This page gives an overview to some of the issues surrounding reporting unfit for duty through sickness. Further information is available from your Federation representative, the Federation office, or from the Merseyside Police Attendance Management Policy. See elsewhere on this site for additional information if you have been injured in duty.
Reporting sickness absence.
If an officer is unable to report for work due to sickness or injury, they are responsible for personally informing their supervisor of the reason for their absence, a likely date of return, and any action they are taking to overcome the condition (e.g. visiting their doctor). This should be done the day or days before the officer is due to work their next shift, or as soon as possible after the start of the working day. It is helpful if the officer can provide a contact telephone number for the duration of their absence. Other than in exceptional circumstances, the message should not be passed to the supervisor by a partner, family member, colleague, voice mail or text message.
If absence continues beyond the first day, contact should be made by the absent officer (or in exceptional circumstances by someone on their behalf) on a regular basis as determined by the supervisor. This is to allow the supervisor to offer advice or assistance, and to plan for the absence in the workplace. If the sickness continues beyond seven calendar days, the officer should submit a medical certificate from their GP to their supervisor at the earliest opportunity. Medical certificates are required throughout the period of sickness (after the initial seven days), and it is important that there is no break in the dates that they cover.
Officers who are on sick leave should be visited regularly by a supervisor, to ensure any welfare needs are addressed and to encourage a return to work. It also provides the opportunity to discuss any concerns the individual may have about their absence and review the support that can be provided. It is not acceptable for an officer to refuse contact whilst on sick leave. Meetings may take place at an alternative agreed location if requested by the officer.
Illness at work
Where an individual attends work and becomes ill during working hours, causing them to go home, that day will not be counted as a sickness absence for either Statutory Sick Pay or on the individuals sickness record, regardless of how long the individual was in work on that day.
Reporting fit for duty
Officers should ensure that their supervisor (or other nominated person) is informed of the days that they are fit to return to work, even if this is a rest day, Bank Holiday, or has been booked as annual leave. Where an officer is fit to return to work before the date given on a GP's medical certificate, they should obtain a certificate from their GP confirming that they are fit to return. When an officer returns to work, they will have a 'return to work' interview with a supervisor.
Alternatives to reporting sick
Officers should not report sick to meet personal or domestic needs. This would constitute misconduct. There are other options that can be discussed with a supervisor, such as taking annual leave, TOIL, or discretionary / compassionate leave.
Payment of salary during long term sickness
The Secretary of State's determination of sick pay under regulation 28 of the Police regulations 2003 provides that a member of a police force who is absent on sick leave shall be entitled to full pay for six months, in any one year period. Thereafter, the member becomes entitled to half pay for six months, in any one year period.
Officers who believe they may find themselves in this situation should contact the Federation Office, and for those contributing to the Group Insurance Scheme, please contact the Federation regarding sick pay benefit and to check eligibility, as per the scheme benefits booklet.
The Chief Constable retains the discretion, however, to extend the period of entitlement to, as appropriate, full pay or half pay. For further details as to how this would affect you, please contact the Federation office.
Sickness whilst on annual leave
If an officer becomes sick whilst on annual leave, they should verbally inform their supervisor immediately if they wish to take sick leave rather than annual leave. The request shall be followed in writing. Thereafter the officer should follow the sickness reporting procedures as laid down above. Sickness cannot be reported retrospectively after returning from annual leave.
Attendance at court whilst sick
An officer who is required to attend court whilst on sick leave should do so, unless their GP submits a medical certificate indicating that they are not fit to attend. Officer who do attend court whilst on sick leave should not wear uniform during their court appearance and should be given assistance with travelling to and from court if necessary, along with any other support required.
Permission to go on holiday whilst on sick leave.
Officers who have booked a holiday prior to being absent on sick leave, or who have been advised by their GP that a holiday would expedite their recovery should advise their supervisor of the circumstances as soon as possible, who will liaise with the occupational health department. The officer may take their holiday if the occupational health advisor or Force medical advisor agrees with the GPs recommendation that the holiday will not impede their recovery. Officers who fail to seek permission to take their holiday may be subject to disciplinary action.