New ‘welfare-focused’ approach for DWP attendance management

The principles and aims which underpin the new policy include:

  • The employee, not the process, will be the focus of line managers when managing sickness absence. Decisions will be based only on the individual circumstances of each case and by following a fair and consistent process. Decision-makers will always stand back from the detail to check that the outcome feels right, proportionate and reasonable for all parties involved.
  • Warnings will be considered no earlier than at the relevant trigger points and issued in cases where necessary, rather than being the preferred way, of achieving satisfactory attendance. Dismissal or demotion will be considered only as a final option where the level of sickness absence cannot reasonably be supported.

Reasonable adjustments must be implemented

Adjustments that are reasonable must be implemented if the employee is disabled but, in accordance with DWP’s work-focussed approach, managers should consider reasonable adjustments to overcome all health barriers to good attendance and performance whether the employee is disabled or not.

All adjustments implemented must be periodically reviewed but not so frequent that it becomes onerous and bureaucratic.

Health and attendance improvement meeting must be welfare-focused.

When a trigger point is reached your manager invite you to a formal meeting called the health and attendance improvement meeting (H&AIM). You must be allowed to be accompanied by a work colleague or PCS representative of your choice.
The H&AIM must be welfare focused and its main purpose is for your manager to understand more about your absence(s), including more about your illness, the treatment you are having or had and what might be done to achieve a satisfactory level of attendance:

  • There is no pre-determined outcome to the support-focussed H&AIM. Most of the time should be spent discussing support, help and health / wellbeing improvement, focusing as much as possible on practical things that might be done such as advice from occupational health and/or reasonable adjustments and other corrective/supportive measures.
  • At the end of the meeting the appropriateness of a warning must be considered but this must not be the main point of the discussion. Warnings are not automatic or a default outcome but require a positive, case-specific decision by the line manager

PCS advice, support and representation

Always contact your local PCS representative for advice, support and representation when invited to attend a health and attendance improvement meeting (H&AIM)


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