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Author Topic: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting  (Read 3991 times)

barafear

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Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« on: 23-10-20, 12:07PM »
Just need some clarification about the long term absence policy.

Summary:

I've been off sick for around 5 weeks. Last four weeks have been support by GP Fit note. Reason = work related stress.
My Fit note covers me up to next week.
A manager from Tesco (not my line manager) has kept in contact with me throughout calling me on average twice a week to check on my well being - asking me what treatment I am undertaking, whether I have been prescribed any medication etc.
I was also referred to Occ Health immediately (as it was work related "illness").
I had a telephone appt with OH about two weeks ago. The report produced by them stated there was no medical reason for me not to attend meetings "whilst signed off sick".

Last week, I attended an "informal meeting" - I now know this was a "Wellness meeting" - I was told that I would still need to have a formal absence meeting - but assumed this would be on my return to work.

However, yesterday I received a letter in post. So dated Wed, and received yesterday, inviting me to a "FLTAM" (my subject title!) and the meeting is for this weekend (I work weekends) - so barely three days notice at best.
In the letter I have been advised I can be accompanied at this meeting by a union rep, colleague or family member. They will be there as moral support for you during the meeting.


"Moral Support" - is that all?

And the crux of the matter - have they provided me enough notice?

I decided to look on OurTesco - but I'm never really sure where to find policies - or what is a policy or a toolkit - anyway what I did find seemed to be a manager's toolkit and it shows the following flow chart - obviously will not copy/paste very well :


Conduct wellness meeting. Ask for consent for a referral to occupational
health, if not already done
  --------->


If no return to work date is agreed, arrange formal long term absence meeting----------->



Send formal invite to colleague with 7 calendar days’ notice   --------->

Arrange note taker and representative, where requested  -------->

Conduct Meeting ------->

Write to the colleague to confirm what was discussed   -------->

If a return to work in the foreseeable future is unlikely, arrange formal
subsequent meetings --------->




So my reading of this is that I should have been given 7 calendar days' notice? Is this correct?

Also, given I am off sick, how would I be "easily" able to arrange union rep? They do not display their phone numbers on notice board - are they supposed to?


Thanks for advice. I will need to phone the manager today - so would be grateful for confirmation of the "correct course of action" - I don't want to come across as unreasonable - hence the reason why I agreed to Wellness meeting last week.




Batmanjo

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #1 on: 23-10-20, 01:25PM »
If you have a rep in store and if they are willing to attend on the day the company wish to have a meeting you could ask them to arrange for the rep to attend and contact you if you cannot contact the rep, otherwise it is up to the company to arrange a rep if there isn't one in store. You would need to get clarification from your rep before you attend any meeting. It is usually 24 hours notice to be given for a meeting.
If your condition is stress caused by work, not sure if is to do with work overload or management problems but if it was the latter or both this could cause you anxiety going into the place that caused this.
Did you get a copy of the Occ Health report ? or is it the company are just saying that you can attend as there is no medical reason not to attend. I cannot see Unqualified OH saying this whilst you are on a sick note signed by a qualified Doctor OH would be putting there head on the block. When I had OH they told the company leave off or you may be sued, they have to be impartial and very careful as they put it in black an white. PS I have my OH framed and in my hallway it's a feelgood factor everyday.
If you do attend the meeting don't forget you can stop the meeting anytime you want too especially if you feel anxious. Good Luck.
 

barafear

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #2 on: 23-10-20, 03:02PM »
Thanks for response.

I have read that for investigation meetings and possibly even disciplinary, it appears to be 24 hours (which frankly is ridiculous)

But if I've read the LTA policy correctly, it does appear to be 7 days.

I did get a copy of the OH report and it does state that I am fit enough to attend meetings even if still on a "not fit to work" note from my GP.
There are suggestions that meetings might be considered to be held at neutral venue as a possible assistance to the employee.




Welshie

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #3 on: 23-10-20, 04:06PM »
They can also come to your home if you wish (personally, I wouldn't want them at my home) . I also thought it was just 24hrs notice for a LTA meeting but do they not give you a number to phone if it doesn't suit . The LTA meeting is the formal process where they bring you in after about 4 wks off and read official policy stuff , it is exactly the same for every employee wether you have a bad flu , mental health health issues or a terminal illness so dont be disturbed when they talk about dismissal or medical retirement.  They go through all options to get you back to work and all consequences of not going back .

barafear

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #4 on: 23-10-20, 04:50PM »
Thanks Welshie.

Why is it so hard to find policies on OurTesco.

what I copied and pasted into the OP was part of "manager's toolkit" or something about the policy.

Clearly states 7 calendar days notice of meeting.

Just done another search - found the "policy" - here it describes the steps for long term sickness absence

So at the stage of the Wellness Meeting (which I had last week) the following paragraph describes the next steps in the process:

If during this meeting no return to work date is agreed, a long term absence meeting will be arranged within an appropriate timeframe. This is a formal meeting and you will receive a letter giving you at least seven calendar days’ notice of the meeting. Where all parties agree these meetings can be held over the phone, however they must be conducted as if they were face to face, i.e. with a note taker and right to representation.


Think it's fairly clear that it's seven days' notice.
« Last Edit: 23-10-20, 04:54PM by barafear »

80377494

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #5 on: 23-10-20, 07:34PM »
All policies have been moved to Colleague Help instead of OurTesco

barafear

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #6 on: 23-10-20, 08:09PM »
Yes that is where I got it.

Redshoes

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #7 on: 24-10-20, 03:54AM »
It's formal only as in documented and the next step in the process. As with any absence meeting the letters are worded strongly as the end result, long long way down the line can be dismissal. This will be to discuss recommendations from your OH referral and your progress. My understanding is that it should be an agreed date but can be by phone, zoom call, at home or at work with minimum of 24 hours notice but will double check paperwork. The packs state each stage along with timescales.
If a return to work date is set within a month the meeting might be about adjustments needed for your return to work. If not the progress of your recovery will be discussed but staying in touch is your responsibility but regular meetings will be set until you are ready to plan for your return.

Welshie

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #8 on: 24-10-20, 11:57AM »
At the minute , depending on where you live , it might be best asking for a zoom call . I wouldn't want to be sitting in a meeting room with others ..

80377494

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #9 on: 24-10-20, 01:21PM »
My store has been doing them over the phone. One manager talking via hands free and another note taking.

barafear

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #10 on: 25-10-20, 12:09PM »
It's formal only as in documented and the next step in the process. As with any absence meeting the letters are worded strongly as the end result, long long way down the line can be dismissal. This will be to discuss recommendations from your OH referral and your progress. My understanding is that it should be an agreed date but can be by phone, zoom call, at home or at work with minimum of 24 hours notice but will double check paperwork. The packs state each stage along with timescales.
If a return to work date is set within a month the meeting might be about adjustments needed for your return to work. If not the progress of your recovery will be discussed but staying in touch is your responsibility but regular meetings will be set until you are ready to plan for your return.

So is the bit about 7 days notice incorrect? That appears to be my reading of the FLTA policy?

Redshoes

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #11 on: 26-10-20, 04:25AM »
I have not had the chance to look this up and refresh but from what I remember the meeting have to be held a 7 day window but with minimum of 24 hours notice.

chris9997

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #12 on: 28-10-20, 01:03PM »
This is a general sickness policy question if you have been off sick within the last 26 weeks and an ARM is triggered but not actioned within process and you are sick again is the original sickness % included also in the new, i was led to believe that the sickness is removed because policy not followed in process.

lucgeo

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #13 on: 28-10-20, 01:38PM »
Correct...previous out of process sickness % cannot be used in calculating current absence
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barafear

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #14 on: 28-10-20, 06:12PM »
Ok things have moved slightly.

So I didn't turn up last week. I had phoned on the Friday and stated that due to lack of notice and lack of rep I wouldn't be able to attend. Not sure the message was passed on because the manager called me 20 mins asking where I was - voicemail left asking where was I?

Anyway - I popped into shop last night to try to track down union rep - saw the manager who was the note taker at my meeting at the weekend - who reiterated that I didn't really need a rep as it was just a "follow up from the Wellness meeting" - and was "informal" even though the letter stated "Formal".

I just got a text from Union rep - we only have one in our store now as the other one was promoted to management!! - she stated that she had been told my meeting has been rearranged for this weekend - and she (union rep) is on leave this weekend - but in her message she also stated it's a "second wellness" meeting and doesn't really need a rep - although she has said she could arrange a rep from another store or I can postpone

Why is it so difficult to differentiate between informal and formal?

lucgeo

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #15 on: 28-10-20, 07:02PM »
Ask for an adjournment...that is when they finally give you notification...again not in the 7 day notice period as policy dictates...state your rep is on AL and you would require representation, due to your letter stating ( in writing) it is to be a " formal meeting"

From what you have said, I think the best way forward would be to ask for a rep from another store to attend...they are not so " pally" with the management and don't work with them, so can be more distanced, which may prove an advantage in your case  :thumbup:
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Redshoes

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #16 on: 29-10-20, 07:55AM »
The letter says that if you are unable find a rep they can help you. It is not up to them to provide but it is up to them to help. You can ring your local union office and ask for support. They may give some suggestions of who to contact or they may send the area organiser.
You can take in a colleague or a family member as its a long term absence but the friend or family member can't speak. They just attend to give you moral support.

lucgeo

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #17 on: 29-10-20, 09:29AM »
Errr...that's not true is it  8-)

A friend or colleague CAN speak...ask questions, make notes or SPEAK on your behalf if you so wish...they are your CHOSEN REPRESENTATIVE, and as such should be afforded the same respect and rights as an official union rep!

As you are off sick at the moment, and not in the workplace, they should be doing their upmost to secure representation for you.

Do not allow the meeting to go ahead without representation...if it's alleged it's informal, show the wording on the letter stating " formal". Ask why there is a note taker present if it's an informal meeting? Remember the golden rule...if there's two of them, then there's two of you!!

Does the letter mention securing a rep for the meeting...if it does, then it is a formal meeting...if it doesn't, then why is there to be a note taker present, and the letter states " formal"
« Last Edit: 29-10-20, 09:32AM by lucgeo »
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barafear

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #18 on: 29-10-20, 10:58AM »
The letter stated it was a formal meeting. Stated there would be a notetaker. Stated I could bring a union rep or colleague or family member for "moral support".

Text message from my union rep last night stated the following:

"Manager told me (i.e. the rep) it was a wellness meeting; they have to do it with a note taker because you have been off sick more than a month now, so there is evidence that your wellbeing is being considered and they have to set up a plan with you for your return to work e.g. Phased return/switch depts or store/shift pattern."


Phoneshopguy

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #19 on: 03-11-20, 10:34AM »
Errr...that's not true is it  8-)

A friend or colleague CAN speak...ask questions, make notes or SPEAK on your behalf if you so wish...they are your CHOSEN REPRESENTATIVE, and as such should be afforded the same respect and rights as an official union rep!


No they cannot.

Litterally had an entire grievance thrown out due to a family member who was also an ex personal manager speaking in a meeting.

An usdaw/Union rep is legally allowed to do those things for you due to the fact they are specifically trained for it.


Phoneshopguy

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #20 on: 03-11-20, 10:39AM »
Ok things have moved slightly.

I just got a text from Union rep - we only have one in our store now as the other one was promoted to management!! -

Managers can be reps! I was a rep for around 3 years before I became a manager. Stores hate me cause I use the training from both the union and tesco against them.

Infact I got up from my last meeting telling the Seniors holding the meeting that they had cooked up yet another meeting and thanking them for it.

Not every manager is a tesco manager... some of us actually do the right thing even though it comes back to bite us on the arse.

Nomad

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #21 on: 03-11-20, 11:42AM »
https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/problems-at-work/disciplinary-meetings/who-can-accompany-you-to-a-disciplinary-meeting/
Quote
What your companion can do
Your companion can:
  • take notes on your behalf
  • present your case
  • sum up your case
  • talk things over with you during the hearing

https://www.co-oplegalservices.co.uk/media-centre/articles-may-aug-2016/the-right-to-be-accompanied-to-a-disciplinary-or-grievance/
Quote
What Can a Companion Do?

Your companion is only allowed to do certain things in a disciplinary or grievance meeting. They are allowed to introduce your case and sum up your position.

They can also speak to you throughout the meeting. But you should be aware that your employer needs to complete the meeting in line with their policy so your companion cannot obstruct the meeting, disrupt your employer's points or answer questions on your behalf.
Nomad ( Forum Admin )
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lucgeo

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #22 on: 03-11-20, 12:25PM »
Taken from the gov.uk website...

Taking someone with you to a disciplinary hearing
You have the right to take someone with you to a disciplinary hearing, but you must tell your employer about this first.
Your companion can be either:

a colleague
a trade union representative
a trade union official
If a colleague cannot go with you and you’re not in the union you can ask to bring a family member or a Citizens Advice worker. However, your employer does not have to agree to this unless your employment contract says they must.

The companion can:

present and/or sum up your case and say things to support your case
speak to you during the hearing
Your companion cannot answer questions on your behalf.
Your companion cannot be disciplined for supporting you.

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madness

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #23 on: 22-11-20, 11:31PM »
If you don't mind me asking what is your work related stress?

gomezz

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Re: Formal Long Term Absence Meeting
« Reply #24 on: 23-11-20, 09:48AM »
That is not the sort of personal information I would expect or encourage anyone to share on a public forum.
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