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A Comprehensive Guide to Attendance Management


Preparing for a Formal Absence Review meeting

On reaching a trigger point the appropriate line manager will arrange to meet with the employee to discuss their level of attendance for the previous 12 month period. The line manager is also responsible for ensuring that an Formal Absence Review invite letter is sent to the employee at least 5 working days prior to the meeting. This letter will detail the absences as recorded on SSTS or from a timeline of absences including reasons and highlight any other attendance related issues (letter template available on HRConnect: NHSGGC : Attendance Management Tools & Templates).


An HR Representative will not routinely attend Formal Absence Review meetings regarding frequent absences.

Supporting Documentation

An SSTS print-out or a timeline of absences including reasons and any other relevant information should be discussed with the employee to ensure that the reasons and circumstances surrounding each episode of absence are fully explored and understood. If applicable, any Occupational Health reports should also be discussed with the employee. Previous support measures should be reviewed and any additional support measures required explored further.

The line manager should make any relevant notes to ensure all the pertinent points are included in a Formal Absence Review outcome letter. The outcome letter will detail the discussion that took place at the meeting, including any discrepancies with recorded dates of absence and the outcome decision (letter template available on HRConnect: NHSGGC : Attendance Management Tools & Templates).

The line manager will send the employee two copies of the outcome letter requesting that the employee responds with any amendments within five working days of the date the letter was sent. A signed copy of the letter will then be retained in the employee’s personal file. If an employee does not request any amendments or return a signed copy the original outcome letter will be accepted as a true reflection of the discussion.

Non-Attendance at Formal Absence Review meetings

An employee will have a maximum of two opportunities to attend a Formal Absence Review meeting. Although, when scheduling meetings line managers should ensure that the employee does not have planned leave or off-duty. If an employee is unable to attend the meeting they should contact their manager at the earliest opportunity, explain the reasons and offer an alternative time and date they are able to attend. If an employee fails to attend two meetings, with no exceptional mitigating circumstances, the line manager should refer this to the next in line manager for further consideration at a disciplinary hearing due to a breach of the Attendance Management Policy.

If an employee states that they are unfit to attend a Formal Absence Review meeting within any NHS location or a home visit a management referral should be made to the Occupational Health Service. The Occupational Health Practitioner will be able to provide an indication of when the employee will be fit to attend a Formal Absence Review meeting and provide information on health status.


There are only three potential outcomes from a Formal Absence Review meeting:

  1. The employee’s level of attendance will continued to be monitored on an ongoing basis.
  2. The employee’s attendance record, Formal Absence Review outcome letter(s) and any other appropriate supporting documentation are forwarded to the next in line manager for further consideration at a disciplinary hearing.
  3. If the employee indicates that they are unfit to return to their post, or any other suitable alternative post, then termination of contract on the grounds of continuing ill health can be discussed at the Formal Absence Review meeting. Click here for further information on this.
Last Updated: 07 May 2019