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Topic: Sickness absence

Absence management appeal meeting response
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Absence management appeal meeting response

Absence management appeal meeting response

After you’ve held an absence management appeal meeting, you will need to formally notify the employee in writing of the outcome, and your decision here is usually final.

Confirming the appeal decision

Use our Notice of Absence Management Appeal Meeting to arrange an appeal meeting in circumstances where an employee has appealed under your Attendance Procedure, whether that’s an appeal against a warning or final warning of unsatisfactory attendance or against a dismissal decision. Once you’ve held the appeal meeting, which should follow both the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures and the terms of your attendance procedure, you will then need to decide on the employee’s appeal and inform them in writing of what that decision is. Use our Absence Management Appeal Meeting Response to do this.

Appealing options

After hearing the employee’s submissions on appeal, there are two main possible outcomes. The first is that you decide to reject their appeal. This means your original decision to issue a warning to, or to dismiss, the employee is confirmed and that is the end of the matter. The other is that you uphold the employee’s appeal and revoke the original decision, perhaps in the light of new evidence. In the case of a written warning, this would mean immediately removing that warning from the employee’s personnel file as if it had never been issued. If the employee had been dismissed, you must reinstate them into employment as if they had never been so dismissed. In this scenario, they’ve probably already been out of your employment for at least a couple of weeks without pay. You would therefore normally be expected to pay them the necessary amount of back pay to cover the period between their dismissal and their reinstatement. There is another possible option to substitute a lesser sanction on appeal, for example, downgrading a final warning to a first level warning or downgrading dismissal to a final warning, perhaps with new targets set for improvement in attendance or further support being offered to help the employee improve their general health or attendance levels. In that scenario, you just need to amend our letter accordingly.

Word of warning

Where the employee’s appeal is against a decision to dismiss them, as this is the very final stage of the attendance procedure, if dismissal is confirmed after the appeal meeting, it’s likely that the primary focus of any subsequent employment tribunal claim for unfair dismissal brought by the employee will be on the conduct and effect of both this appeal meeting and the meeting at which the original decision to dismiss was made, rather than on any earlier meetings which resulted in unsatisfactory attendance warnings being issued. So be particularly careful in your conduct of the appeal meeting, be prepared to fully review and discuss with the employee the earlier decisions of the previous managers involved in the attendance procedure and then ensure you’re satisfied that the dismissal sanction is fair and justified in all the circumstances. 

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