Attendance, sickness reporting and Occupational Health

A Brief guide to attendance, sickness reporting and Occupational Health

We all know it can be difficult when we fall ill, that’s why UNISON is there to be your friend at work. Below are your basic rights, if you need more information, please contact your rep or branch officers.

This page covers the following topics:

  • Occupational health
  • Sickness self-certification
  • Attendance monitoring
  • Holiday and sickness absence

 Occupational health

The Occupational Health team are here to offer advice in a neutral capacity to University of Birmingham employees, managers and the University to assist in maintaining your health at work, the health of others in the workplace and to assist individuals in remaining at or returning to work should they experience ill health or disability.

    • They are a neutral service
    • You’re entitled to take a friend or UNISON rep to Occupational Health with you
    • You have the legal right to see any Occupational Health report before it goes to the University or your line manager, this is recommended
    • By law you do not have to give permission for OH reports or medical records to go to the University, although we strongly recommend you take UNISON advice before taking this step.

 Sickness self-certification

    • If you are off sick for 1 –3 days no sickness certificate is needed
    • If you are off sick for 4– 7 days you need a self certificate
    • If you are off sick for 8 or more days you need a GP or medical note
    • If you work Monday to Friday and are off sick Thursday, Friday and back to work on Monday you do not need to provide a self certificate as you have only been off sick for 2 days. If you returned on the Tuesday this would however count as 5 days for certification.

 Attendance monitoring triggers

The University uses ‘triggers’ for sickness to decide when further investigation may be needed – your line manager has discretion in this.

  • If you are off sick for more than 5 working days in any 3 month period
  • If you are off sick on more than 2 separate occasions in any 3 month period

Disability-related absence should be recorded separately and should be taken into account by senior management when deciding whether action should be taken, if the triggers are above exceeded.

 Holiday and sickness absence

You continue to build up statutory annual leave while off sick, and can choose between taking paid holiday while off sick and saving it up to take when you return to work.

If you have not been able to take your holiday during the holiday year because of sickness, you must be allowed to carry that unused holiday forward into the next holiday year, although there may be a cut-off point by which you have to take this leave or lose it.

If you fall ill either while on holiday or before starting a pre-booked holiday, you are entitled to reschedule that leave, to take at a later date, if necessary during the next leave year.