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  • FIRST POST
    JodyBPM
    part time workers and sickness trigger points
    • #1
    • 20th Jan 12, 11:05 AM
    part time workers and sickness trigger points 20th Jan 12 at 11:05 AM
    I know there are a few Hr professionals on here, so I just wondered if someone could give me a view on how part time workers should be treated when there are sickness trigger points.

    The company I work for has fairly strict, but reasonable IMO trigger points of 3 periods of absence or 7 days sick in any rolling 12 month period.

    I work part-time, 0.5 ft, 3 days one week, 2 the next. I had one day of sick with a vomiting bug on Monday, my first day off in the rolling year, so obviously not a problem, nor hitting any triggers. However, as part as my return to work interview, it was pointed out to me that the triggers are pro-rata'd (and I checked in the policy & this is correct), so therefore any other periods of sickness will hit the trigger point, as my triggers stand at 1.5 episodes and 3.5 days. Effectively this means that I cannot have a single day of sick for the next 12 months without hitting the sickness process.

    I'm not necessarily worried about the process itself, my sick record is great, and my manager knows this, and I know that it's effectively just a formality in this case. However, our company policy is to only give payrises to those who perform at an "excellent" in their appraisal, and managers are unable to give "excellents" to anyone who is under the sickness review process. So effectively, another days sickness in 12 months means that I cannot get an annual pay rise.

    My question is, is it really fair and standard practice to pro-rata trigger points for part time staff? It feels to me that I am disadvantaged as a part timer as I cannot choose which days I fall sick on! A full timer can be sick 3 times throughout the year, and not hit the process, but I could fall sick only 2 times before hitting the process and its entirely random as to which day the sickness will fall on, i cannot control whether it is a working day or not. So effectively, my triggers are harsher than a full time worker (I actually understand the no of days being pro-rata'd, its the incidences which seem unfair to me)

    I don't want to wait until I do possibly hit a trigger to potentially raise this as an issue, so would quite like to raise it with HR as a query. Is this standard practice?
Page 1
  • Jarndyce
    • #2
    • 20th Jan 12, 11:33 AM
    • #2
    • 20th Jan 12, 11:33 AM
    Pro-rata is surely the only fair (and lawful) way of doing it. You could just as easily be ill on a non-work day and it not count against your sick leave.
  • cr1mson
    • #3
    • 20th Jan 12, 11:55 AM
    • #3
    • 20th Jan 12, 11:55 AM
    Ours used to be the number of days was exact pro-rata (was actually calculated by hours) but the episodes was rounded up to nearest full number on grounds how could you have 0.5 of an episode!

    C
    • WestonDave
    • By WestonDave 20th Jan 12, 12:06 PM
    • 4,853 Posts
    • 8,198 Thanks
    WestonDave
    • #4
    • 20th Jan 12, 12:06 PM
    • #4
    • 20th Jan 12, 12:06 PM
    Whilst I can see your point, I think they are probably right. If I work 5 days per week, my chances of being ill on a working day are 5/7 or 71%. If you work 3 days per week your chances of being ill on a working day are 3/7 or 43%. (at 2.5 days per week average its 35%). So assuming that bugs strike at random your chances of getting a work impacting illness are much lower, therefore arguably your trigger levels should be lower.

    They have little choice anyway - they can't discriminate positively or negatively between part time and full time workers, which is where this comes from. If you work half time you get half the sickness allowance, half the holiday allowance, half the pay and so on.
    Adventure before Dementia!
  • an9i77
    • #5
    • 20th Jan 12, 7:16 PM
    • #5
    • 20th Jan 12, 7:16 PM
    Where I work we have similar triggers (x number of absences in y time period) but we don't distinguish between full and part timers. I can't say whether it's standard practice or not, but that's what we do. I suppose someone could say this is treating part timers preferentially, but no one's ever mentioned it tbh.
  • KiKi
    • #6
    • 20th Jan 12, 9:01 PM
    • #6
    • 20th Jan 12, 9:01 PM
    I agree, it's fair.

    Look at it this way: someone working 100% of the time will trigger the process after 3 periods. You work 50% of the time, and will trigger the process after 2 periods. You actually have the better deal!

    In addition, you may well be sick on your days off - a FT person gets no chance at that. And - although it depends how your company operates and what your role is - you may be allowed to work different day one week if you were ill.

    Sorry, but I agree with the company.
    KiKi
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
  • smartpicture
    • #7
    • 20th Jan 12, 9:12 PM
    • #7
    • 20th Jan 12, 9:12 PM
    By this method, if someone only worked 1 day a week, they would only be entitled to 1/5 of 3 days, ie 0.6 of a day. So as soon as they have even one day off sick, they are immediately in breach of the sickness policy. How can that be right? Surely that is penalising part-time workers, which you are not allowed to do?
  • KiKi
    • #8
    • 20th Jan 12, 11:27 PM
    • #8
    • 20th Jan 12, 11:27 PM
    By this method, if someone only worked 1 day a week, they would only be entitled to 1/5 of 3 days, ie 0.6 of a day. So as soon as they have even one day off sick, they are immediately in breach of the sickness policy. How can that be right? Surely that is penalising part-time workers, which you are not allowed to do?
    Originally posted by smartpicture
    It's not penalising anyone - it's treating people equally. If you are going to be sick for one day, then the chances are that only working Mondays, it's not going to be a Monday.

    The more part-time you are, the less likely you are to be off sick on a working day.

    The other point - which is easily missed - is that triggers are just that: a trigger. It doesn't mean you'll be dismissed, it doesn't mean you will automatically be given a warning. It signals that something needs to be looked at.

    If I were a manager in that scenario, I'd get the trigger from the system then take a sensible approach to it. If a full time person had been off sick more than three times for very good reason (broken leg, pneumonia and a cold) then I'd leave it at that. If a 20% part timer was off one day for a cold, I'd probably leave it at that, assuming they'd had no other days off.

    Triggers are there as a guide, but any good manager takes that and works with the circumstances, not be held to a statistic that might not mean anything within a certain context.

    But I say again - the more part time you are, the less likely you are to be off sick anyway.

    KiKi
    ' <-- See that? It's called an apostrophe. It does not mean "hey, look out, here comes an S".
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