Leicester District
National Education Union

9th October 2018

Sickness Absence - Your Rights

Sickness Absence

If you are unwell and unable to attend work, you need to inform the school as soon as you can. For the first five days you can self certificate, but after that you need a 'fit note' signed by your doctor. You do not need to provide the school with work for pupils in your absence, nor do you need to give any more detail about the nature of your illness than that with which you feel comfortable.

If you think that you are likely to be absent for longer than a couple of weeks, or if your illness is work related such as work related stress or musculo-skeletal, then please contact the local NUT office for advice and support. The school management may decide to refer you to occupational health for advice on how to support your return to work. They may also call you to a sickness absence meeting and again we would advise you to contact the local office for support. The length of time that you will be paid while absent is set out in the 'Burgundy Book' conditions of service for teachers; during your fourth and subsequent years this is 100 working days on full pay and 100 working days on half pay.

Medical Appointments

Medical appointments do not count towards that sickness absence entitlement. There is a reasonable expectation that routine dental check-ups should take place outside of school hours, but there can be no such expectation for most other medical appointments, including for IVF or treatment for a chronic medical condition. If you have difficulty in being allowed to attend medical appointments, please contact us for support.

Leave of absence

Leave of absence with pay includes attendance at funerals and domestic emergencies, such as if your child is taken ill.

You also have a statutory right to take unpaid leave to cope with emergencies involving dependants. A dependant could be a spouse, partner, child, grandchild, parent, or someone who depends on you for care. www.gov.uk/time-off-for-dependants

Your rights regarding leave of absence, including how many days you may be able to take in a year, are set out in the leave of absence policy, but Headteachers will grant a total of up to five working days paid leave of absence per academic year for the reasons specified in the policy. Governors may extend this provision by a further five working days per academic year or beyond this in exceptional cases. Attendance at funerals is not restricted to close relatives and you are entitled to attend the funeral of a friend; you should not be expected to justify how close a connection that you had to a person.

Parental Leave

Parental leave is unpaid. You are entitled to 18 weeks of leave for each child and adopted child, up to their 18th birthday. The limit on how much parental leave each parent can take in a year is 4 weeks for each child (unless the employer agrees otherwise). You must take parental leave as whole weeks (eg 1 week or 2 weeks) rather than individual days, unless your employer agrees otherwise or if your child is disabled. You don't have to take all the leave at once. www.gov.uk/parental-leave/entitlement


Here is the LA sickness management policy and the leave of absence policy.


Related articles

Don't allow anybody to tamper with your conditions of service (4th September 2011)
Absence Due To Illness (9th September 2009)
Management of Sickness Absence (6th October 2008)
Sickness Absence - Trigger Points Hold Up Agreement (5th February 2007)