Renfrewshire Council

What you must do if you are too sick to work

How to report sickness, what your manager will need to know, keeping in contact, self-certification, fit notes and unauthorised absences.

Contacting your manager 

If you're too ill to work, you must contact your manager by phone. 

You should try to contact your manager at least one hour before the time you are due to start work. 

You must contact your manager on the 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 7th days of absence, or the next closest day if these are on the weekend. 

If you contact by text or email your line manager may call you for further information. 

If you get sick and know you will not be fit enough for your next shift, please give as much notice of this as possible. 

If you have more than one job, you'll need to contact each line manager to let them know of your absence.   

You need to tell your manager: 

  • the reason for your absence and how long you expect to be off work sick 
  • when your sickness started 
  • if your sickness absence is work-related 
  • your phone number, so your manager can keep in touch 
  • details of any urgent or unfinished work that your manager needs to know about.  

If you are not able to contact your line manager yourself, for example due to a mental health problem or being in hospital, a friend or relative can contact your line manager on your behalf. They should keep in regular contact with your line manager until you are well enough to do so. 

Your manager will record your sickness 

Your manager will record the sickness absence on Business World. They enter a start date and reason for the sickness, when you made contact and the return date once you return to work.  Recording absence in Business World [683KB]

For equality monitoring purposes, sickness absences relating to a disability, pregnancy, pregnancy loss or menopause will be recorded separately from other kinds of sickness absences. 

Keeping in touch for sickness of more than 7 days 

If your absence extends beyond the 7 days, you must contact your line manager at least once a week or on a regular basis agreed with them. They'll consider the reason for your absence, any treatment plans you have in place and the recovery time you need.   

How to count sick days, self-certification and fit notes 

How to count sick days  

When you work out the number of days that you've been sick, you need to count all the days in a row you've been sick. This includes days that you do not usually work like weekends and bank holidays. 

Sickness of 7 days or less 

If your sickness absence is for 7 days or less, you need to complete a self-certificate. There is no longer a separate form for you to complete. You will now complete this in Business World with your manager as part of your return to work meeting. 

Sickness of more than 7 days 

If your absence is more than 7 days, you'll need to get a fit note from a certified medical practitioner or healthcare professional. This will normally be your General Practitioner (GP) but it can also include a hospital doctor, nurse, occupational therapist, pharmacist or physiotherapist who is treating you and discussing your fitness for work. 

Read about how to get a fit note (NHS inform website).

The fit note can be printed or digital (for example, attached to an email), and it should be given or sent to your line manager as proof that you are unwell and unable to work. 

If you are unable to provide a printed fit note or need to keep the original, you can take a copy or photograph and send it to your line manager. 

If you do not tell your manager that you're unwell (unauthorised absence) 

If you do not report your sickness absence on time, your manager may record it as an unauthorised absence. 

Your line manager will discuss the reasons for this with you. This will help them decide if they need to take any further action and if you should receive sick pay. Further action may include your line manager asking for Occupation Health advice on any medical problems that might stop you from understanding or following the absence reporting process. 

If you have not followed the notifying of sickness procedure, and there is no justification for failing to do so, your manager may consider removing your ability to self-certify your absence or any entitlement to occupational sick pay. If they decide to do either, they must seek advice from HR&OD to agree what is appropriate and advise you in writing of their decision and your right to appeal this. 

If there are no valid reasons, or there is a possibility your absence is not genuine, your manager may follow our disciplinary procedures.

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