“Doing great work in a great place to work“
The aims of the sickness absence policy are to:
- Provide employees and managers with a standard process and consistent approach for managing, recording and reporting sickness absence.
- Promote a positive culture of attendance.
- Minimise sickness absence levels and help facilitate employees’ return to work.
- Offer support and assistance to staff experiencing ill-health.
- Ensure the University acts in a fair, reasonable and consistent manner when dealing with sickness absence issues.
- Establish the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved, including employees, managers, Human Resources and Occupational Health in relation to sickness absence.
Reporting absence if you are unwell
If you are unwell and cannot attend work please report your absence to your line manager as soon as possible. This should be in advance of when you are due to start your shift.
You should keep your line manager regularly updated on how you are feeling so that they aware of when you may return to work and so that they can provide support where possible.
If your absence is less than 7 calendar days you can self-certify by completing as CHRIS62 form and passing to your line manager.
If your absence is over 7 calendar days a GP sickness note is needed to confirm the absence. This should again be provided to your line manager.
Why manage absence?
- All employers have a duty of care towards their employees.
- There may be an effect on the individual if the underlying cause of the sickness is not addressed or support provided.
- There can be an impact on other members of the team in terms of workload and morale.
- Lost working time is a cost to your organisation.
If someone is on long term sick (a period of absence over 4 weeks), please continue to keep regular contact with the employee on sick leave, and vice-versa. The frequency of keeping in contact should be agreed between the employee and manager. It is also ok to check when the employee will be coming back in advance of their return due date.
At this stage we would ask you to review the reasons for the absence and any potential patterns, and to consider whether you wish to discuss concerns with the individual (usually on an informal basis in the first instance).
If you are concerned about the wellbeing or frequency of sickness escalate this to your department’s HR team in the first instance. This will be your department’s HR team/contact or the Business and Operations Manager. They will provide the needed advice and additional support. If necessary the department’s HR team/contact or the Business and Operations Manager will escalate it further to relevant contact in the Clinical School HR team.
A return to work conversation should take place to provide support, discuss absence levels and see which support channels can be provided where needed. Document this with an email using bullet points to show what was discussed.
Process – Informal and Formal
- Carry out return to work meetings, highlight if the employee’s absence levels are becoming a concern and set informal targets if necessary.
- Often employees attendance levels will improve following the informal process.
- If an employee is repeatedly absent and informal attendance targets are not met and the employee has been advised that it may lead to the formal process, then you may wish to conduct a formal sickness absence review meeting.
- 3 stage formal process – Absence Review Meetings with formal sanctions of First, Final Improvement Notices or potentially termination – each stage has the right to appeal.
Refer to the Sickness Absence Manager Guidance for further information and speak with your departmental Business and Operations Manager for further advice.
N.B. The sickness absence policy applies to all employees of the University of Cambridge. However, Statutes and Ordinances – Schedule to Statute C (statute U) Chapter IV and the Ordinances Chapter XI General regulations should also be followed for University officers.
For employees holding honorary clinical contracts, sickness absence issues will be managed jointly by the University and the relevant NHS Trust.
Sickness Absence Pay Entitlement
TUPE departments Terms and Conditions for sick pay differs from regular University of Cambridge employees. Refer to your contract of employment for specific rates.
For internal and external support services including Occupational Health, Counselling and HR visit our support webpages. Trade Union information can be found here.
The Clinical School HR Team regularly deliver Management Essentials training sessions, which includes training on managing sickness absence. To view relevant training sessions and to sign up, visit the Management Essentials webpages.