Long-term sickness and disability

  • By The Alchemist About Town
  • 24 Aug, 2016

People stuff

According to HSE 27.3 million working days were lost in 2014/15 due to absence with stress depression or anxiety counting for 9.9 millions days, musculoskelatal discords 9.5 millions days.

The average days lost per case for stress were 23 days and for musculoskelatal 17 days with average level of employee absence rose slightly from 6.6. days in 2014 to 6.9 in 2015. In this current economic climate this represents a real cost and impairment to businesses especially SMEs.

If employers move to implement / invoke capability / ill health formal procedures (either absence management policy or disciplinary policy) more quickly than they would otherwise under the disability provisions of the Equality Act 2010 and the Employment Rights Act 1996 (ERA) which may ultimately lead to dismissal on grounds of medical capability or ill health, they should consider at that point whether the employee is disabled i.e. whether they have “a physical or mental impairment that has a substantial and long term adverse effect on their ability to carry out normal day to day activities”.

Long-term absence through ill health is a potentially fair reason for dismissal under the provisions of section 98(3)(a) of the ERA. This relates to the employee’s capability to do the work they were employed to do.

For the procedure to be fair this will require regular documented discussions with the employee ; a thorough investigation of the up-to-date medical condition and prognosis and the employee needs to also understand at what point dismissal may be an option.

These discussions should also include a look at what steps the employer could take to get the employee back to work including any adjustments that may be necessary; and, where the employee is not in a position to return to their substantive position, thinking about alternative jobs.

There is a duty on employers to make reasonable adjustments :

  • to premises  or working practices
  • to help disabled job applicants or employees
  • allocate some duties to another person
  • transfer to fill an existing vacancy
  • after hours or place of work
  • absence for rehabilitation, assessment or treatment
  • modify procedures for assessment or testing
  • provide supervisor or other support
  • disability leave
  • support worker/supported employment scheme
  • adjust redundancy selection criteria
  • modify performance-related pay

If the employer is responsible for the employee’s ill health, it may be necessary to “go the extra mile” in terms of finding alternative employment for them, or putting up with a longer period of absence than might otherwise be reasonable.

When a disabled employee is absent because they can no longer continue in their substantive position through ill health or injury, employers should consider redeployment as an alternative to dismissal if they are fit to work in some capacity.


Although this will ultimately depend on whether there are vacant positions the leading case in this type of situations remains that of Archibald -v- Fife Council in which the House of Lords (now the Supreme Court) determined that, in certain redeployment circumstances, disabled employees may be treated more favourably than non-disabled employees, specifically that the duty to make adjustment is triggered when it becomes apparent that the employee can no longer satisfy the requirements of their job description and this entails a degree of positive discrimination.


In cases of long-term absence, redeployment will arise where the employee is fit to work but not in their substantive role.

While it is generally the case that employers are not required to create a post where one does not exist, this may be a reasonable adjustment when there has been a complete reorganisation or restructure, where legislation does not preclude creating a new post in substitution for an existing vacant post.

In practice these situations are likely to be limited, nevertheless food for thought.

These matters  of law need to be applied carefully and therefore, if you find yourself in this type of situations, you need to seek qualified advice. Although long term absence or absence in general can be a real disruption to the business and a financial burden,  please do remember to deal with employees with sensitivity, compassion and understanding. It is not easy for them either...

The People Alchemist Blog

By The Alchemist About Town 22 Sep, 2017
I am so utterly delighted that my book is now out, available to order both on paperback and on Kindle edition just in time for Business Women's Day - YES!!!!!! :-) 

STOP IT! It's all in your head   is my labour of love and my way to encourage, inspire and empower women to achieve what they want professionally and not be confined by societal, religious, family paradigms of what " women should do/are like" and, most importantly, the restrictions in their head.
If that is being CEO of a Global Company or a stay-at-mum or Director of Paperclip ( whatever grabs your fancy) so be it.

Writing this book was also a personal challenge ( the 30 days thingy) which confirmed to me once and for all that you can really do whatever you set your mind to, if you really want to that is.

Couple of tips for writing a book from me:
  • write about what you are passionate about, you know more than you think.
  • free-write about the parts/chapters in the book you like the most and you are most interested in first - that will give you a great boost at the beginning - you can edit and add the boring bits later - by then most of the book will be almost there
  • keep your own voice - write as you speak so to speak ( people do need to understand you though..)
  • keep an open mind, ideas will flow into you mid-way through the project
  • a deadline and going public is good to beat procrastination ( but if that stresses you out too much don't do it) - the deadline certainly helped me.
You can do it too!!!

If anyone would like to be part of the book launch, the event is live on Eventbrite and you can buy an Early Bird ticket now:
SMASH YOUR CEILING - #STOPITBookLaunch 
Thursday 12 October at 18.30
Business Design Centre
Islington
London

To pre- e-meet other super fab women in business attending the event, please use the following hashtags:
#SMASHYOURCEILING
#STOPITBookLaunch
#BDCWorks

I'm so excited about this book and I genuinely hope you will like it- I hope to meet you soon, in person or through the pages of my book.

Laura x


#Hustle #GirlBoss #SmashThatCeiling
  #SmashYourCeiling
STOP IT! It's all in your head 
#dreambig #believe #youcan



By The Alchemist About Town 19 Sep, 2017
The time is getting closer and closer to the release of   STOP IT, It's all in your head   my new book ( 22 September for Business Women's Day - US) .

I have now  received the proof copy of the paperback which looks absolutely fabulous: a couple of things to correct but overall I am super happy with the result.
A lot of marketing to do now between Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+ ( which is PS: looking like more work than the actual writing of the book).

The book event/launch/talk is live on Eventbrite and you can buy an Early Bird ticket now:
SMASH YOUR CEILING - #STOPITBookLaunch 
Thursday 12 October at 18.30
Business Design Centre
Islington
London

To pre- e-meet other super fab women in business attending the event, please use the following hashtags:
#SMASHYOURCEILING
#STOPITBookLaunch
#BDCWorks

I'm so excited about this book and I genuinely hope you will like it.

Laura x


#Hustle #GirlBoss #SmashThatCeiling
  #SmashYourCeiling
STOP IT! It's all in your head 
#dreambig #believe #youcan



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