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Sickness absence

The University wishes to create a healthy working environment for staff that protects their physical and mental well-being. It is recognised, however that employees, on occasion, will be absent from work on the grounds of ill health and it is essential that the University has arrangements for the recording, monitoring and effective management of sickness absence.

Reporting sickness

The Sickness Absence Reporting Procedures establish a common reporting procedure for all employees of the University, academic and non-academic, part-time and full-time, including those on fixed term contracts.

Effective management of sickness absence is not just about reporting the absence but open communication with the employee to understand their situation. The University has a duty of care to all its employees to ensure their health and safety whilst at work. We will encourage and facilitate practices and services that support employee well-being by providing advice and guidance through Line Manager, Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), Occupational Health and Counselling.

The Sickness Absence Reporting Procedures provide information for all employees to report their sickness absence to their line managers. Failure to report absence correctly could lead to disciplinary action.

Informing Payroll of sickness absence

The line manager will need to complete a Sickness form USP1 on day one of a member of staff informing them of their absence and send to Payroll. Email to, to ensure that the absence is recorded on the payroll system and that appropriate sick pay is applied.

When the member of staff has returned to work the line manager needs to complete another USP1 form with the return date stated. Email to This will ensure that sick pay on the employee’s record is ended correctly.

Informing Health & Safety Services of sickness absence

If the absence is due to an industrial injury, an accident at work or work related, a copy of the USP1 form must be sent by the line manager to Health & Safety Services. Email to The Incident Reporting procedure will be followed and overseen by Health and Safety Services.

Managing absence

If there are intermittent absences that start to impact on an employee's performance at work, or long term sickness absence, please contact the relevant HR Partner/Adviser to ensure the Ill Health Procedure  is followed.

The primary aim of the Ill Health procedure is to provide a framework within which managers can work with employees who are absent from work or who are unable to meet the requirements of their role owing to ill health, which may be as a result of sickness or accident.

In this procedure, capability means both intermittent absence for ill health and poor performance as a result of ill health:

  • Intermittent absence for ill health involves a number of periods of absence of typically one or two days at a time. Where appropriate the employees’ absence will be investigated and the reason for the absences, whether there is any underlying cause (medical or otherwise) and whether further absences are likely will be considered.
  • Poor Performance as a result of ill health occurs where, as a result of the employees’ ill health, they are unable to fulfil the requirements of their role and/or otherwise perform their role at the required standards.

Occupational Health provides advice on sickness absence management and carries out return to work assessments and rehabilitation advice for employees that have been on long term sickness absence. Managers need to follow the guidance for a Management Referral to Occupational Health and they can seek advice from their HR Partner/Adviser on completing a management referral form for an employee.

Things to do now

 Key procedures


If you require any further information on sickness absence please refer to your HR Partner/Adviser

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Human Resources

Occupational Health

Health & Safety