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Sickness absence procedures

What to do if you are sick and unable to work

Please note that these procedures apply to all employees of the LSE, whether academic or support staff.

Sickness absence flowchart (PDF)

If you are sick and unable to work, you should contact the School as soon as possible. If you are a shift-worker you should ring in no later than the start of your shift, so that cover can be arranged. If you work normal School hours (9.30 a.m. start), you should ring in no later than 10.30 a.m., or, if you work part-time, no later than half an hour after your normal starting time.  If local sickness absence arrangements apply e.g. as specified in a local handbook, you should also follow these.

You should contact your line manager, departmental manager, Head of Department or some other designated person in authority. Your line manager will confirm with you who to contact especially where alternative local arrangements apply. You should ring the School yourself unless the severity of your illness prevents this, in which case you must ask somebody else to do so on your behalf.

You should explain the nature of your illness and when you expect to return to work. You should keep in touch with the School on a daily basis throughout your period of absence, unless another arrangement is agreed by your line manager. In any event, you should contact your line manager to provide prior notification of your date of return to work so that operational arrangements can be made in advance.

All absences of half a day or more must be reported, via your line manager, to Human Resources by completion of a pink LSE Sickness Absence Notification Form. The School is required by law to keep records of all employees' sickness absence in order to fulfil its obligations regarding Statutory Sick Pay.

Please note that if you fail to report sickness absence or provide certificates according to the School's sickness absence procedures, the School may withhold Statutory Sick Pay or the School's Occupational Sick Pay and may result in disciplinary action.

The School reserves the right to request a medical examination at any time and further medical evidence if an employee reports they were fit to return to work during School closure periods.

What to do if you are sick for longer than seven days (including weekends)

If you are sick for more than seven days (including weekends), you must obtain a doctor's medical certificate or, if you are in hospital, a hospital certificate and send this to your line manager. (Your department will forward these to Human Resources with the pink LSE Sickness Absence Notification Form.)

At the start of your certificated sickness absence, you should discuss with your line manager appropriate contact during your sickness absence and recognise that there may be times when brief contact with you is necessary for operational reasons.

You should continue to keep your line manager informed of your progress, send in medical certificates throughout your absence and notify your line manager in advance of the date of your return to work. A further medical certificate is required immediately the previous certificate expires

What happens when you return to work

When you return to work, your line manager will complete a sickness absence notification form. Check the details on the form sign it and return it to your line manager who will forward it to Human Resources.

Phased return to work (including reduced hours) employees should continue to complete pink LSE sickness absence notification forms for the days in the week they are currently not working. These periods will be recorded against your remaining allowance.

What you have to do if you are a line manager

If you are a line manager, you must:

  • ensure that all sickness absence relating to all the staff you manage is fully and accurately recorded and reported to Human Resources by the current payroll deadline (most departments will designate a person to collate sickness absence information);
  • ensure that medical certificates are provided as required;
  • manage sickness absence by keeping your own records and taking appropriate action if somebody's level of sickness absence gives cause for concern. (Contact your HR Partner or HR for advice on managing sickness absence or a copy of management guidelines.)

Doctor, dentist and hospital appointments

These should take place outside working hours, or if this is impossible, either at the beginning or the end of the day. If an appointment means an absence of a half-day or more, it should be recorded as sickness absence in the normal way.

The sickness absence notification form

The LSE's sickness absence notification form is a pink single-sheet A4 form. Please contact Human Resources for supplies or download the form in PDF format below.

Sickness absence notification form (PDF)

Pay during periods of sickness absence

You are entitled to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) in accordance with current legislation. LSE's qualifying days are the five weekdays, Monday to Friday. SSP is payable from the fourth consecutive weekday of your sickness absence (a Period of Incapacity to Work or PIW) after a three weekday 'waiting period'. It is payable for a maximum period of 28 weeks at which point the employee may be eligible to apply for incapacity benefit.

Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) guidelines and eligibility (PDF)

You are also entitled to the School's Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) according to the regulations set out below.   These payments exceed the statutory minimum laid down under SSP. SSP is offset against and reduces OSP accordingly.

Provided that members of staff comply with the notification procedure, their pay shall be paid at full or half-rate for a period according to the rules for calculating sick pay set out below.

The entitlement to contractual (occupational) sick pay, and the period for which it shall be paid, in respect of any absence due to illness shall be determined by length of service as follows:

  Full Pay Half Pay
First 3 months' service 2 weeks 2 weeks
After 3 months' service 2 months 2 months
After 1 year's service 3 months 3 months
After 3 years' service 5 months 5 months
After 5 years' service 6 months 6 months

except that, i) any days of paid sickness absence in the 12 months immediately prior to the first day of the absence shall be deducted form the entitlement, and ii) where an absence is separated from an earlier absence by eight weeks (that is, 56 days), or less, the two absences will link and the entitlement will be calculated as at the first day of the first linked absence.

(Members of staff who were previously on academic, academic-related, senior research or other-related terms and conditions prior to the implementation less than five years' service, have a reserved right in relation to their sick pay. Their overall entitlement to sick pay (whether full- or half-pay) will be determined by the new scheme (as set out above), except that the overall entitlement will be a minimum of six months and the first six months of any entitlement will be at full pay.)

Sickness during annual leave, public holidays and School Closure

If a member of staff is sick during a period of booked annual leave, the appropriate number of annual leave days will be rescheduled, providing the illness has been authenticated (generally by a medical certificate at the staff’s own expense) in accordance with the School’s Sickness absence procedures. This means that the sickness absence should be reported, on the first day of sickness, to the relevant person in the Division/Department, in the normal manner. The period will be counted as sickness absence for sick pay and reporting purposes, once authentication is received.

If a member of staff is sick during a public holiday or a School Closure day the holiday will not be able to be rescheduled for another time. Sickness during this time will be counted as sickness absence for sick pay and reporting purposes.

In the exceptional event that certified sickness absence has meant that an employee has been unable to take 28 days of holiday in a year (across annual leave, school closure and public holidays), then the School will permit the rearrangement of a further three days of leave, beyond the standard annual leave allocation of 25 days.

Industrial injury

Absence from work caused by industrial injury will not be deducted from your sickness allowance. In the event of such absence, provided that medical certificates are produced, occupational and statutory sick pay will be continued for a period of up to thirteen weeks at full rate.