Managing Short Term Sickness Absence

Short-term absences are defined as an absence from work due to illness or injury, which lasts for less than 4 weeks (less than 20 working days) within a rolling 12-month period. A rolling 12-month period is exactly 12 months from the most recent absence therefore any periods of absence in the preceding 12 months since the last day of absence.

It is important to keep in regular contact with an employee during any period of absence. This should be from the first day of absence and should discuss their progress and ensure that employees are appropriately supported to enable them to return to work as soon as possible.

After each instance of sickness absence mangers must meet with the employee to review the absence and determine if any next steps/support is required. Taking the time to conduct meetings demonstrates that staff are valued and their contribution is missed when they are away it also underlines the importance placed on regular attendance.

  • Quick Links and Resources

    Managing Short-term Absence; Flowchart Guidance for Managers: Contacting a member of staff when absent
    Sick Pay Provisions Guidance for Manager: How to conduct a RTW (coming soon)
    Template Letter: Short Term Absence Welfare Letter (coming soon) Guidance for Managers on Absence Threshold: First/Second/Final Stage (coming soon)
    Template Letter: 1st Letter-Failure to provide medical certificates Annex 1: Sickness Absence Form
    Template letter: 2nd Letter-Failure to provide medical certificates and notification of stopping pay Annex 2: Action Taken Form
    Template letter: 1st Letter-Unauthorised Absence Template Letter: Invite to First/Second/Final Review (coming soon)
    Code of Conduct Template Letter: Outcome from First/Second/Final Review (coming soon)
    Guidance for Managers: Occupational Health
    Occupational Health Referral Form
    Template Letter: Invitation to meeting following receipt of Occupational Health report

  • Employees Responsibilities

    • Maintain regular attendance at work
    • Look after their personal health and wellbeing
    • Alert their line manager to any issues which may have an impact on their attendance, health or performance so that they can offer suitable support
    • Report any absence in line with the Sickness Absence procedure providing timely certification
    • Attend appointments as required (Occupational Health and Staff Counselling)
    • Follow advice and guidance to facilitate RTW
    • Highlight if absence is maternity or disability related
    • Be aware that the sick pay scheme is for ill-health and not for other purposes such as caring responsibilities
    • Provide reasonable notice of their expected return to work date
    • Attend meetings and cooperate with manager when issues have been identified
    • Adhere to Health and Safety regulations at work

  • Line Managers Responsibilities

    • Ensure employees are aware of their responsibilities in accordance with the Sickness Absence Procedure
    • Ensure employees understand the procedure for reporting absence
    • Be familiar with the Sickness Absence Procedure, the relevant triggers and act upon them
    • Make and maintain contact with absent employees throughout the duration of their absence to seek updates on the circumstances and assess what measures if any can put in place to assist the employee to return to work
    • Manage staff attendance, identify any issues and take appropriate action in a fair, consistent, sensitive and timely manner
    • Monitor levels of sickness absence in their own area and use appropriate interventions to reduce levels of absence
    • Distinguish between reported sickness and unauthorised absence
    • Promote staff health and wellbeing and ensure staff are aware of the University Support Services to include Occupational Health,
    • Independent Staff Counselling and Staff wellbeing
    • Keep your HR Business Partner informed
    • Conduct effective and supportive RTW interview

  • HR Business Partners Responsibilities

    • Provide professional, independent advice and guidance on sickness absence
    • Provide information to support decision making for managers
    • Monitor application of policy to ensure consistent and fair treatment across the University
    • Provide training for line managers in relation to absence management
    • Review absence reports with Head of School / Director advise on non- compliance
    • Assist managers in preparing and presenting cases in line with the procedure
    • Support active case management

  • Occupational Health Responsibilities

    • Provide independent advice and guidance regarding health issues that may be affecting performance, attendance or behaviour at work
    • Provide reports to Managers and HR Business Partners following appointments at Occupational Health
    • Assess fitness for work and provide medical opinions on returning to work, reasonable adjustments and disability related issues
    • Assess and advise on long term prognosis
    • Identify those staff likely to be candidates for ill health retirement