Introduction to this document

Notice of absence management appeal meeting

Where an employee appeals against a warning for unsatisfactory attendance or a decision to dismiss them under your attendance procedure, use our letter to arrange an appeal meeting.

Appeal process

Once you’ve made your decision to formally warn an employee about their unsatisfactory attendance record or to dismiss them for this reason, it’s important that you allow them the right of appeal against your decision. This is because you’re required to follow the rules of natural justice and you also need to comply with the Acas Code of Practice on Disciplinary and Grievance Procedures. A right of appeal is also a key part of our Attendance Procedure. If the employee does then appeal, someone other than the original decision maker should consider the facts to see if the decision reached was fair and whether it was a reasonable decision to make in all the circumstances. Use our Notice of Absence Management Appeal Meeting to arrange the date and time of the meeting, explain the appeal procedure to the employee and confirm their rights.

Grounds for appeal

An employee may choose to appeal on a number of grounds, including that they think your decision was unfair, your penalty was too severe, there were procedural irregularities in relation to your original decision, or new information has come to light which may, for example, be a mitigating factor. The latter might include where the employee has just discovered they have an underlying health condition or disability and this goes some way towards explaining their recent poor sickness absence record. It’s perfectly legitimate to ask the employee to provide their full grounds for appeal so that you can explore in some detail whether their appeal has any merit. So our letter gives the employee the option of submitting their written appeal grounds in advance of the appeal meeting if they wish to do so.

The appeal meeting

If the employee appeals, you must hold an actual appeal meeting (and the statutory right to be accompanied still applies at this stage too); a paper decision isn’t acceptable. In addition, the person chairing the appeal meeting should ideally not have been previously involved in the attendance procedure implemented so far against the employee, to ensure that they’re unbiased and impartial. They should also preferably be a more senior manager than the original decision maker, to prevent allegations of undue influence or pressure. In small businesses where it’s just not possible to have a different manager hear the appeal, the person dealing with the appeal should aim to act as impartially as possible. If you inadvertently committed any procedural mistakes at the original warning or dismissal stage, for example, you didn’t allow the employee the statutory right to be accompanied to the absence management meeting, it’s possible to correct many of these defects on appeal. In this case, it’s advisable for the appeal to then take the form of a full rehearing of the absence management case, rather than just a simple review of the original decision. Finally, if the employee has a disability, make sure you consider reasonable adjustments in relation to the appeal meeting arrangements. This might include holding the meeting off-site or allowing the employee to be accompanied by a family member.