UCL News


Some health habits deserve to stay

30 June 2021

Be a hero and avoid the risk of infecting others – stay home if you feel unwell.

UCL quad with social distancing signage

The pandemic has taught us to take community health more seriously and to recognise that we all have a personal responsibility to avoid passing infections onto others.

When we are feeling unwell, we often want to be a ‘hero’ and travel into to work even if we are poorly. This now more than ever needs to change, and we want to reinforce that staff at UCL must not come into campus if they are feeling unwell. If you have an illness that allows you to still work from home, perhaps a cold for example, discuss with your line manager about home working if you were due to be on site and/or working flexibly.

If you feel unwell and cannot attend campus you must inform your line manager at the start of your working day and provide additional information such as the anticipated length of absence and any important or urgent work that needs to be covered. For more information please see UCL's Sickness Absence Policy.

If you have concerns about your health, contact your GP for advice or NHS 111 if you have an urgent medical problem and are not sure what to do.

Good management requires line managers to record all periods of sickness absence, including any part days on MyHR. Recording sickness absence is important because, as an employer, we have a duty of care to our staff as well as legal responsibilities. UCL is required to maintain accurate records of all sickness absence taken by staff and report this as a requirement under HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) rules. In addition to this, it is vital information for a manager to plan cover for work whilst you are absent and to check for patterns of ill-health that could highlight possible work-related causes, or the onset of a disability.

  • If you have symptoms of COVID-19, please self-isolate and follow the step-by-step guides for staff and students about how to request a test from the NHS.

To help keep each other safe, please do regular LFT tests using the home test kits, twice weekly if you’re working fulltime on campus. You can also use UCL's testing facility, based at Bidborough House, or local COVID testing facilities – find out more on our Symptom-free Testing webpage. Please also let UCL know, in confidence, all your test results – whether positive or negative – through Connect to Protect so UCL can support you and advise you on any appropriate health protection measure, such as isolation or to undertake contact tracing on campus in partnership with NHS Track and Trace. Having testing data also allows us to reassure more vulnerable members of our community that asymptomatic testing is taking place.

In addition to taking sick leave if you are feeling unwell it is also really important for employees to take the annual leave we are entitled to. Everybody needs a break to relax and unwind from work even if we are mostly limited to being in the UK. This time allows us to spend time with loved ones, concentrate on hobbies and will allow us a better work life balance so life is more enjoyable and rewarding. In the long run, it is beneficial for the employee and the employer alike because it helps to reduce ill-health and therefore absenteeism and supports you in feeling energised and productive whilst at work. Guidance on the UCL annual leave policy can be found on the HR website.

Each department is 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. Please do ensure that you have appropriate authorisations for any absences from work and that these are recorded on MyHR.

UCL Workplace Health
July 2021