Durham University

Human Resources & Organisational Development

Guidelines for Employees - Sickness Absence


Some absence due to sickness is inevitable within any large organisation and sickness absence needs to be dealt with in a fair, understanding and sympathetic way. Absence is costly; it has an adverse effect upon colleagues and on the level and quality of service that the University provides. Effective monitoring of all forms of absence, and a consistency of approach, are essential if absence levels are to be maintained at, or below, sector standards/averages. The University’s Absence Management procedure is not a disciplinary procedure. Absence not due to genuine illness will be dealt with under the Disciplinary Procedure. Sick leave is recorded on the Leave and Absence Management System (LAMS).

Ill Health and Absence Regulation

This regulation applies to all staff, including academic staff who have completed probation. Please refer to the Ill Health and Absence Regulation.

Who is responsible for managing absence?

  • Line Managers (supervisors, section heads, etc.) are the people best placed to manage absence in their areas of responsibility.
  • Every employee has a responsibility to attend work when she/he is fit to do so.

Notification of absence

All staff have a responsibility, under their contract of employment and / or under the terms of the Sickness Pay Scheme, to contact their department as early as possible on the first day of absence; and no later than normal commencement of work or shift start time. This is important as alternative arrangements (to ensure that all necessary work is covered) may have to be put into place.

If you are absent for up to 3 calendar days, you are not required to provide evidence of incapacity.

If your absence extends to a 4th day and lasts up to 7 calendar days, a self-certification form should be completed and returned to your departmental absence administrator .