Health staff in Luton rally against attack on sickness leave

UNISON warns that move risks staff coming to work ill to avoid triggering process that could lead to dismissal – in a trust that has one of best sick-leave records in the region

Staff at Luton and Dunstable Hospital Trust rallied outside their workplace yesterday against proposed changes to their sick leave policy.

The trust uses the “Bradford Factor Calculator” formula to gives staff a score by looking at the frequency and length of absences.

And while the trust has one of the best sick leave records in the region, employers want to cut the number of times workers can be off sick before they are brought into a sickness capability meeting.

UNISON says staff at the hospital are “coming to work sick or taking painkillers to avoid hitting this trigger and being brought into a formal process that can lead to dismissal,”

Regional organiser Shane Hall says the union is “always happy to work with the trust to look at constructive ways that it can support genuinely ill members of staff back to work.

“But fast-tracking people through a formal process that can lead to dismissal only places undue stress and anxiety upon already ill and vulnerable members of staff.

“Does the public really want to enter a hospital where staff are coming to work ill to avoid triggering a meeting that could lead to their dismissal?”