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Roles and Responsibilities


  • Ensures employees are aware of the Sickness Absence Policy and what is expected of them via local induction and day-to-day management.
  • Addresses sickness absence issues when they become known and seeks to resolve these at the earliest opportunity in a prompt, confidential and sensitive manner and ensuring consistency and fairness.
  • Monitors and records employees’ sickness absence in a timely manner.
  • Conducts and records return to work discussions following a period of absence due to sickness and ensures that employees provide the appropriate documentation.
  • Leads and directs informal discussions and formal Stage 1 and 2 Absence Review Meetings.
  • Ensures that any reasonable adjustments that are recommended by either the healthcare professional or the Occupational Health Service are given due consideration and implemented (where appropriate) in a timely manner.
  • Identifies and investigates unacceptable levels of sickness absence and takes appropriate action.
  • Refers employees to Occupational Health as appropriate.
  • Seeks HR advice as appropriate.
  • Ensures that in dealing with sickness absence cases the Department is complying with the Equality Act 2010 (which incorporates the key provisions of the Disability Discrimination Act, as amended in 2005) and the University's wider policies on equal opportunities and dignity at work.
  • Ensures that all employees are treated fairly and sympathetically.

Head of Institution (or nominated deputy)

  • Ensures that the Sickness Absence Policy is implemented within their Institution and that all members of their Institution understand and follow it.
  • Leads and directs formal Stage 3 Absence Review Meetings.


  • Attends work in accordance with their contracted hours and days unless prevented from doing so due to ill-health (or other reason).
  • Understands and complies with the requirement to report sickness absence by informing their manager when they are unable to attend work due to sickness or if they are taken ill or are injured while at work.
  • Provides relevant and timely self-certification (CHRIS/62) and/or Statement of Fitness for Work (‘Fit Note’).
  • Answers concerns raised under the Sickness Absence Policy.
  • Attends Occupational Health or other appropriate medical specialist if reasonably requested to do so.
  • Maintains regular contact with their manager throughout any period of sickness absence, especially if the absence is long-term.
  • Makes every effort to attend medical and/or dental appointments outside their normal working hours if possible.  Where this is not possible, makes every effort for such appointments to be scheduled for the beginning or end of their working day.
  • Understands that not complying with the relevant statutory rules relating to sickness absence may affect eligibility for sick pay and that, following investigation and dependant on circumstances, disciplinary procedures may be instigated.
  • Attends return to work discussions and formal Absence Review Meetings as appropriate.
  • Accepts reasonable adjustments to working arrangements practices and procedures to deal with the challenges created by disability, ill-health or injury.

Human Resources

  • Provides advice and guidance on health and sickness matters to managers, Heads of Institutions and employees.
  • Advises and supports managers on all aspects of the operation of the Sickness Absence Policy, helping to maintain consistency in its application.
  • Attends formal meetings and provides procedural advice.
  • Works with Occupational Health and other appropriate University support services on case management.
  • Provides information and support to managers and employees where an employee is or becomes disabled.

Occupational Health

  • Provides advice and guidance on health and sickness matters to managers, Heads of Institutions, employees and HR.
  • Following a management referral, meets with employees and provides a confidential assessment of their fitness for work and, with the employee’s consent, prepares a written report to the manager.
  • Provides advice and recommendations on steps and/or adjustments that might assist rehabilitating an employee back to work following a period of sickness absence.
  • Provides advice on whether an employee’s health problems may be related to work or the working environment and any actions that may prevent further problems.
  • Provides advice in relation to any long-term concerns about an employee’s fitness to work, which may need further action to be considered such as permanent readjustments to the role, redeployment support or ill-health retirement.
  • With the employee’s consent and where indicated, obtains additional information from the employee’s doctor, medical consultant or other treating specialist.
  • Provides a confidential support service to all staff.

Trade Union Representative or Work Colleague

  • Supports and advises the employee.
  • Asks questions or makes representations on behalf of the employee at formal meetings, though is not permitted to answer questions on behalf of the employee.


  • Takes notes of key points at formal Absence Review Meetings, as opposed to verbatim records.
  • Arranges for the notes to be provided to both parties, possibly via the manager, who will have the opportunity to submit their comments.
  • Where possible, the note-taker will be someone who is not involved in the case but will usually be from HR.

Meetings cannot be recorded by either side and recordings will not be admissible as evidence even where they exist.