The Bristol Bike Project Sickness Absence Policy

1. Introduction

Bristol Bike Project (BBP) recognises that there will be times when you are unable to come to work due to illness or injury. Use this policy to understand what you should do if you are unwell, the support we will offer, and how we will proceed if your levels of absence become unreasonable or begin to impact your performance.

2. Our policy

BBP does not expect employees to come to work when they are ill. If you are unwell you should stay home until you are better.

We recognise, however, that providing a high quality service to our customers, service users and volunteers relies on the contribution of all employees and adequate attendance at work is important. If we are concerned about your levels of absence or if we notice a pattern to your absence, we’ll discuss this with you. This discussion will usually be informal at first, but if we don’t see an improvement we’ll invite you to a formal meeting and where necessary will follow the steps in the disciplinary procedure. We may choose to investigate your attendance levels at any point if we believe there is cause for concern, but this would usually take place if you have been absent:

  1. on three separate occasions within any rolling six month period, or

  2. for a cumulative total of 15 working days or more in any rolling 12 month period (pro-rata for part time staff)

Statutory Sick pay

The law says that all employers must pay you Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) if you are eligible and as long as you follow the procedures below to let us know that you are unable to come to work because you are ill or injured. Some employers, including BBP, have more generous sick pay policies. You can find more information on SSP, including the current amount, on the government website: Statutory Sick Pay.

If you are self-isolating because of coronavirus (COVID-19), in line with current government or medical advice, and provided that you are eligible, you can claim SSP. You can claim SSP from day one of your absence in these circumstances.

The Bristol Bike Project’s sick pay

  1. In the first six months of employment: you will not be eligible for pay if off sick, other than SSP.

  2. From six months to two years' service: you may receive two weeks' full pay and two weeks' half pay in any rolling period of 12 months.After these 4 weeks you would be paid SSP for the remaining 24 weeks, provided that you meet the eligibility criteria for SSP.

  3. From two years to five years' service: you may receive three weeks' full pay and three weeks' half pay in any rolling period of 12 months. After these 6 weeks you would be paid SSP for the remaining 22 weeks, provided that you meet the eligibility criteria for SSP.

  4. With more than five years' service: you may receive four weeks' full pay and four weeks' half pay in any rolling period of 12 months.After these 8 weeks you would be paid SSP for the remaining 20 weeks, provided that you meet the eligibility criteria for SSP.

  5. If you qualify for SSP but half your weekly pay is less than the prevailing amount of SSP (currently £94.25 per week), you will receive SSP for any week when you are entitled to half pay.

3.0 The procedure to follow

If you are unable to work because of illness or injury, please telephone the Project Coordinator as soon as you can. Wherever possible you should do this before you are due to start work or within an hour of your usual start time. You should call to speak with the Project Coordinator (or another colleague if they are unavailable), yourself; it isn’t appropriate just to send a text message or an email.

You should tell the Project Coordinator that you are unwell and explain why and for how long you expect to be unable to work. If you are away from work for more than a day you should telephone BBP each day for the first week and weekly after that, unless you agree a different arrangement with the Project Coordinator.

Please act sensibly while you’re on sick leave and avoid doing anything that might make you worse. If you’re unsure about whether a certain activity (for example a sport) will impact your recovery, please ask your doctor for advice.

If you’re absent from work and don’t follow this procedure we might not pay you sick pay, but we will always investigate the reasons for your failure to follow the process and will make a decision based on the circumstances.

If you are injured or unwell because of something that has happened at work, please make sure that you tell the Project Coordinator as soon as possible. They will work with you to understand what has happened and where possible to put things in place to stop it happening again.

If you believe that you are suffering from, or are at risk of suffering from, work-related stress you should raise this with the Project Coordinator as soon as you can.

‘Fit notes’

Your doctor might give you a medical certificate, or ‘fit note’, suggesting that you may be fit for work with some adjustments to your role or working conditions. If this happens, please discuss this with the Project Coordinator as soon as possible. We will discuss your doctor’s recommendations with you and will agree whether or not those adjustments are possible. If we can’t support the doctor’s recommendations you will still be unfit for work; this won’t change your eligibility for sick pay or SSP.

Returning to work from sickness absence

When you come back to work after time off sick, please make sure that you complete your self-certification of absence form ( If you have been off for more than 7 calendar days you will also need to bring a doctor’s note, if you haven’t already sent one in. You’ll need to have either a doctor’s note or a self-certification form to cover the whole period of your absence.

Particularly if you have been away from work for some time we will arrange a return to work meeting with you to discuss your absence, give you any news or updates that you may have missed, and to understand whether you need any support in getting back up to speed. Please be as open as possible in this meeting so that we can support you if needed.

Long term sickness absence

If you have been sick for four weeks or more, we’ll consider your absence long term. We will agree with you how, and how often you will keep in touch while you’re off and will usually arrange to meet with you to understand how you’re getting on and whether there is anything that we can do to support your return to work. We’ll meet with you regularly while you’re off; a colleague, trade union representative, friend or family member can come to the meetings with you if you choose.

We’ll use the information we receive from meeting you to help us to make a decision about whether there is anything we can do to support your return to work. This might include making reasonable adjustments to your role or working conditions, or agreeing a phased return. We will endeavour to support you as far as is reasonably possible, but if there is no reasonable prospect of your return to work we may ultimately terminate your employment on the grounds of capability.

Working with a disability

We understand that if you are disabled you may unavoidably experience higher levels of sickness absence than other colleagues. You may also need us to make adjustments to your role or working conditions to help you to work effectively. If you consider yourself to be disabled, or if you have any long term health condition that may impact you at work, please let us know as soon as possible. We will, as best we can, work with you to make a plan of action so that you can work safely and happily in the workplace. We’ll keep the information you share with us confidential at all times unless you specifically ask us not to.

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