Absence from work policy and annual leave procedure

Absence phone number: 07508 375 643

Reasons for absence

Absence is recorded in the following four categories:

  • Annual leave
  • Sickness absence
  • Family leave - such as carer/compassionate leave and parental leave
  • Special leave - such as time off for public and civil duties

Attendance at teaching

Trainees are full-time employees and are expected to act as adult learners. As such they are expected to attend almost all teaching, and must never be absent from teaching without taking leave. As the DClinPsy programme includes teaching that spans most of the year, trainees will occasionally need to book annual leave on a teaching day as part of a longer period of leave. We allow trainees to book annual leave on a maximum of four teaching days per academic year (1st September - 31st August), and to take annual leave on no more than one teaching session or day that is led by any one strand. To request a teaching day as annual leave, trainees need to send an e-mail to the programme secretary, copied to the programme assistant for teaching and their tutor pair, stating the date(s) leave is requested for, and the title(s) and lead strand of the teaching that will be missed. It is not expected that trainees will book a teaching day as annual leave in isolation (i.e. the only day of annual leave in a week). In exceptional circumstances this may be necessary and must be requested from and approved by the Clinical Director.

In exceptional circumstances, trainees may sometimes be permitted to miss teaching to attend a research ethics committee or a CPD conference. No more than two teaching days can be missed each year for such reasons. In these circumstances, approval to miss teaching will be given by the Clinical Director. Trainees are not permitted to miss teaching for routine placement or research activity.

To avoid poor attendance at teaching sessions, typically no more than five trainees are permitted to be absent from any one teaching session. Trainees will be allowed to book leave on a 'first come, first served' basis. It is therefore important for trainees to apply for leave they wish to take on teaching days as early as possible. In certain circumstances, such as when there is a CPD event scheduled for a teaching day and more than five trainees are interested in attending, teaching may be rescheduled to allow attendance at the event.

Please note that if unable to attend teaching because of transport issues, the trainee must take the day as annual leave. It is not permissible to leave early or arrive late to teaching for reasons of transport convenience.

It is also important to note that even on teaching days trainees' salaried work activity begins at 9.00am. Teaching typically starts at 10.00am as an acknowledgement that some trainees have a significant commute. However, trainees should aim to be on campus (or alternative venue) well before the 10.00 start time and if meetings are requested by tutors between 9-10am on a teaching day, it is expected that trainees will attend. Persistent lateness on teaching days will lead to a concern form being submitted.

A few teaching sessions are mandatory, and annual leave may not be taken on days when these sessions are scheduled. These are:

  • Teaching sessions which enable trainees to meet the mandatory training requirements of their NHS employer, and
  • Sessions which include required elements that trainees must participate in in order to complete the programme

Such sessions are clearly marked on the teaching timetables. If a trainee misses mandatory teaching due to illness, they will be required upon returning to work to provide a doctor's note covering the date the session took place, regardless of the length of the sickness absence. They will then be required to take part in the activity missed at a later date.

Study days

Normally one day each week is designated as study leave. Study days are still working days, and as such trainees should be contactable and may be asked to meet with programme staff if necessary. To request a study day as annual leave, trainees need to send an e-mail to the programme secretary, copied to their tutor pair. Please note that study days cannot be taken in lieu.

Taking annual leave

The employing Trust normally expects that the full annual leave entitlement is taken within each year (financial year, April - March) and that no days are carried over. Only in exceptional circumstances and with the approval of the Associate Director for Psychological Professions can annual leave be carried over into the next year. Requests to carry over leave are made by contacting the annual leave email address. A maximum of 5 days basic contracted hours may be carried over to the following year. Any leave that is to be carried over, must be requested by the employee, in the annual leave year in which it has accrued, and must be taken before the end of June in the new leave year. As trainees start employment on September 1st, they have 7 / 12 worth of leave to take by the end of March. There are, within the annual plan, some weeks with no teaching within each year (e.g. in December/Jan and around Easter and August) and the course anticipates that such weeks will help trainees take leave without compromising their studies.

When taking leave from placement time trainees are asked to initially agree that with their placement supervisor and then send an e-mail to the annual leave email address, copied to their supervisor and tutor pair, stating the dates of the required leave.

Email leave requests to: annualleave-nhs@lancaster.ac.uk

Please be aware of the following when submitting your leave requests to this inbox:

  • All leave requests need to be submitted at least 2 weeks ahead of the expected leave, preferably earlier
  • You will need to clearly stipulate whether the leave you are taking falls on a placement, study or teaching day so the day can be recorded as such
  • You will need to copy in placement supervisors (if the date requested is a placement day) and you always need to copy in your clinical tutor (to any request)
  • Leave cannot be taken unless it is approved by the programme regardless of whether it has been approved by your supervisor/tutor
  • If you need to request last minute leave (i.e. less than 2 weeks notice) you need to call the absence phone and request it through that

It is accepted that difficult and unexpected circumstances can arise where trainees may be unclear about processes around agreeing leave. In these circumstances trainees should contact their tutor pair to discuss this and agree a way forward. More information on the role of the Individual Tutor pair and special leave requirements including intercalation and crisis management is available in the online handbook.

Medical/Non-Medical Absences

As employees of Lancashire Care NHS Foundation Trust (LCFT), all trainees are required to inform the Clinical Director (07508 375 643), as their line manager, of any medical or non-medical absences from work that last for more than two hours. To note: this applies to days on placement, in teaching and study days, and all days, including teaching days, nominally start at 9.00am. Even if a trainee is due to start teaching at 10.00, any absence later than 11.00 is after the two hour cut off point and therefore requires a phone call to the Clinical Director. In the absence of the Clinical Director trainees should contact the nominated deputy (07508 375 643). See guidance at the end of this section regarding absence reporting procedures.

Family leave and special leave

Decisions regarding annual leave requests and requests for special leave (such as carer's leave or compassionate leave) must be taken in accordance with the terms and conditions of Agenda for Change and within the framework of relevant LCFT policies. The policies have provision for manager's discretion in regard to particular individual requirements / circumstances. Any requests for non-emergency special leave should be reported to the Clinical Director either by calling the mobile number within the absence procedures section or by email. Trainees should copy their tutor pair into emails about special leave.

Leave to attend interviews

Trainees may attend interviews for NHS posts in work time (including teaching, placement and study) but must inform the Clinical Director of this prior to the interview so it can be logged as special leave. For non-NHS posts trainees must take annual leave to attend (this includes on study days).

Absence procedures - Trust requirements

Absence phone number: 07508 375 643

Any absences over 2 hours will need to be reported to the Clinical Director, this will include sick leave, hospital appointments (where the absence will be over two hours), emergency compassionate and carer leave but not annual or maternity/paternity leave. It also covers any other unplanned absences over 2 hours, for example car trouble. In the absence of the Clinical Director the absence should be reported to the nominated deputy.

Procedure

Please phone the Clinical Director to report any absences as soon as possible in the morning of the absence. In the case of teaching days this must be done before 9.30. On placement days you must also contact your placement supervisor to let them know you will be absent. All staff do not get automatic notification of your absence and will not know you are off sick, therefore if you have appointments with course staff for that day, can you please contact them directly to cancel.

When you phone the Clinical Director, or nominated deputy, you will be asked for the reason for your absence and your estimated date of return. You will also need to maintain regular contact with the Clinical Director with regards to your return. Additionally you will need to inform the Clinical Director when you are fit to return to work, even if this falls on a non-work day. You will not be classified as returned to work until you call the absence phone to notify the programme. A return to work interview must be arranged with the Clinical Director within three days of your return to work.

Sick leave

There is no need to phone into the office if you are off sick as the Clinical Director will inform the office of your absence soon after they answer your call. If, however, it is important that the office know promptly about your absence you may wish to phone.

For absences that are up to 7 days in duration a self-certification form must be submitted to the Clinical Director. If the absence lasts longer than 7 days a sick note must be provided. Failure to produce appropriate documentary evidence of sickness within 5 calendar days of it being due will result in the withdrawal of sick pay from the first day of the absence/date of expiry of the previous certification/sick note. The employee will be recorded as being on unauthorised absence and the circumstances will be investigated, which may lead to disciplinary action. Self-certificates and sick notes will be treated in the strictest confidence.

For planned sickness (hospital stays etc) you can inform the Clinical Director in advance of your absence.

Compassionate and Carer Leave

Requests for compassionate and carer leave must be authorised by the Clinical Director, or nominated deputy in their absence.

Other relevant documents

LCFT Staff Leave Policy
LCFT Intelligent Working Policy
LCFT Managing Attendance Policy
Agenda for Change Terms and Conditions of Service Handbook
Sickness and absence notification form