Absence Monitoring and Measurement for Women

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2010 Local Government Service Group Conference
16 February 2010

Conference notes with concern the increase in absence monitoring within local government.

Conference believes that the management tools used have a detrimental and disproportionate affect on women employees, when employers may use such scoring systems in the process of selection for redundancy, or as an excuse for dismissal when seeking to cut staff numbers.

Schemes such as the Bradford Factor scoring system, which was originally implemented in call centres, have clear implications for the sickness absence records for many women. This scheme gives more points for short term absences than long term absence – for example ten one-day absences would score 1000 points, whilst one ten-day absence would score only ten points.

This would impact hugely, for example, on a woman experiencing endometriosis or major menstruation or menopausal problems, necessitating regular monthly short-term absences. Conference therefore believes that any such monitoring system should either exclude or make suitable adjustments to allow for such conditions.

Conference recognises that acknowledging the impact of such health conditions and managing workload to accommodate them will benefit both employees and employers.

Conference therefore calls upon the Service Group Executive to work with all relevant bodies to:

1)Conduct research to establish which absence management systems are currently in use and how women have been disproportionately adversely affected;

2)Alert branch negotiators, equality reps and equality officers to this issue and provide the necessary tools (including equality impact assessment advice) to enable them to negotiate effectively to redress the imbalance.