Employee Absence

We understand that sometimes things happen whereby you cant come into work. Reporting an absence is vital to ensure we can put appropriate cover and support in place whilst you are away. To help you understand what leave you need and the reporting structure, on this page we have the answers to FAQ about special leave and sickness absence.

Special leave

What is special leave and what does it cover?

Special leave covers a range of situations where an employee may have to take time off from work. These include: 

  • Domestic / Crisis / Carer Leave
  • Bereavement Leave
  • Maternity, Paternity, Adoption and Shared Parental Leave
  • Parental Leave
  • Jury Service
  • Trade Union Duties
  • Other Special Leave
  • Other Special Leave (unpaid)

I think I need Domestic/Crisis/Carer leave but unsure if I qualify.

Employees may need time off to deal with unforeseen matters or emergencies involving a dependant or to manage cases of urgent domestic distress. A dependent can be a spouse, partner, child (up to the age of 18), parent or someone who depends on your for care (e.g. an elderly neighbour). 

Examples include:

  • Breakdown of childcare
  • A dependent falling ill or hospitalised
  • An incident involving a child at school
  • Domestic violence (OH and HR should be sought for support here)

Please see the policy for more information.

A close relative or dependent has recently passed away. How do I report this bereavement and request bereavement leave?

In the unfortunate case a close relative or dependent passes away, you will need to contact your manager to let them know of the situation and complete a Compassionate Leave Application Form.

Leave can be granted at the discretion of your manager who can authorise up to 3 days’ special paid leave on compassionate grounds, extending to 6 days’ special paid leave in exceptional circumstances. Limited periods of unpaid leave may be granted depending on circumstances. Each request will be treated on its own merits.

What is parental leave? 

Parental leave should not be confused with Shared Parental Leave. Parental leave is unpaid leave available to any employee in the NHS who has nominated caring responsibility for a child under 18. You are entitled to up to 18 weeks unpaid parental leave for each child. All except 1 of these weeks, should be taken as one week blocks which may run consecutively. 

You may use it for a number of reasons such as: 

  • Spend more time with your children
  • Look at new schools
  • Accompany children during a hospital stay
  • Settle children into new childcare arrangements

Am I eligible for parental leave?

You are only eligible for parental leave if:

  • You are named on the child's birth or adoption certificate
  • You have or expect to have parental responsibility
  • You have a child under the age of 18

How do I apply for parental leave?

You must complete a Parental Leave Application Form at least 21 days before the absence start date. This time frame may be reduced in exceptional circumstances if the service allows. 

I have jury service what do I need to do?

You need to discuss the request with your manager as soon as you receive the summon and show the offical letter of notice. Your manager will usually grant you time off with pay for jury service provided you are not claiming expenses from the courts for loss of earnings. If granting time off would be detrimental to the service your manager may postpone it with a jury service form which the court will either accept or reject. 

I think I am covered by special leave but I cannot find it here.

The special leave policy covers a lot of different situations that cover leave. We have covered the most common above. To see other examples where you may specify for special leave check out the policy at the bottom of this page. 

Sickness absence

I'm unwell how do I report my absence? 

You must contact your line manager or whoever else is in charge of the ward/department that morning at the earliest opportunity. This will allow your ward/department to organise alternative cover for your shift. Some departments may have specific reporting procedures you need to adhere to. Please ask your manager if this is the case.

When you call let them know, if possible:

  • Why you are unwell
  • When you think you may be able to return to work

I have been off work due to sickness for under a week. What do I need to bring with me when I return?

If you are off work unwell for less than 7 calendar days, you will need to complete a self certification form when you return to work. This will need to be counter-signed by your immediate manager. 

I have been off work unwell for over 7 days. Can I self certificate? 

If you have been off longer than 7 calendar days you can no longer self certificate. You will need to bring in a Statement of Fitness for Work (fit note) issued by a medical practitioner, usually your GP.

My fit note has run out and I am still unable to go to work due to my illness. Do I send another? 

You will need to send a new sick note every time your Fit Note expires.

I have a fit note which is still live but I feel better, can I just return to work?

If you have a fit note you have been signed off work because your medical practitioner deems your physical and/or mental fitness as too poor for you to return to work within that period of time. Therefore we can not  accept you back until your medical practitioner signs you back on and says you are fit to work. 

Want to find out more, read our policies below