Disability leave key principles
Staff must disclose their disability to obtain disability leave. Staff should approach their manager to discuss the nature of their disability and what support is needed. Alternatively, individuals may wish to approach their trade union representative, who on their behalf, will disclose their disability to their manager. If appropriate, managers can make a referral to Occupational Health to seek medical advice. Individuals can also contact Access to Work through their local Job centre for additional support and advice.
Staff members should, where reasonably possible, seek to arrange appointments outside of work time, using flexible working arrangements where appropriate. Where this is not possible, the individual should seek to arrange appointments at times which are least disruptive to their work obligations.
To provide staff with a disability with appropriate support, managers will grant disability leave as a reasonable adjustment for assessment, treatment or rehabilitation which has been professionally advised in relation to their disability, where deemed the most appropriate course of action. Advice may be sought from Occupational Health Services. Where granted, this provision is distinct to that of phased or graduated returns (another form of reasonable adjustment) which are used to facilitate a return to work following a prolonged period of sickness absence.
Where disability leave may not be the most appropriate course of action, for instance where ongoing/regular assessment, treatment or rehabilitation is required, the manager and member of staff will explore other reasonable adjustments (i.e. flexible working arrangements, reduction in hours etc). The staff member and their manager will both be responsible for monitoring and reviewing the effectiveness of any such arrangements.
Disability leave requests will normally require prior agreement from the individual’s manager, it is recommended that early discussions take place between the staff member and their manager, to enable the needs of both the individual and the department to be considered. Managers will sensitively consider all requests for disability leave individually and on their own merits. Managers may seek advice and guidance from a HR Advisor and Occupational Health as appropriate. The Inclusion Team may also sign post members of staff to this process.
Disability leave should be used for pre-planned absence, to accommodate assessment, treatment or rehabilitation related to their disability. However, flexibility will be applied to cover sudden, unforeseen or clearly appropriate circumstances.
Managers should make and retain notes of any discussions in relation to disability leave securely and confidentially in accordance with data protection principles, including any agreed outcomes and support.
The staff member and their manager should make suitable arrangements in relation to the individual’s work commitments and how contact is maintained during the period of disability leave, where appropriate.
It will be the responsibility of the staff member and their manager to monitor and review the effectiveness of any disability leave arrangements, in consultation with Occupational Health and their HR Advisor.