Elective Procedures

The University recognises that, occasionally, staff may need to request a short period of leave to undergo an elective procedure, which falls outside of the scope of the University’s Sickness Absence Management Policy and Procedure.


All employees.

Definition of Elective Procedures:

The University defines elective procedures as a non-essential surgical procedure that the staff member has chosen to undergo for personal reasons, for example cosmetic surgery or laser eye treatment.

For the avoidance of doubt, non-essential surgery which has been medically advised or prescribed by a staff member’s doctor or consultant, will not be considered as an elective procedure but a period of sickness absence. An example of this would be reconstructive surgery following a mastectomy.

Key Principles:

1. A staff member may request leave to accommodate time-off to undergo an elective procedure. As the request will require prior agreement from the individual’s manager, it is recommended that early discussions take place between the staff member and their manager, to enable both parties to consider how and whether this may be accommodated. During this discussion, the staff member should provide an indication of the likely duration of recovery, based upon advice from their medical practitioner.

2. The University appreciates that some elective procedures may require greater flexibility for the individual to respond quickly to attend appointments. To enable such flexibility, it is essential that the staff member has early discussions with their manager about their requirements for the procedure.

3. To accommodate reasonable time-off for an elective procedure, a staff member may seek to request to use part of their annual holiday entitlement, apply for additional leave (in line with normal University procedures) or agree with their manager a short period of unpaid leave, for the procedure and reasonable recovery time.

4. The manager will ensure that any information disclosed, in relation to the staff member’s elective procedure, is held in the strictest of confidence. The reason for the staff member’s absence should only be disclosed where prior consent has been given by the individual.

5. If a staff member, due to unforeseen complications, is unfit to return to work at the end of the agreed period of leave, any additional absence will be recorded as sickness absence and, where appropriate, must be covered by a medical certificate (Fit Note). In such cases, the usual sickness absence notification process will apply.

6. As a consequence of the personal nature of such situations, each case will be duly and sensitively considered based on the individual circumstances, and as such will not result in the setting of precedents for the consideration of subsequent matters either by the same individual or by others.

How the University supports this:

  • Managers may seek advice from Human Resources and/or Workplace Health and Wellbeing, to assist them in considering requests for time off for elective procedures.
  • The University will ensure that any records in relation to an employee personal information is confidential and collected and stored in accordance with the University's Information Security Policy. The handling of personal data is controlled by the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) and associated legislation.
  • Where the reason for the absence is disclosed, the University will ensure that the member of staff, on his/her return to work, is treated with sensitivity and dignity.

Document Control
Last Updated: 03/14
Date of Next Review: 02/17