Reporting of absence and the production of medical certificates

Updated on 5 February 2021

When you should report an absence and when you need to provide a medical certificate.

On this page

Under the Department of Social Security's procedures in respect of certification of sickness for national insurance purposes, doctors are not obliged to issue Statements covering the first week of sickness from work.

The University's requirement is that any employee who is prevented by illness from attending work is obliged to contact their Head of Department (by telephone or by message) as early as possible on the first day of absence (normally within one hour of notional starting time) to explain the reason for their absence and to give an estimate of its probable duration.

An employee who is absent for more than three days must obtain and send a certificate (see definition below) to the University Payroll Office in the Finance Department to cover the period of absence.

For a period of absence which lasts for 4, 5, 6 or 7 days (counting Saturday and Sunday) the certificate required is not one completed by the employee's doctor but the DSS Sickness Benefit Claim Form (SC2) i.e. 'self certificate' completed by the employee themselves to show the reason for absence. It is the employee's responsibility to obtain, complete and submit it. The forms are available from doctors' surgeries, from hospital out-patient departments and from DSS offices.

For a period of absence which lasts for more than seven days (counting Saturday and Sunday) an employee will be required to submit a certificate (Med 3) from their doctor in addition to the DSS Sickness Benefit Claim Form which covers only the first seven days of illness.

An employee who is in receipt of a Med 3 certificate on more than one occasion consecutively, is obliged to contact their Head of Department or School (by telephone or by message) as early as possible before the day they are due to return to work if this is not as otherwise expected by the Head of Department/School.

While for absence lasting not more than 7 days the 'self certificate' DSS Sickness Benefit Claim Form will normally be sufficient certification, the University reserves the right, for example in cases of frequent short absence on grounds of sickness, to require an employee to submit a 'private' medical certificate(s) from the General Practitioner (usually at a cost to the employee) or to undergo a medical examination arranged by the University.

In the exceptional circumstances, usually in writing, where an employee has been requested to provide a 'private' medical certificate from their General Practitioner but does not comply and only submits the DSS Sickness Benefit Claim form (SC2) this would entitle the employee to Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) only on the day(s) concerned. The Occupational Sick Pay (OSP) paid by the University to make up full pay would be withheld.

The Finance Payroll Office will arrange for Sickness Benefit Claim Forms and doctors' certificates submitted by employees to be forwarded to the DSS where appropriate and will make the necessary adjustments to pay to take account of employee's entitlements to State benefits and University sick pay.

If an employee normally works for less than five days per week the DSS Sickness Benefit Claim Form must be submitted where the period of incapacity or absence including non working days amounts to four or more days (Sundays being ignored). The form should be submitted as evidence of the cause of absence even by employees who have no entitlement to DSS Sickness Benefit. If further clarification is required please contact the University Payroll Office.

Employees are advised not to delay seeing their doctors if they need medical advice or treatment.

From People
Corporate information category Absences and related
Collection Staff absence