Your browser does not support JavaScript

Sick absence policy

£ 9
Get much more with our
Absence and attendance policy bundle:

Our Sick Absence Policy Template facilitates effective sick leave management, supports employees' health, and minimises disruptions in the workplace.

Reading time
How long to understand and implement this policy?
10 mins
Word count
How many words in this policy?
We also have budget-friendly bundles featuring this template:

What is a Sick absence policy?

A sick absence policy is commonly referred to as a "sickness absence policy" or a "sickness absence management policy". The policy outlines how an employer will manage employee absences due to illness, including the procedures for reporting sickness, how much sick pay employees are entitled to, and any documentation required to support an absence.

The purpose of a sickness absence policy is to provide clear guidance to both employees and employers on how to handle sick leave, and to ensure that employees are treated fairly and consistently when they are unable to work due to illness. It also helps employers to manage staffing levels and plan for any necessary cover or arrangements during an employee's absence.

Best practice timescale for this to be issued
When should this policy be issued?
During onboarding / after changes / planned refresher
Issued by who, to whom
Who should issue this policy, and to whom?
Internally issued to appropriate recipients in your Company
Applicable legal jurisdictions
In which jurisdictions can this policy be used?
Great Britain & NI (United Kingdom), Worldwide

What legislation and best practice guidelines have been taken into account in the development of this template?

United Kingdom
  • Employment Rights Act 1996: Sets out statutory rights for sick pay and leave entitlements for eligible employees.

  • Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) Regulations 1982: Outlines the rules for paying SSP to employees who are unable to work due to illness.

  • Equality Act 2010: Requires employers to make reasonable adjustments for employees with disabilities related to sickness absence.

  • Health and Safety at Work etc. Act 1974: Places a duty on employers to ensure the health, safety, and welfare of employees, which can impact sickness prevention.

  • Working Time Regulations 1998: Includes provisions for working hours, rest breaks, and rest periods, affecting employees' well-being and sickness rates.

  • Fit for Work Guidance: Provides guidance on managing sickness absence and promoting employee health and well-being.

  • Employment Contracts: Individual employment contracts may include specific terms related to sick pay, reporting procedures, and absence notification.

Other territories

Consult your jurisdiction's employment legislation or labor laws to ensure compliance with the template. Review the language for local precision.

Sick absence Policy


[Company] values good attendance at work and is committed to improving the general wellbeing of its employees to achieve this. 


This policy is applicable to all employees of [company name].

General principles

Although we aim to secure regular attendance, we do not expect employees to attend when they are unwell.

Notification of Absence

Should you be unable to attend work due to illness or injury, you must comply with the following sickness absence reporting procedure:

On the first morning of your sickness absence, you must contact the Company and speak to your line manager at the earliest possible opportunity and as close to your normal start time as possible. In any event, this must be no later than two hours after your normal start time. If you are unable to speak to your line manager personally, you should speak to [insert name of contact]. You should give details of the nature of your illness and, if the illness is of a minor nature, you should indicate when you believe you will be fit to return to work. You must inform your line manager as soon as possible of any change in the date of your anticipated return to work.

For an absence of seven consecutive calendar days or less, you are required to telephone your line manager on a daily basis in accordance with the reporting procedure set out above. You must also complete a self-certification of sickness absence form immediately on your return to work. Self-certification forms are available from (and should be returned once completed to) [insert name of contact]. You are reminded that it is a serious disciplinary offence to provide false information on a self-certification form.

Should your sickness absence be for a period in excess of seven calendar days, you are required as an absolute minimum to contact your line manager on a weekly basis in order to provide an update on your illness or injury. A doctors certificate must also be obtained. A new doctors certificate must be submitted each week. Your doctors certificate must be forwarded to [insert name of contact] as quickly as possible and in any event by no later than the end of the calendar week in respect of which the certificate applies.

Supporting evidence

You should have certificates (either self-certification of sickness absence forms or doctors certificates) to cover the entire period of your sickness absence.

From your first day of absence you will be required to complete a self-certification form available through your line manager on your return; if greater than 7 days you will require a medical certificate from your GP.

Return to work interviews

For all periods of sickness absence of half a day or longer, your line manager may require you to attend a back to work interview on your return to work to discuss the reasons for your absence and, in particular, whether it was work-related.

Long term and frequent sick absence

For long-term sickness absence (any continuous absence of 28 days or longer), your line manager may request to visit you at home.

For long-term sickness absence or frequent periods of sickness absence, the Company may request a medical report from your GP or consultant or alternatively request that you visit a doctor selected by the Company to undergo a medical examination. The Company will meet the cost of any such report or examination and you are required to co-operate in the obtaining and disclosure of all results and reports to the Company. The Company will only request you to undergo a medical examination where reasonable to do so but your failure to co-operate without justifiable reason may result in disciplinary action being taken under the Company's disciplinary procedure.

On being fit to return to work, you must contact your line manager and let them know as far in advance as possible of the proposed date of your return.

Persistent short-term sickness absence is, in the absence of any underlying medical condition or other reasonable excuse, a disciplinary matter and will be dealt with in accordance with the Companys disciplinary procedure.

Any employee who has been absent due to sickness and is found not to have been genuinely unwell may be subject to disciplinary action, which could include dismissal.

Company Sick Pay

Payment of Company Sick Pay will be made on a sliding scale depending on length of service and sickness period. For more details please see the Sickness pay provision policy.

The Company reserves the right to withhold sick pay in circumstances where the certification procedure described above has not been followed or where there is sufficient reason to doubt the validity of your sickness absence claim. In the latter circumstances, the Company may request you to undergo a medical examination by a doctor selected by it.

This policy [does not] form[s] part of your terms and conditions of employment.

Version: [1.0]

Issue date: [date]

Author: [name, job title]

This is a preview. Access to the remainder requires a purchase.

£ 9

Get much more with our
Absence and attendance policy bundle:
Sick absence policy
sick absence policy