. More can be authorised by the Practice Manager or in their long term absence a GP Partner – but ONLY in exceptional special circumstances (for example, building up leave for a 4 weeks’ anniversary holiday to say Australia).
- Same rules for taking leave from the next year in advance.
- However, please note – this should be occasional rather than something routine.
This depends on the total number staff in the staff group. If this changes, then the maximum numbers allowed off at any one time will change too. Where the change cannot be translated into sessions, allowance in hours will be used instead.
So, as at February 2018:
Doctors (salaried & partners), APs
- Current total number of staff = 9
- Allowance = 2 max off at any one time.
- Other conditions: Full time can only be off at the same time for up to a maximum 1 week overlap without specific approval.
Practice Nurses, HCAs
- Current total number of staff = 7
- Allowance = 1 max off at any one time.
- Other conditions: (Whilst Nurse Jo does the average hours with school holidays then this time is not part of this 1 off calculation)
PM and Asst PM
- Current total number of staff = 2
- Allowance = 1 max off at any one time.
- Other conditions: Should aim not to be off at the same time without a prior partner agreement.
- Current total number of staff = 11
- Allowance = 2 max off at any one time.
- Other conditions:
Leave maybe allowed above these values if specifically approved by the Practice manager (or a partner in their absence) and will be made without setting precedent and based on the specific reason for the request. Compassionate leave, leave for caring of dependants, and leave for hospital, Doctor, Dentist appointments not available in own time are in addition to these levels.
- All doctors are allowed 10 sessions study leave per annum, pro rata for part time.
- GPR trainers receive an additional week for the mandatory courses they have to do – which without they would not be reapproved and the practice would lose its training status.
- GP Partners have this as an inclusive total leave entitlement – roughly 8 weeks in total for partners (40 session), 9 weeks for GP trainers (45 sessions)
- All other staff – other staff are entitled to study leave for items approved by the practice manager / Partners /doctor group.
The practice will be as flexible as possible to support staff being absent for appointments that could not be made outside of working hours. It is acknowledged that hospital appointment times are mainly determined by them, so if not able to agree these to be outside work time, then the practice will allow the first two hospital out-patient/specific test appointments in any leave year as additional time. Any more than this or for other types of appointments i.e. dentist, doctor etc, this absent time will normally need to be made up at another time(s) as agreed by the line manager, or taken as annual leave, or as unpaid leave. It is the employee’s responsibility to agree the alternative to the use of their leave. Planned appointments should always aim to be made in non-working time.
A ‘dependant’ is viewed as a partner, child or parent, where you must accompany them.
The practice will be as flexible as possible to support staff being absent for their or a dependant (child, if the employee is a carer) urgent hospital appointments that could not be made outside of working hours. Employees must try to book appointments outside working hours, but as Hospital appointment times are mainly determined by them, so if you cannot agree these to be outside work time, then the practice will allow the first two hospital out-patient/specific test/emergency treatment appointments in any rolling 12 months as additional time. Any more than this or for other types of appointments i.e. dentist, doctor etc., this absent time will normally need to be made up at another time(s) as agreed by the line manager, or taken as annual leave, or as unpaid leave. It is the employee’s responsibility to agree the alternative to the use of their leave. Planned appointments should always aim to be made in non-working time.
- Staff are entitled to the 8 Statutory Bank Holidays.
- The 8 Statutory Bank Holidays will be calculated in hours/sessions as follows…
- Full time (FT) 37.5 hours (9 for GP sessions) divide 5 days to get 7.5 hours (1.8 sessions) per day x 8 total BHs = 60 hours (14.4 sessions) maximum.
- Part time will be employed hours (or sessions) divide FT 37.5 hours (or 9 sessions) x 60 hours (or 14.4 sessions) = part time bank holiday entitlement. Divide by 8 to get a specific staff entitlement per each bank holiday.
- This will then be added to the Annual Leave to determine the maximum Total Leave Entitlement (TLE), calculated in hours/sessions.
- Example – part time 20 hrs per week, employed for 4 years is AL = 5 weeks x 20 = 100 hours Plus BH 60 hours x 20/37.5 = 32 so provides TLE of 132 hours pa.
- As each bank holiday occurs, the staff rostered to work on the bank holiday but released from that day, will have the calculated bank holiday hours per each one deducted from their total leave entitlement (TLE) and not any other absence used. If the person is rostered as a day off, then they will be able to take alternative time off as included in their TLE.
- If the bank holiday occurs during a sickness absence, then the employee will take the bank holiday entitlement on that specific bank holiday day.
The Practice will provide statutory maternity leave (Ordinary 26 weeks and Additional 26 weeks if eligible) and pay (SMP or MA) in accordance with statutory requirements. The department for Work and Pensions (www.dwp.gov.uk) produces leaflets of employee’ rights & entitlements. For employers’ information see www.dti.gov.uk. The person will still accrue annual leave during the ordinary maternity leave period (up to 26 weeks) which can by agreement be paid instead.
For Doctors – it is agreed in 2007, that as long as the practice receives Doctor Locum payments from the CCG via PCSE, then the practice will top up this SMP/MA and pay to the Doctor the lowest of either, the weekly locum re-imbursement & SMP/MA amount or the employee weekly gross salary. SMP/MA are at a practice cost so is included in the locum re-imbursement. If there is no locum re-imbursement paid to the practice, then the employee will only receive SMP / MA if entitled to do so at that time
Paternity leave: eligible employees (father) whose babies are due or born on or after 6 April 2003 can take up to two weeks paid leave to care for the new baby and support the mother.
Parental leave: employees (both mother & father) who have completed one year’s service with their employer are entitled to up to thirteen weeks unpaid parental leave to care for their child. The leave can usually be taken up to five years from the date of birth: in the case of parents of disabled children, they can take up to eighteen weeks leave up to the child’s 18th birthday.
Staff are initially entitled to 3 days compassionate paid leave on the occasion of the death or for the period (or up to the 3 days) of a serious illness/accident acute hospital admission, of a close family member(s). The manager, or a practice partner in the manager’s absence, can agree up to a further 2 days. A family member is identified as for compassionate leave as a mother, father, children, partner or grandparents only. Any other compassionate leave will be at the discretion of the Manager (or a practice partner in their absence), and will be as unpaid. Alternatively or as addition to, the employee can use any unused annual leave, and/or accrued TIL.
This section only applies to the GP Partners. This is a GP Partners’ agreement. For all other staff, please see the FAQ section below.
- The GP partners have agreed to allow themselves 5 days of adhoc sick leave per year. What this means is that if you are a GP partner, you are allowed periods of sick leave lasting 1 or 2 days for a total sum of 5 days per year.
- Any additional days of sick leave will trigger a discussion to help understand what is happening.
- The purpose of this is to limit the number of 1 or 2 adhoc sick leave days per year whilst still making a provision for it. Most people in any form of work take on average 3 days sick leave. So, hopefully the 5 day provision will be more than enough. This also helps Ashcroft Surgery to understand (and help) that particular GP partner.
- Sick leave that lasts for 3 or more continuous days is not counted towards the 5 days sick leave limit. Why? Because we are trying to limit the number of adhoc 1-2 sick days which different people have different thresholds for taking and not sick leave which is necessary (e.g. 2 weeks recovery from an operation for instance).
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
If you are entitled to practice funded SSP, this will be paid as per the Government DW&P rules to you at the appropriate rate for the (QD) qualifying days (excludes the 1st 3 QDs), being those on which you would normally work and is calculated by the practice payroll service. Entitled SSP days will be added together if the period between absence periods is less than 8 weeks. SSP is the statutory minimum that an employee must be paid.
If you are absent from duty owing to illness, you may be entitled to have any eligible SSP topped up with Practice funded Discretionary Sick Pay (DSP) to the collective total amount as detailed below. The amount depends on the employee’s length of continuous* Ashcroft practice service up to the start of the sickness absence. DSP can be withdrawn at the employer’s discretion if the employee is deemed to have had a high amount of previous sickness absence compared to their peers. If DSP is paid, it is in accordance with the following scale:
- Up to 1st year of continuous* practice service: Nil DSP. Pay SSP if eligible as per DW&P
- 1 to 3 years continuous* practice service: from the person **3rd actual working day up to a total of 4 weeks*** absence @ full contracted pay.
- 3 to 6 years continuous* practice service: from the person **3rd actual working day up to a total of 6 weeks*** absence @ full contracted pay.
- 6 to 12 years continuous *practice service: from the person **3rd actual working day up to a total of 9 weeks*** absence @ full contracted pay.
- 12+ years continuous practice service: from person **3rd actual working day up to a total of 12*** weeks absence @ full contracted pay.
- SSP payment is topped up to the DSP pay level stated, not as well as.
- * If the break in service is only because of the employee meeting NHS Pension rules, then it is not counted as a break for the calculation of this policies entitlement. Also, the number of years is calculated up to the previous 1st
- ** The first two days of absence occurring in a rolling 12-month period****, either as 2 consecutive or as 1 day on 2 separate occasions, will be paid at the employee contracted pay, not as unpaid. Any further first 2 days absence above this in the same rolling 12 month period will be as un-paid absence. However, for any days absence that are un-paid, the employee can instead opt to use corresponding replacement paid time of annual leave &/or any accurred TIL. They can also work back that time when they are fit to do so and is required cover by the employer, but the deduction will occur and then paid corresponding overtime.. The absence must still be recorded as sickness.
- *** The amount of DSP entitlement available is calculated from deducting the cumulative total of all sickness absence occurred in a rolling 36 month period up to the current date of sickness absence.
- **** Rolling 12 month period is the past 12 months from the start of that absence period.
- As the practice has implemented an employee and partner locum insurance based policy, the employee must complete and submit in a timely manner any requested items required and/or attend any required meeting/medical if requested to so to submit and/or maintain a claim on this policy. Failure to do so will lead to withdrawal of any DSP.
- If the insurance policy pays for a greater period than the entitled DSP (could be from 5 weeks absence up to 52 weeks) then with any SSP paid, the employee will continue to be paid up to their 100% of contacted pay for as long as the policy makes payments. Any payments if received by the employee must be paid asap to the employer.
If you are frequently absent, (i.e. 3 or more separate absences over a six month rolling period), the Manager/Assistant Manager will be pleased to discuss – in confidence – any underlying problem with you, to establish what exactly may be wrong and what help can be given. Remember – a problem shared is a problem on its way to being resolved. If it is a work problem it may be possible to alter your working hours or change the type of work that you do. If the problem is outside work, we will try to help.
In the event that you claim compensation or are paid insurance in respect of any injury or sickness which caused absence from work that the Practice (and/or its insurance) has provided any absence pay, then you must refund to the Practice the amount that is in excess of 100% contracted pay when totalling any SSP, DSP, and any Insurance/compensation payments for the absence. This includes any other state injury or sickness benefits to which you are entitled and which you have claimed. The contract signature or working the position for more than 4 weeks forms constitute authority to Ashcroft Surgery to make appropriate deductions from your salary for the purposes of implementing the agreement to refund created by this policy.
THE EMPLOYEE MUST COMPLETE AND SUBMIT ANY REQUIRED FORMS ETC IN A REQUIRED TIMELY MANNER AS PART OF ANY CLAIM TO ANY AVAILABLE INSURANCE – I.E. LOCUM ETC. FAILURE TO DO SO WILL CANCEL ANY ‘DSP’ ENTITLEMENT.
Staff that carry out sporting activities/hazardous pursuits (like bungee jumping, parachuting etc.) are expected to self-insure for any absence incurred as a consequence of the sporting activity. Failure to do so will cancel any DSP entitlement.
The employer can refer the employee (who must then attend/cooperate with) to an occupational health/specialist for medical opinion on their absence, including prognosis assessment etc.
The employer can request medical reports/information from other establishments/staff that hold it or the purpose of understanding, supporting and identifying prognosis of that absence.
Employment decisions are not based on automated decision-making.