Attendance Support and Staff Wellness
January 20 2014: Board Meeting
C2. b) Attendance Awareness Motion from Human Resources Director [ Motion was tabled at OPPS January 13 / 14 until Secretary-Treasurer was present to answer questions; is present at this meeting. ] That the Board implement the Attendance Awareness Program and proceed to hire a Human Resources Advisor, Wellness and Attendance Awareness, to coordinate the program. / Carried. For: Ferris, Horsman, Leonard, McEvoy, Orcherton Against: Alpha, Loring-Kuhanga, McNally, Nohr
Information below from Ministry publication. Added emphases mine.
Attendance Support and Staff Wellness Initiative pilots will take place over the 2015/16 school year in seven school districts. The objectives of the pilots are to test a best practice Attendance Support and Staff Wellness program, carry out an evaluation, and use the findings to help inform a phased province-wide implementation starting in 2016/17.
The Attendance Support and Wellness Working Group, with BCPSEA in a project lead role, has been providing advice and input around the design, scope and implementation of the pilots, including development of:
- a readiness audit tool to assist school districts with assessing their current state of wellness, disability management, and attendance support initiatives;
- common attendance support and wellness policies and procedures that can be tailored to individual school district circumstances;
- communication and training materials to help employees understand and identify with the program goals;
- a consultation approach with unions, employee and other stakeholder groups;
- a model for providing districts with access to centralized or regional medical expertise; and
- Employee Data Analysis System (EDAS) Phase 2 changes.
Further Attendance Support and Staff Wellness details can be found here: Frequently Asked Questions.
- employees are supported in ways that improve their ability to attend work and perform their job role to the best of their ability,
- employee representatives are involved and feel their members are appropriately and fairly supported, and
- it is recognized throughout the system that the work with and for students is improved by regular and consistent attendance and employee wellness.
4. What does attendance support and staff wellness entail?
A successful attendance support and staff wellness program will keep the above goal in mind and include attendance support, disability management and wellness initiatives. These three areas are interrelated and overlap at times. The attendance support part of the program is data driven to ensure all employees are treated in a fair and consistent manner. It allows school districts to identify and provide support while addressing any potential disability and/or accommodation obligations. A relationship and conversation led approach is used as a means to identify risks to employee health and wellbeing and assist in improving attendance. Attendance support is the promotion and monitoring of regular attendance at work and identifying areas where there may be non-culpable reasons for irregular attendance. Wellness support encompasses programs for employees that increase awareness of various wellness options and the creation of a culture that ensures employees have the resources and assistance they need to be successful and engaged at work. Disability management is the management of sick leave usage, short- and long-term disability and Workers’ Compensation claims.
- school districts adopt common policies and procedures with best practice guidelines,
- school districts have access to shared specialized expertise such as medical advisors and occupational therapists, through either a central agency or regional service, and
- the Employment Data and Analysis System (EDAS) be enhanced to include the retrieval of leave data from school districts and school district software be updated to provide the additional data.
- working with the Ministry of Education and Working Group to develop a project plan that includes deliverables such as policies, procedures and guiding principles, communication and training plans and materials, absence data collection guidelines and an evaluation plan,
- monitoring project progress and schedule,
- leading consultation with union representatives on a provincial basis, and
- providing training and information for pilot school districts to support local consultation.
- Completing a readiness audit to assess the current state of staff wellness, disability management and attendance support initiatives within the school district (see FAQ #17 below for further details).
- Making and implementing a plan to address gaps identified through the readiness audit:
- staff wellness initiatives (e.g., reviewing data from benefit plan providers and tailoring staff wellness initiatives to some of the specific health difficulties experienced within the school district),
- disability management (e.g., reviewing data, examining programs and processes that are in place, conducting a needs assessment and making recommendations for improvements),
- attendance support (e.g., improving data collection and organization systems and processes to consistently and/or effectively identify attendance issues, developing and implementing a consultation plan to ensure key stakeholders and employee group input is sought and obtained, training supervisors on the program and conducting supportive conversations and developing and implementing a communication strategy for all employees), and
- hiring and training staff for initial implementation and/or to ensure sustainability of the attendance support and staff wellness program.
School districts may want to wait until the pilot is complete before they move forward with changes and utilize the grant funding. They should also consider consulting with BCPSEA to ensure their plan to spend the funding is in accordance with the provincial criteria.