Managing Attendance - Frequently Asked Questions

Can an employee return to work prior to the end of their fit note?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:41


It is possible for an individual to return to work before the end date specified on their fit note however this often depends on the content of the fit note itself. The indivdual's Doctor should typically indicate on the note that the individual is either unfit until a given date, or that they may be fit subject to other advice (detailed on the note). It may be approproate to seek case-specific advice from Occupational Health or from People and Organisational Development.

Can I appeal against a capability hearing outcome?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:37


If an employee wishes to appeal the outcome of a decision made at any hearing held under the Managing Attendance Policy, they should submit an appeal in writing outlining their full grounds for appeal, to the appropriate College/University Services Head of Human Resources within 10 working days of receipt of the University’s decision. Employees should be notified that their appeal has been received.

The appeal stage is not intended to be a rehearing of the original case. Hence the grounds for appeal should typically fall within one of the following:

- Procedural error
- The outcome and recommendations are unreasonable and significantly out of line with the issues considered
- New information is now available which could not have reasonably been provided when the original outcome was communicated

I want to progress to a Formal Stage 2 Review, what do I do next?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:41


Where there is no significant or sustained improvement in attendance levels or where the review points continue to be met during the formal Stage 1 monitoring period, the employee should be invited to a Stage 2 Review with no less than 5 days notice. This is a further formal stage, separate to the return to work process. The Stage 2 Review will determine whether or not the case warrants the issue of a final letter of concern. Further information on the full process can be found in the Managing Attendance Policy and advice on specific cases can be obtained from your local HR team.

Can an employee use annual leave during sick leave?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:41


Annual leave entitlement continues to accrue during periods of absence and employees who are long-term absent may wish to take annual leave whilst they are absent (e.g. to continue receiving full pay where they would otherwise drop to half or nil pay). The relevant local People and Organisational Development team should be contacted to arrange this. Please note, annual leave should not be taken in order to fully cover a period of absence due to ill health.

Where do I find information on return to work discussions?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


Information on Return to Work discussions can be found in the Managing Attendance Policy or, more specifically, within the Guidance Note on carrying out a return to work discussion.

How do I report work-related stress?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:37


Where an employee believes they are experiencing work-related stress, they should approach their line manager to discuss their concerns as soon as possible. 

The Form - Notification of Work-Related Stress should be used to document any perceived causes, concerns, impacts and proposed resolutions. 

Managers are responsible for responding to any concerns notified through this process and taking remedial action where possible. While consideration can be given to making a referral to Occupational Health in these cases, it should not be automatic. Many of the issues which may be cited as work-related stress can often be resolved through positive management interventions.

After how many days is a medical fit note required?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:41


Absences continuing beyond 7 calendar days must be covered by appropriate medical certification (typically a ‘Fit Note’ from a GP but this may also be an appropriate hospital certificate).

How do I manage stress at work?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:41


Where an employee believes they are experiencing work-related stress, they should approach their line manager to discuss their concerns as soon as possible. The Form - Notification of Work-Related Stress should be used to document any perceived causes, concerns, impacts and proposed resolutions. Managers are responsible for responding to any concerns notified through this process and taking remedial action where possible.

While consideration can be given to making a 
referral to Occupational Health in these cases, it should not be automatic. Many of the issues which may be cited as work-related stress can often be resolved through positive management interventions. A referral may be appropriate in some cases after initial discussions have taken place, but should not automatically be the first step in addressing work-related stress.

The University also provides an 
Employee Assistance Programme via PAM Assist
, which offers various tools and facilities which may be useful.



I want to progress a case to a Formal Stage 1 Review, what do I do next?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:41


Where there is no significant or sustained improvement in attendance levels or where the review points continue to be met during the informal monitoring period, the employee should be invited to a Stage 1 Review with no less than 5 days notice. This is a formal stage, separate to the return to work process. The Stage 1 Review will determine whether or not the case warrants the issue of a letter of concern. Further information on the full process can be found in the Managing Attendance Policy and advice on specific cases can be obtained from your local HR team.

How do I notify my manager if I am off sick?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:37


When an employee is unable to attend work, they should notify their manager directly, as soon as possible but no later than half an hour after their normal starting time. Where an absence is not related to ill health the employee should discuss with their manager whether an appropriate form of leave is available.

Employees should report their absence personally by telephone, wherever possible. It is acceptable to leave a voice message, during working hours, only where a line manager is unobtainable. Where this occurs, employees should try to make contact at a later time, or leave details of a suitable time for their manager to return their call.

Is my manager allowed to contact me when I am off sick?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


It is important that contact is maintained throughout any period of absence (but particularly those of longer duration) to ensure that absent individuals are not isolated from their work. Contact should however be reasonable and the frequency/method should be agreed in the early stages to ensure it is appropriate for those involved.

How often should I contact an absent team member?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:41


It is important that absent employees are not isolated from the workplace and regular dialogue prevents this, ensuring that all parties are up to date on progress and allows discussion to take place around any appropriate support or adjustments. The frequency and method of contact should be agreed between the individual and their manager during the early stages of absence and reviewed periodically as appropriate. Contact will typically be more frequent in the early days of an absence (likely even day-to-day), particularly if details or timescales are unknown.

What do I do if a review point is met?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


Where it is identified at a return to work discussion that an employee has reached one or more of the above review points, the Attendance Improvement Process should be followed as outlined in the Managing Attendance Policy, depending on the circumstances of the case.

What happens if I have annual leave booked and I am off sick?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


Employees who fall sick (or are sick) during a period of planned annual leave may reclaim their annual leave and should, as far as possible, provide evidence of their illness (a medical certificate) in order to do so.

How do I record an employee absence?

Last updated: Fri Jun 24 11:55

On being notified that a member of their team is absent from work through ill health, managers must input the relevant details into the HR system which can be accessed in the PeopleXD Manager Dashboard.


This data should be entered via the Team Diary, which is accessed via My Team > Actions > View Scheduler.


To enter an absence, you should click on the white space along from the employee’s name and select “Person Absences”. The screen will refresh and any absences for that employee will display. To add a new absence you should click on the blue “Add Absence” button in the top right hand-corner of the window.


If a designated Administrator records absence, this must be input in Back Office.


A more detailed process note is attached below.


A team member has not showed up for work, what should I do?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


If under any circumstances an employee is missing from work without a viable explanation, which ultimately causes concern, the manager should investigate in order to ensure that the employee is safe. Where it is not possible to make contact and concern remains, the local HR Team should be contacted for further advice.

What is the University's sick pay entitlement?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:41


Subject to the absence reporting and certification procedures having been followed, employees will receive sickness payment for a period of one sixth of service* on full salary then one sixth of service on half salary, up to a maximum period of six months at full salary followed by six months at half salary. *Service is measured at the start of the absence. Contact the payroll team for a sick pay report if you have concerns over the sick pay you have remaining.

What do I do if an absent team member is not maintaining contact?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


Employees should remain contactable during periods of absence and similarly managers should ensure that they maintain reasonable contact with absent employees, particularly in longer-term cases. The frequency and method of contact should be agreed during the early stages of absence and reviewed periodically as appropriate. If a line manager encounters difficulty in maintaining approrpriate contact then they should initially ensure that the relevant colleague is sensitively reminded of the importance of maintaining contact and of their own obligations in line with the Managing Attendance Policy. Should problems persist further advice should be sought from the relevant local HR Team.

What are the absence review points?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


The review points are any one (or combination) of the following:

- 4 occasions of absence within the last 6 months
- 6 occasions of absence within the last 12 months
- 12 or more days sickness absence, accrued over more than 1 period of absence, within the last 12 months (Pro-rated for part-time staff)
- Any other recurring, recognisable pattern (e.g. frequent absenteeism on a Monday)

What is the difference between short and long-term absences?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


A short-term absence is defined as any single period of absence up to a maximum of 4 calendar weeks. A long-term absence is defined as any single period of absence lasting longer than 4 calendar weeks.

What are the contact details for the Employee Assistance Programme?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


The University's Employee Assistance Programme is provided by PAM Assist, who can be contacted on 0800 882 4102, and further information is available on the Health, Safety & Wellbeing pages.

What should I do with my medical fit note?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


Fit notes should be provided to the relevant line manager in good time in order that the relevant details can be recorded on the HR System. Once the details are added to the system, the fit note will be destroyed so individuals must notify their manager if they would like the fit note to be returned.

Who do I contact if my sickness absence record is wrong?

Last updated: Wed May 4 14:40


If you believe your absence record is incorrect, you should speak with your line manager in the first instance to review this.

How do I implement an attendance improvement plan?

Last updated: Wed Dec 15 10:14


Where it is identified at a return to work discussion that an employee has reached one or more of the review points, the Attendance Improvement Process should normally take place. The plan will agree steps that the employee and sometimes the manager will take to improve and maintain attendance in the future. Monitoring periods will be included. Employees may be accompanied by a Trade Union representative or work colleague. 

Further guidance can be found in section 18 of the Managing Attendance Policy.