Human Resources

Sickness Absence - Useful Processing Information


Full information on the University sickness policies can be found on the following links:

Sickness absence: Occupational Health: Human Resources: University of Sussex

Sickness entitlement can be found within the terms and conditions pages for each contract type

Sickness absence – guidance for Managers

The following information is intended as an overview of some key points. Managers should familiarise themselves with the full sickness entitlement and policy documents on the links above.

Any queries should be directed your HR Associate for your area Via

It is the responsibility of a line manager to ensure that sickness absence is recorded and that relevant documentation is provided to the Payroll team in a timely way.

ALL staff (including faculty) in your school/unit should be included on your departmental sickness returns.

If an employee is off sick (short term and new absences)

  • The manager needs to inform the member of staff who completes the return of absences form for payroll so the dates can be included on the next return
  • Information should be provided as soon as it is available to ensure accuracy of submission and to reduce the risk of overpayments to employees
  • Returns must be submitted to Payroll monthly in arrears, by the 5th of the following month. For example; sickness for dates between 1-31 January should be submitted by 5th February
  • Absences between one and three days do not require any documentation
  • A personal self-certificate must be provided for all absences of between four and seven days. This form can be completed by the Line Manager if the employee remains absent after seven days
  • All sickness of more than seven days will require a fit note, doctors letter, or hospital letter evidencing the reason for absence
  • Statutory sick pay cannot be processed without proof of sickness
  • Fit notes can be provided by the Employee to their Line Manager, or directly to their HRBP or Payroll contact
  • Absence entitlement will be calculated on a rolling year basis, deducting any previously taken full or half paid days from contractual entitlement

If an employee off sick (long term absences)

  • If an employee has been off unwell for four consecutive weeks, the Manager should contact their HR Business Partner/ HR Associate and Payroll contact to make them aware of the absence
    • For staff with less than 3 months service the Manager should inform HR after absences of two consecutive weeks
  • The HR Business Partner/ HR Associate will discuss with the Manager and provide assistance and advice where necessary
  • Payroll will calculate sickness entitlement end dates which will be provided to the HR Business Partner/ HR Associate. The HR Business Partner/ HR Associate will inform the Manager and Employee of these dates in writing
  • All sickness must still be included on the departmental returns

Return to work and phased return

  • Managers must inform their HR Business Partner/HR Associate and Payroll contact when an employee returns to work; failure to do so will cause incorrect payment calculations, which may result in an over or under payment for the employee.
  • It may be appropriate to arrange for staff to return on a phased basis in line with medical recommendations, increasing their hours over a period to return to their normal contract
  • Managers should discuss any intention to implement a phased return with their HR Business Partner/ HR Associate to ensure necessary considerations can be made e.g Occupational Health referral
  • Payroll cannot discuss details of a phased return or provide advice on appropriate practice
  • All phased returns will be paid in line with remaining sickness entitlement, calculated from the first day of sickness
  • When an employee is on phased return and is in half pay, their pay will be calculated to ensure they receive at least half pay. Where the phased return hours exceed half of a normal working week an adjustment will be made so they receive payment for actual hours worked
  • Employees in a phased return who have no occupational entitlement will be paid for hours worked
  • Entitlement will be recalculated for any subsequent absence so it is important for Managers to inform Payroll if an employee on a phased return has any sickness during their phased return

Exceptional circumstances – extension to occupational entitlement

  • In exceptional circumstances it may be possible to extend sick pay entitlement for a defined period, Managers should contact their HR Business Partner/ HR Associate if they wish to discuss this further