UCL Human Resources


Leave and absences related to coronavirus

Information on how to report leave and absences related to the coronavirus, and FAQS on sickness absence, eligibility for special leave and annual leave.

Reporting leave and absence 

How to update MyHR

In the guides below please see a series of illustrated screenshots which explain how to:

  • Register sickness as a result of Coronavirus/ Covid-19 symptoms as paid leave
  • Approve, decline or request information about a request for paid leave for sickness absence related to Coronavirus/ Covid-19
  • Request special leave for Coronavirus/ Covid-19 reasons
  • Approve, decline or request information about a request for Covid-19-related special leave
  • Request carer’s leave in order to manage additional caring responsibilities during the current pandemic
  • Approve, decline or request information about a request for carer’s leave

Please note, anyone on furlough leave will have this recorded on their behalf on MyHR by HR Services.

Information for managers and administrators

View a step by step guide on how to manage and report absences related to the outbreak of coronavirus.

Frequently asked questions

Sickness absence

If I am unwell and unable to work as a result of having Covid-19-related symptoms, do I need to tell UCL?

Any member of UCL staff (not on furlough leave) who is unwell and is experiencing symptoms which indicate a need to self-isolate, should tell their line manager by email or phone. They should also complete the Workplace Health form and make sure that their sickness absence is registered under the ‘Sick leave related to Coronavirus’ category within paid leave on MyHR. See Guide A for employee self-service for a step-by-step guide on how to do this.

If I’m off sick with Covid-19-related symptoms, will this prompt sickness/ absence management procedures to be started?

Sickness absence for coronavirus will not count towards the number of days which would trigger a formal process for managing absence under our usual policy. This is why you need to record such sickness absence as paid leave, see the MyHR employee self-service guide on how to do this.

If I’m off sick because of Covid-19, can my pay be reduced as a result?

Any Coronavirus-related sickness is not to be counted as absence towards any sickness absence entitlements which could result in an employee’s pay being reduced to either half or nil pay. Full pay for all Coronavirus-related sickness absence will be made, regardless of length of service or sick pay status. 

What if I am off sick for reasons not related to Covid-19? Has anything changed?

Anyone not on furlough leave who needs to take sick leave for reasons unrelated to Covid-19, should follow the principles set out in the UCL Sickness Absence Policy. All such absences should be recorded in the usual way, with records being held securely by the department and a record being kept via MyHR under the appropriate category.

Special leave

If I’m working remotely, how will my pay be affected?

If you have to base yourself off-campus and are working remotely, you will be paid as normal.

What if I am unable to work remotely?

If you or someone you manage will be unable to work on the campus but cannot work from home, the person affected may be entitled to request ‘paid special leave’. Examples of those eligible for special leave in this context include:

  • Those whose jobs are not suitable for remote working due to the nature of the work undertaken in the role (unless other work is available for them to do at home)
  • Those who cannot arrange the necessary technical facilities to work from home (although all reasonable efforts should be made to do so in liaison with your ISD contact or through accessing the self-service portal)
  • Those who are unable to work from home for other genuine operational reasons (such as the unavailability of supervision from a line manager due to that person’s illness)
Requests for this type of special leave should be made via the ‘Special leave related to Coronavirus as unable to work remotely’ category through MyHR. For information on how to submit and respond to all such requests, see our guides for managers, administrators and employee self-service.
What if I have additional caring responsibilities during the current Covid-19 outbreak, as a result of the schools being closed and needing to support or shield an older or disabled person?

Staff may need to work at different times of the day or request a reduction in their working hours if they have additional caring responsibilities or are shielding someone as a result of the current outbreak. Any such agreed changes in working hours and patterns will not result in a reduction in pay if this is because of the current outbreak.

Anyone who is shielding and self-isolating for 12 weeks on NHS advice, will be supported to work remotely but will not be asked to return to normal working whilst they are doing so.

Those with additional child or other caring responsibilities may also request to use carer’s leave, if these responsibilities mean that they are unable to work from home. Managers and administrators should use their discretion and flexibility in agreeing with the employee concerned, an appropriate period of carer’s leave. Please note that during the current outbreak, the maximum five day period for carer’s leave within a twelve month period does not apply. In addition, all such authorised carer’s leave will be paid. Some qualifying staff in this situation may be placed on furlough leave.

For information on how to submit and respond to all such requests, see our guides for managers, administrators and employee self-service

Annual leave 

Should I continue to take my annual leave during the current outbreak?

Please continue to take your annual leave as planned, even if you are working remotely or on furlough leave. We want to make sure our staff are well-rested and can still achieve a good work-life balance.

For information on how to submit a request, see the MyHR webpages

However, please be aware of the implications of quarantine if you choose to travel abroad

The Government has eased restrictions on the carry-over of statutory leave, can I now carry forward more than five days’ annual leave?

You should continue to take your annual leave as planned, even if you are working remotely or on furlough leave and are unable to take a holiday in the traditional way. UCL wants to make sure that staff are well-rested and can still achieve a good work-life balance.

In recognition of the additional pressures placed upon staff during the current period, UCL has relaxed the rules concerning the amount of leave that can be carried over to next year’s allocation. The University has increased the maximum number of days that can be carried forward from this annual leave period to the next, from five to seven (pro-rata for part-time staff). This applies to all staff, whether working remotely, on campus or placed on furlough leave.

All such leave carried over should be used within the next leave year. Staff who are restricted in the amount of annual leave they are able to take before 1st October because they are required by their line manager to work throughout this period, may exceptionally carry forward as many days as they need into the next annual leave year, with the prior approval of their line manager. Managers are encouraged to allow these staff to take some annual leave in order to rest and maintain their well-being. This is a one-off decision for this year only. There is no change to UCL’s standard Annual Leave Policy.