Sickness Management

Reps have been in discussion with the Company about proposed new rules on the reporting of sickness absence to be introduced within a number of Core Services Capability Units, including Business Consulting, Solutions Group and P&PM. The announcement of the new rules prompted a number of members to contact reps, who were able to ensure nobody was penalised under them while the concerns were discussed.
Some of the proposals seemed to make good sense, particularly for assignment workers, for example the requirement to ring Business Services (rather than line manager and/or assignment manager) on the first morning of absence, however reps expressed concerns about three particular aspects of the proposals. It’s worth noting that similar rules have long been established within Customer Services, which illustrates the importance for all staff of taking an interest in what goes on in the helpdesks.
Reps raised three main concerns, which were that the proposals :
1. could be read to imply people had to use them when absent for reasons other than sickness, e.g. compassionate leave. We said this would be quite wrong, the Company agreed and amended the process to make it clear it applied only to sickness absence.
2. included a requirement for people to keep their mobile phones switched on while on sick leave. Reps objected on the basis that the last thing people off sick needed was for their recovery to be interrupted by a flow of phone calls. The Company explained that it was important for the manager to be able to contact the sick employee from time to time, but agreed to replace the requirement to keep phones switched on by the requirement to provide a preferred contact number.
3. included a requirement for people to call in on the second and subsequent days of absence when not covered by a doctor’s note. Reps argued that this requirement was intrusive and redundant on days when the employee was not expected in work, particularly as the process reasonably requires the sick employee, when calling in on the first day, to provide an estimate of how long they’re likely to be off. The Company acknowledged our concern but insisted on retaining this requirement.
Our union recognition agreement includes a procedure for formally resolving collective issues. Your reps have informed the company that we will be consulting our members on whether to take our disagreement over proposal 3 into formal procedure. In addition we would like your views on whether proposal 2 is now acceptable or whether you think the wording gives insufficient clear safeguards against management contacting people inappropriately.
We have published the latest Company proposals here for you to read. One of the zipped documents is the proposed Sickness Reporting Procedure and the other is an explanatory note to be sent by the Company to all employees in the relevant capability units. You’ll need to use the password “draftonly” (without the double quotes) to access the documents.
The importance of challenging suspect new policies should not be understated. Within CS, employees have been threatened with disciplinary action for failing to call in on their second day of sick leave.
Please read the proposals and give your views.

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Unite members working for Fujitsu Services Limited in the Manchester bargaining unit have taken 32 strike days over compulsory redundancies, victimisation of reps and breaches of agreements. This follows 27 previous days of strike action.

Industrial action is currently suspended but the fight continues.

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