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Attendance target disabled

Discussion in 'Workplace dilemmas' started by Saffron5, Dec 14, 2018.

  1. Saffron5

    Saffron5 New commenter

    I am off sick with disability related problems and have received a letter from school which says I have an 85% attendance target which I have obviously failed as I am off sick, can they do that? I was already stressed but now feeling sick with worry
    gold19951 likes this.
  2. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    gold19951 likes this.
  3. shevington

    shevington Occasional commenter

    Have you discussed this with your Union previously ? they are the first port of call in these situation. Please note not the school rep.
    agathamorse likes this.
  4. Stiltskin

    Stiltskin Star commenter

    The process doesn't necessarily have to be negative, and can be there to review whether there is anything else that can be done, through occupational health, to support you.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  5. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    Here's what's probably going on.
    When attendance slips below 85% that triggers a meeting/review/referral to Occupational Health. Or just a discussion!

    What's the problem? How can we help? What do you need?

    An employer would be irresponsible not to investigate. Clearly there's an issue and school needs to have an idea. For the sake of their planning. For the students. For YOU. So don't worry about it. It's perfectly normal and necessary. Don't get defensive about it. You're not 100% fit and maybe school can accommodate your condition better. They need to know about it and find out.
    nomad, ridleyrumpus and agathamorse like this.
  6. Saffron5

    Saffron5 New commenter

    I've already done all the occupational health stuff several times they know my pattern of absences will continue the union have been into school more than once school have made accommodations for my disability and yet now they have done this I don't know what they hope to achieve I've failed the target I wish I could be there 100% but I can't
    agathamorse likes this.
  7. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

  8. Saffron5

    Saffron5 New commenter

    Yes they know I'm covered by the equality act but doesn't seem to matter
    agathamorse likes this.
  9. caterpillartobutterfly

    caterpillartobutterfly Star commenter

    I'm not sure of the dilemma that you need help with.
    Which is clearly going to concern any headteacher. Less than 85% and this likely to be ongoing isn't great for classes. And if you are struggling for over 15% of the time, OH need to be heavily involved in order to help you.
    Which is fantastic. What else could they do that would help? Clearly the adjustments so far aren't working, so they need to think again. You and OH need to speak to each other and then you (with your union if you wish) need to meet with your head and discuss further adjustments.
    I imagine they want to achieve much closer to 100% attendance, for your sake and for the school's.

    Don't alienate them. They appear to be doing all the right things.
  10. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    It's probably automatic. Is this the first year you've dipped below 85%? Or it could be a new ruling. The letter merely informs you that you've dipped below 85%? It mentions no meeting? It has triggered no action? Then it's just for information at this stage.

    There's no use in worrying. You can work only as much as your health permits.
    agathamorse and Stiltskin like this.
  11. sbkrobson

    sbkrobson Star commenter

    The problem here is the use of the word "target".
    If you are operating to a target you instantly have a criteria for "failure". Not only that but implicit in the word is an element of volition.
    This is absurd-think of, say, a terminal illness being endured against a target to improve attendance.So the recipient of a letter such as OPs is being told-you have failed because of your illness, despite your best efforts you have fallen short of a standard. Because of your illness.
    I use the example of a terminal illness on purpose-we don't know this is OPs situation, but it does demonstrate that sending something worded this way is an absurd attempt to wrest culpability out of something which is in fact a matter of happenstance. People don't choose long term illness or disability, but if you thereby fail a target,you are being blamed for your condition. And it is being highlighted how much you have let others down because of it.
    I have never heard of an attendance target for a teacher. "Absence level" yes. "Empirical amount of non attendance", yes.But "target"? Perhaps I am missing something really common? But what an awful notion, that professional staff somehow choose whether to attend or not. It's a nasty slap to all those who did not come in because of emergencies in their own family,carer commitments, own surgical procedure, whatever. On a semantic level, they are all being called "liar" because not being in is factored into a "target".
    I completely get why OP is distressed. They have received formal communication saying they have failed-this is their employer's take on the fact that they are ill.
    Instead of "we are concerned about your level of non attendance and how we may all move forward to an all round mutually happy outcome" they write stating "well, you've failed, havent you?". Makes me bristle.
    Kick 'em when they're down,eh. That's the place OP is writing from.
    1970devon and strawbs like this.
  12. gold19951

    gold19951 Occasional commenter

    Please involve your union immediately. I hate to worry you more, but having one or more disabilities that affect your attendance isn’t protection in itself. I found out the hard way that schools/academies are becoming less and less sympathetic towards disabilities and related absences and are able to move sufferers very quickly through the three stage process with these targets that some conditions make impossible to meet. You pay your subs (hopefully) so please use them immediately.
    agathamorse likes this.
  13. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    In general, I agree but if the school are aware of the disabilities and are aware that this may mean more absences than an able-bodied employee then if they apply the same attendance target to that disabled employee as it would to the able-bodied employee then I would argue that that is a Practice*that puts the disabled employee at a disadvantage and hence may form the basis for a tribunal case. (This is my personal opinion and should not be taken as legal advice!!)

    * **
    A provision criterion or practice (PCP) is a legal term used in discrimination law.

    In particular, PCP is used in indirect discrimination claims. In order to prove indirect discrimination, firstly, an employee must prove that a provision criterion or practice has been applied to them. See Section 19(1) of the Equality Act 2010.

    The employee must be able to prove that the PCP, when applied to them, puts them at a disadvantage because of their race, sex, age etc.
  14. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    It is not a reasonable adjustment to give a disabled employee a higher trigger point than someone that is not disabled.

    I would read the absence policy carefully and get expert legal advice. They have already made RA but the absences are continuing. Unless you are likely to improve your attendance in the near future you should look at your options as they could be moving towards dismissal. This could be requesting to go part time or you suggesting a RA that would make a difference.
    grumpydogwoman likes this.
  15. Saffron5

    Saffron5 New commenter

    Thank you all for your replies I am hoping that by taking time off whilst I increase medication and have a couple of day procedures in hospital i may actually be able to return to work and not be off so much but this year has been really rough including a major surgery i am doing my best I have told school all of this and they know it's the truth so don't know what else I can do right now. Union have appointed a caseworker and hospital and gp are aware of my work situation and prepared to provide information if requested.
    Right now i need to look after myself it's taken a lot for me to realise that but it's what I have to do I didn't choose this I would much rather be fit and well and at work
    agathamorse likes this.
  16. grumpydogwoman

    grumpydogwoman Star commenter

    You don't need to be so defensive. Not here. because we understand. But not at work either. You can't apologise for ILLNESS! And don't justify yourself to YOURSELF either. Nobody wants to be ill - not unless they're suffering from some kind of delusion. In which case they're ill anyway.

    Doing your best? I assume you mean complying with your physio regime and eating healthily. NOT beating yourself up every minute. That isn't best for you.

    Some people below 85% may be genuine malingerers. The vast majority are poorly. School has to have some bottom line that triggers a bit of an investigation. But, in your case, it's just routine. Please don't feel oppressed by it.

    Stay mentally active.
    Keep up to date with current affairs.
    Contribute to this forum on subject matters or similar.
    Do your physio.
    Eat nutritional food.
    Try some meditation.
    Get out in the fresh air if you're able.
    agathamorse likes this.
  17. ridleyrumpus

    ridleyrumpus Star commenter

    "he ECHR code does suggest, as an example of a reasonable adjustment, allowing a disabled person a period of disability leave and allowing absence during work for treatment if a disabled person needs occasional treatment. Although the Claimant did not need time off for treatment she did need occasional time off to manage the effects of her disability but that would have enabled her to provide regular attendance at work."

    On this point, this is an interesting decision.

  18. Torey

    Torey Occasional commenter

    Saffron5 likes this.

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