Long term illness
A Welfare Officer can visit any member of staff who is absent from work through illness for more than a few weeks to discuss matters of concern. These can include financial issues, managing attendance procedures or ill health retirement. This visit can be at the request of either the individual or management or Departmental Human Resources.
Excessive sick absence
From time to time warnings are issued to staff who accrue an excessive amount of absence due to minor illnesses. Where the officer concerned feels that personal difficulties may have contributed to his or her absence record, he/she may wish to discuss the matter in confidence with a Welfare Officer.
On occasions, Departmental Human Resources will request that Welfare Support Service speak to members of staff who have excessive sick absence records. Line Managers should also contact Welfare Support if they feel that someone is having difficulties which may be contributing to their excessive sick absence.
Welfare Support Service offers practical advice in cases of domestic difficulty for example, relationship breakdown, abuse and violence, family illness. Welfare support can help in these cases and provide relevant information on the availability of special leave (including unpaid leave and career breaks) and general information about state benefits.
Financial difficulties can affect anybody and for any reason. Examples of how personal finance can become unstable and lead to debt and hardship are listed below:
- relationship breakdown
- death or illness in the family
- reduced income or loss of overtime or bonuses resulting from ill health
In some cases, poor budgeting is the reason rather than insufficient income and Welfare Officers are trained to help staff to examine this aspect and suggest potential solutions. Welfare Support can also help with seeking assistance from the Charity for Civil Servants.
As well as offering general support in cases where a member of staff is bereaved, the Welfare Officer has a particular role to play when notified of the death of a member of staff. The family will be contacted and arrangements made to visit.
The Welfare Officer can act as a liaison between the family and Civil Service Pensions ensuring provision of any benefits due. If required, general information will be provided about
- State benefits
- NICS benefits
- tax rebate
- Grant of Probate or letters of administration
However, the Welfare Officer cannot help with completion of application forms for State benefits.
The Welfare Support Service is able to provide advice and information on a wide range of addictions. Managers and staff should also make themselves aware of the NICS policy on alcohol addiction and substance abuse contained in the Staff Handbook.
The Welfare Support Service is available to help with problems either before or after retirement. Staff are encouraged to take advantage of the pre-retirement courses available to civil servants. These courses cover a range of topics including financial planning, pensions and adjusting to life after work. They also provide ideal preparing at what can be a stressful and daunting time.
Welfare Officers are ideally placed to advise on many work-related problems. However, in cases where the solution depends on management decisions, their involvement is limited to recommending a particular course of action.
Contact the Welfare Support Service
The Welfare Support Service is located on:6th Floor
Upper Queen Street
Telephone: 028 9054 7427
If you wish to speak to a Welfare Officer, the Service operates from Monday to Friday 9am to 5pm.