Critical Actions During Ill-health Dismissal

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We’ve recently been working with a medical practice. One of the nurses was suffering depression and became unfit to undertake her duties. She had been off sick for three months and the manager asked TimelessTime for help. We facilitated medical advice and clarified both parties’ positions. The manager decided on pursuing ill-health dismissal.

There are a number of key points that all managers should note when faced with this situation:

• Deal with sickness early. Don’t wait. Manage the sickness absence and manage the employee back to work;
• Get medical advice. Let other staff know you are dealing with the issue (but keep confidences);
• Follow your Sickness Absence Procedure (not Disciplinary since it is not a disciplinary issue).
• Be absolutely clear in your communications with the sick staff member. Minute all meetings fully;
• Make sure those meeting with the sick staff member have been trained – it’s not a normal situation and supervisors are seldom ready to cope;
• If dismissing, get help. Dismissal is the last resort and you must be able to demonstrate you have pursued all other options. Proceed with care. Manage sensitively.
• Be ready for a backlash. The sick staff member may be angry and upset. Don’t be surprised if they lodge an ET1 – the notice of a pending Employment Tribunal case against you.

Such situations can be managed successfully. The critical points are to proceed with caution, compassion and clarity.

The manager of the medical practice subscribed to Timeless SUPPORT at a cost of £700 per year and was able to check actions every step of the way. They were further supported with several hours of ad-hoc Timeless PROJECT work. See http://www.timelesstime.co.uk/products/timeless-support for further information.

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