This section contains information on annual leave and sickness absence procedures during the coronavirus pandemic.

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Annual leave

Sickness absence

Annual leave

We all need to take time to recuperate and recharge, which is particularly important during this time. Staff should continue to take their annual leave in the usual way, including aiming to take all remaining annual leave by the end of the current leave year and not cancelling any leave already scheduled.  

For staff taking annual leave overseas

If you decide to travel overseas on annual leave, please be aware that from 8 June new rules are in place. You will be required to do the following when re-entering the UK:

  • You will need to provide your journey and contact details to the government by way of an online form before you travel to the UK.
  • Remain in self-isolation in the place you are staying for the first 14 days you are in the UK, except in very limited situations.

You should check the latest Government border advice before you travel.

You will need to ensure that you have booked sufficient annual leave to cover the period of self-isolating period or have agreed with your Manager to work from home. You should also check whether your destination country has self-isolating restrictions in place and plan your leave accordingly.

Carrying forward leave

In the event that it is not practicable for you to utilise all of your annual leave in the current leave year, the following exceptional and temporary carry forward arrangements have been put in place in response to the current COVID-19 situation: 

1. If you that cannot take all of your leave entitlement by the end of the current leave year due to circumstances related to coronavirus you will be entitled to carry forward any leave remaining at the end of the current leave year (2019/2020), to use by the end of the leave year 2021/2022. This provision was brought in by the Government as a temporary COVID-19 measure and applies specifically to: 

  • Staff that have been asked to defer annual leave to undertake critical coronavirus-related research and, as a result, do not have the opportunity to take all remaining annual leave before the end of the current leave year. 
  • Staff that have had to take sick leave as a result of coronavirus. 

2. Where the above does not apply, you are encouraged to utilise your annual leave in the current leave year wherever possible, so that they can benefit from the break from work. However, in light of the current COVID-19 situation the University has agreed an exceptional and temporary increase to current carry forward provisions, which allows the carry forward of up to 10 days of untaken annual leave from the current leave year (2019/2020) into the next leave year (2020/2021). Any carry over should be prorated in the normal way. 

Given that the above arrangements are likely to result in an increased number of staff carrying forward leave than usual, you are asked to discuss annual leave plans with your manager at the earliest opportunity. Managers will need to ensure that annual leave requests are managed within teams in a fair and equitable way and planned around business critical needs. 

If you are asked to defer your annual leave 

Some staff may be asked to defer annual leave during this time to enable business-critical functions to continue to operate during this period and/or to assist in the effort to combat COVID-19. If this is the case, your line manager will discuss this with you. 

Where annual leave is deferred at the request of the University, the University will pay any reasonable costs incurred as a result of the cancellation of leave where these cannot otherwise be recovered (for example through your travel insurance). For full details of reimbursement see the University’s Expenses Policy: Additional Measures During Coronavirus Outbreak. 

Any staff asked to defer annual leave should discuss and agree with their line manager when the accrued annual leave can be taken in the future. Please also see the section Carrying forward leave.

If you are sick with coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms when you have annual leave booked 

You should report your sickness absence to your manager as soon as possible. You will be able to take the annual leave at another time, although you should aim to book all remaining annual leave by the end of the current leave year wherever possible. Please also see the section Carrying forward leave. 


Sickness Absence

If you are sick with diagnosed or suspected coronavirus (COVID-19)

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (Covid-19) you should self-isolate at home for at least 7 days from when the symptoms started and not return to work.  Your absence will be treated as sick leave and you should follow the University’s standard sickness absence reporting procedure. You should not, under any circumstance, enter University buildings.

Under Government guidelines you should also ask for a test online or phone to arrange a test by calling 119. As a University or College member of staff with symptoms, you also have access to a dedicated testing service offered in partnership with Addenbrooke’s Hospital. For further information please visit the Health and Wellbeing website.  After 7 days, or longer, if you still have symptoms other than cough or loss of sense of smell/taste, you must continue to self-isolate until you feel better. It is your responsibility to notify your line manager if you test positive for COVID-19.

If you live with someone who has coronavirus symptoms but you remain well, you must remain at home for 14 days.  Your line manager will explore with you whether you can work from home during this period.  If working from home in your normal role is not possible you could be given alternative duties.

Please provide your line manager with your coronavirus test result. You will not be required to provide a GP fit note after 7 days of sickness. However, you should continue to keep your Department informed and regularly updated about your health.

Government’s ‘Test and Trace scheme’

If you are contacted by the NHS Test and Trace team, you may be asked to isolate for 14 days and under these circumstances you should not return to the workplace, even if you have not been sick. You may be required to do this on more than one occasion if told to do so by the NHS. During the isolation period you will remain on full pay.

If you are sick with an illness not related to coronavirus (COVID-19)

You should follow the sickness absence reporting procedure as usual.

In accordance with the University’s Sickness Absence Policy, you should provide a GP fit note after 7 days of sickness. However, in the current circumstances, you might not be able to provide this straight away. If this is the case, please continue to keep your Department informed and regularly updated about your health. As soon as it is possible, you should provide the required documentation.