Guidance on sickness recording and monitoring in myTeam

1. Why record all sickness absences?

  • The University's Sickness Absence Management Procedure states that all staff have a duty to report periods of sickness absence and all managers have a duty to record periods of sickness absence.
  • To ensure that issues do not go unnoticed or unsupported, facilitating prompt and often simple steps to respond to employee needs, before they become much more complex to address.
  • To prompt and inform conversations with employees that will support the early identification of any intervention that may assist an employee in addressing any issues, which in turn may mitigate the impact of such absences on the work of the department and other colleagues, e.g. via reasonable adjustments, development of return to work plans etc.
  • To ensure that any risks are identified and addressed promptly and disability issues are supported appropriately.

2. Entering data within myTeam

a) Reason for Sickness Codes

The reason codes for sickness have been split into two categories: Mental and Physical Health and simplified from 26 to 11 codes. These being:

Mental Health:

  • Stress [This is a symptom (not a condition) where a person perceives that they do not have the ability to cope with identified stressors
  • Depression [This is a mental health condition sometimes described as mild, moderate or severe]
  • Other (mandatory free text field)

Physical Health:

  • Injury/accident (mandatory free text field)
  • Pregnancy related
  • Back related
  • Influenza
  • Cold/ENT (Ear, Nose, Throat)
  • Diarrhoea/Vomiting
  • Upper Limb Disorder (drop down box with options: wrist, arm, neck)
  • Other (mandatory free text field)

This will support the effective management of individual ill health issues, by enabling more specific detail to be recorded via the free text fields, whilst the simplified coding focuses on a number of specific areas to enable us to more effectively meet our duty of care towards our staff.

b) Additional Fields

  • Date of a Return to Work (RTW) Interview (this should be completed in all cases where a ‘potential cause for concern’ was identified – see section 3a below)
  • A flag to record if ‘Further Action’ was identified as required following a RTW interview. Depending upon the circumstances of each individual case a manager may find it appropriate to implement one or more actions to respond effectively to the situation. For example: in some cases it may be appropriate to establish review periods, refer to Occupational Health, consider training needs etc. However, any specific detail regarding follow up action should be recorded outside of myTeam.
  • End date of a fit note

These fields are to support departments to monitor the timeliness of return to work interviews particularly where a potential cause for concern has been identified, as well as the employee’s compliance with the certification requirements of the procedure.

c) Use of Flags

Two flags enable employees to identify whether they perceive that their absence is due to or aggravated by either a work or disability related issue. It will be for the employee to identify and advise if this be the case, either when initially reporting the absence or on their return to work e.g. via a RTW discussion, and the flag should only be used with the employees agreement.

The use of a work related flag will enable the identification of areas where prompt proactive intervention may be appropriate. (Where sickness absence is reported to someone other than the individual’s manager, if the employee identifies that they perceived their absence is attributable to either a disability or work related issues, this should be promptly notified to the employee’s manager, with the employee's agreement).

The use of a disability related flag may support early disclosure of a potential disability thus enabling managers to gain prompt support and guidance from Human Resources on how best to respond to a situation to fulfill our obligations under the Equality Act. See Key Changes of the Equality Act: Implications for HoDs

How to respond to the use of a flag?

Where either flag is used, if this is a new issue, the manager should ensure that they explore with the employee, as soon as possible, the individual circumstances. The type of intervention a manager may consider, in discussion with the employee, will be dependent upon the unique circumstances of the case. Potential examples (not an exhaustive list) of this include:

Where an employee’s level of absences becomes a cause for concern and includes absences that have been flagged as ‘disability related’, managers should again seek advice from Human Resources before determining next steps.

For further information, see Disclosing a disability.

3. When should a manager review and monitor sickness absence within their team/department/ faculty?

a) When a potential cause for concern has been identified.

For example:

  • where the absence management alert has been hit (in such cases you will be notified of this via the generation of an automatic email report);
  • a pattern appears to be present e.g. regular non-attendance on a Monday or Fridays etc;
  • there are concerns that the absence is not genuinely due to sickness;
  • possibility of a disability or underlying health issue.

In such cases these issues should be explored with the employee as part of a return to work discussion/interview.

b) Regularly as a matter of routine via the generation of a standard report.

Guidance available on the "Sickness Data Report" to find out how to run it, what information it will enable you to identify and how to interpret this.  This report should be run regularly to gain information at team, department and faculty levels, in order to support managers to identify when and where intervention/support is required.

This guidance also provides information on how to add additional fields e.g. staff type (text personnel subarea) or grade and how to export this data into Microsoft Excel, to support further analysis of this.

4. What do I do on receipt of a fit/sick note?

On receipt of a fit note the manager should forward to Payroll for processing.

If there are any recommendations or notes on the fit note that you need guidance on please contact your HR support.

5. Responsibilities under the Data Protection Act 2018

Health data is classified as a special category of personal data under Article 9 of the General Data Protection Regulations. Those who input and manage sickness absence information should ensure that:

  • Sickness absence information provided by an employee is recorded accurately in myTeam;
  • The Additional Details notefield should not be used to record any sensitive details about the absence;
  • Information disclosed by the employee must be kept confidential and only shared with those directly involved in the management of sickness absence;
  • Notes from return to work interviews or informal discussions must be kept in a secure and confidential location and destroyed upon termination of the line management relationship, however you should liaise with your HR contact before destroying any documents where formal action has taken place.

If in any doubt about protocols for storing such information please contact your Faculty HR Team Contact.