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Maximising Attendance Policy

North Ayrshire Council recognises that our employees will, from time to time, be unable to come to work because of sickness. The council regards high levels of attendance at work as vital for the maintenance of an effective and efficient service to the community of North Ayrshire. One of our principal aims is to maximise attendance at work. 

The Maximising Attendance Policy and Procedure (PDF, 306kb) aims to address and resolve issues of sickness absence in a structured setting, with the overall objective of supporting our employees to help them improve their attendance to an acceptable level.

What happens in the Maximising Attendance process?

Employees must report any sickness absence to their line manager as soon as possible. Absences of more than 7 days must be covered by a GP’s Statement of Fitness for Work or ‘fit note’. 

Following an absence, employees will be invited to a Return to Work Interview. This is to ensure the employee is fit to return and support is offered. 

Thereafter, managers will review any future sickness absence and take action as set out in the Maximising Attendance Policy (Local Government Employees) or Maximising Attendance Policy (Teachers). Action depends on length and type of sickness absence. 

Employees may be invited to attend a meeting should their absence trigger the formal stages of the procedure (referred to as Stage 1, Stage 2 or Stage 3 meetings). 

Employees are encouraged to bring a representative to these meetings.

What happens at a Stage 1, Stage 2 or Stage 3 meeting?

The formal meeting is to:

  • ensure the employee is aware of the seriousness of their poor attendance
  • discuss ways that this can be improved.

This is not a disciplinary hearing. All sickness absences from work are treated as genuine. It is the effect and impact of the absence on the workplace and contractual obligations that is being addressed.

The reasons for sickness absence allow exploration of options available to support the employee to improve attendance. The employee will be advised that if performance doesn't improve or there's a recurring pattern of sickness absence, they will be referred to the next stage of the procedure. A Stage 3 meeting is the final stage interview and may result in the employee being dismissed or transferred.

Employees can appeal any formal stage of the Maximising Attendance Procedure using the Notification of Appeal form.

What support is available?

Our Occupational Health service is the main source of support for our employees. Employees can self-refer or be referred by their manager. 

If an employee is referred to Occupational Health by their manager both employee and manager receive a report providing guidance on any supports available and, if asked, the employee’s likelihood of returning to work. 

Support is available via Human Resources & Organisational Development.

Further Information

For more information please read the Maximising Attendance Policy & Procedure (PDF, 523kb) or the Maximising Attendance Policy & Procedure (Teachers) (PDF, 382kb).

A number of supplementary HR Guides support the Maximising Attendance Procedure:

Contact HR Operations Team


01294 324690 - option 3


People and Transformation, North Ayrshire Council, Cunninghame House, Irvine, KA12 8EE