Contacting HR

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Tel: +44 020 7679 1843

Recording of Absence from Work

Provost's introduction

1.1      At UCL everyone is encouraged to take annual leave regularly and maintain a healthy work life balance. For those who need them, there are provisions for flexible working, maternity/paternity/adoption leave, sabbatical leave, special leave and sick leave. Relatively new employment regulations now prescribe the handling of annual leave during periods of sickness absence and employers are required to report any unauthorised absence of staff who are the subject of a certificate of sponsorship from UCL. In order to ensure that staff are taking the leave due to them, that leave policies are applied consistently and that employment regulations are not breached, UCL needs better records of annual leave and sickness absence.

1.2     UCL aims to employ the best people in the world in a working environment that promotes creativity and innovation with no unnecessary bureaucracy, but we must also operate fairly and protect staff - and UCL corporately - from legal liability.

2.     Management Responsibilities

2.1     Working patterns and location vary between staff groups and across departments. Staff work in a manner which is most suited to their role and the achievement of their objectives and for some staff this means a degree of personal autonomy regarding where they work and when. Managers are responsible for agreeing work patterns and ensuring that all leave is authorised and recorded.

2.3     UCL as an employer has a duty of care to its staff and legal responsibilities as an employer. Departments therefore need to know if staff are on leave and how to contact them if working off site, in order to ensure that staff are not bothered with unwanted contact while on leave enable departments to ensure business continuity in unforeseen situations such as a power failure, fire or flood which affect UCL buildings respond to the (thankfully quite rare) situations when an individual has a accident on the way to work or while travelling on UCL business and meet UK Border Agency requirements.

Each department is therefore responsible for ensuring that it knows who is taking annual leave and sick leave on any particular working day and how to contact those working off site.

2.4     Sickness absence records must be kept for all staff using MyView. Comprehensive annual leave records must also be kept by every department and MyView is available to departments which wish to use it for that purpose. Where staff do not have access to a computer, managers will update MyView with these records

2.5     In the unusual event that an employee is absent from work, they cannot be contacted and the reasons for their absence is unknown, the department must contact the Human Resources Consultancy team to discuss management of the issue, normally within 72 hours at the latest. Advice will be given on how the absence should be handled and each case will be dealt with in light of individual circumstances.

3.     Employee responsibilities

3.1     All employees are required to provide UCL as their employer with their home address and phone number and to update any changes to their contact details. They are also asked to complete details of the person who they wish to be contacted in an emergency relating to them. This information is confidential and will be used in an emergency or to communicate with you should you be absent from work. Updating this information must be done through the MyView system which can be found at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/myview/. Staff without access to MyView should send their details under confidential cover to the HR Division which will update MyView on their behalf.

3.2     All employees are required to ensure they have appropriate authorisations for any absences from work, e.g.

Information on different types of flexible working is available at http://www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/work_life_balance.php

If employees are working off site for a day or more, e.g. sabbatical leave, home working, conference attendance or off site research, etc. it is their responsibility to ensure that if necessary they have authorisation from their line manager and that their department knows how to contact them.

Many departments use UCL's electronic diary system which is available to assist individuals in managing their time, to enable easy arrangement of meetings and to allow colleagues to locate each other when they are not in their office or lab. In departments where electronic diaries are not maintained, staff must inform relevant colleagues in their department if they are working off site for any length of time.

4.      HR Responsibilities

4.1     The HR Consultancy team will advise in cases of personal emergency or unauthorised absence. In a case of unauthorised absence the HR Consultancy team will attempt to contact the employee to ascertain reasons for the absence and will offer support to the individual if necessary.

4.2     In the unlikely event that an employee with a certificate of sponsorship takes unauthorised absence for more than 10 days, the HR Consultancy team is responsible for notifying the UK Border Agency in line with UCL's licensed sponsor obligations.

Equality implications

5.1     It is important that records of sick leave and annual leave are maintained accurately and consistently for all staff as they inform leave entitlement and pay. Failure to keep accurate sick leave and annual leave records for all staff would mean that some staff may be over or underpaid, which is unacceptable to UCL. It is important that all staff groups are treated similarly regarding the recording of absence from work, leave entitlement and sick pay.

HR Division

July 2010