Many employers have created attendance management procedures to deal with short-term, intermittent absences (Kloss, 2013).The majority of these procedures involve trigger points, specifying that after a certain number of days absence, during a defined period, the employee will be referred to HR and/or OH (Kloss, 2013).Nonetheless, the Employment Code of Practice (2011) advises that the possibility of adjustments should be explored in all cases, without the need for a definite answer as to whether or not the Equality Act applies.
Dame Carol Black’s 2008 report, “Working for a healthier tomorrow”, urges that we change the perception that people should not be at work unless they are 100% fit.
The report also advocates removing the stigma around ill health and disability, to enable people with health conditions to find and stay in work, stating that this is particularly important in the case of mental health conditions.
The role of OH is examined in undertaking assessment and providing recommendations, while being alert to the issues of patient confidentiality. He lives with his long-term girlfriend and has a son from a previous relationship, who is in his 20s.
Daniel is an ex-army soldier and left the military 22 years ago. The current issues are: A number of reports and pieces of legislation have influenced current thinking and the development of policies to manage attendance.
It would remain for management to decide whether or not the adjustment is reasonably practicable.
Bowden (2005) states that individuals with bipolar disorder tend to have higher rates of absenteeism compared to those without, therefore adjusting absence trigger points could be considered in Daniel’s case.Individuals with bipolar disorder tend to have a higher rate of absenteeism than those without the condition (Bowden, 2005).This case study explores current policies and the legal and ethical issues encountered in managing attendance for an employee with bipolar disorder.However, it is important to first identify all the factors that may be contributing to absence from work.Brown, Palmer & Hobson (2013) propose that diagnosis alone provides little information about fitness for work, as it does not take into account the individual’s experience.Although Ms Griffiths was unsuccessful in her case, the Court of Appeal ruled that there is a duty to extend triggers as far as is reasonable (Yeardley, 2016).However, at the author’s place of work, the local HR policy (2014) states that: “Occupational health cannot advise that the attendance policy is modified [such as trigger points or process].” In the author’s opinion, this policy should be reviewed, as it would be justifiable for OH to suggest that absence trigger points are adjusted in some cases.However, non-disclosure also resulted in problems with managing the condition at work.The Equality Act (2010) has also driven the development of policy relevant to attendance management.The median annual absence cost per employee is £554 (CIPD, 2015) and the cost to the UK economy is £17 billion annually (Acas, 2014).Some of these costs are associated with mental health-related absences.