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Human Resources



1.1.The University of Cambridge is committed to promoting the health and wellbeing of all employees. This policy and the associated guidance aim to promote supportive and effective management of absence due to ill-health (commonly known as sickness absence) and that any support is considered as early as possible.

1.2.The Sickness Absence Policy aims to maximise employee attendance while recognising that there are occasions when employees may be unable to attend work due to their own ill-health.

1.3.The purpose of this policy and associated procedures and guidance is to provide a clear framework for reporting and recording sickness absence and outlines the fair and consistent management of short and long-term sickness absence across the University. It also ensures that employees have the support they need from their managers, as well as access to support services provided by the University.

1.4.This policy should be read in conjunction with the Sickness Absence Guidance document that accompanies this policy.


2.1 This policy applies to all employees of the University of Cambridge. However, the Schedule to Statute C (statute U) Chapter IV and the Ordinances Chapter XI General regulations should also be followed for University officers

2.2 For employees holding honorary clinical contracts, sickness absence issues will be managed jointly by the University and the relevant NHS Trust.

3.Statement of Policy

3.1.The University is committed to supporting the wellbeing of its employees and providing appropriate support in relation to their health and attendance at work.

3.2.The aims of this 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; and
  • Establish the roles and responsibilities of all parties involved, including employees, managers, Human Resources and Occupational Health in relation to sickness absence.

3.3.Employees who are unable to attend work due to ill-health are required to notify their manager of their absence by following the sickness absence reporting procedure, as set out in this policy (or any local reporting procedures within their Institution).

3.4.Managers should be supportive of employees when managing sickness absence and ensure that it is addressed in a caring and sensitive manner and with a fair and consistent approach, balancing the needs of individual employees with those of the University.

3.5.The University will adopt a case-by-case approach when working with employees who are absent from work due to ill-health, and, where advised, modify the approach to the specific health circumstances of each individual

3.6.Guidance and advice should be sought from the relevant HR Business Manager or their team for any specific concerns regarding the application of the policy. Further advice on managing sickness absence is provided in the Sickness Absence Guidance document.

3.7.This policy is not contractual and may be amended through the normal University procedures. The policy is not intended to remove any existing protections or entitlements afforded to employees under their contracts of emplosyment or collective agreements between the University and trade unions.

3.8.The roles and responsibilities of employees, managers, Human Resources and Occupational Health are explained in the Sickness Absence Guidance document.

3.9.The policy seeks to ensure that sickness absence matters are dealt with sensitively and with due respect for the privacy of the individuals concerned.