Absence from work

  1. Adoptive / Parental Leave
  2. Blood Donors
  3. Compassionate Leave
  4. Convalescence
  5. Disability
  6. Interviews
  7. Jury service / court witness
  8. Maternity Leave
  9. Paternity Leave
  10. Medical Screening
  11. "Private and Personal" ("P&P")
  12. Public Duties
  13. Sickness: Certification
  14. Sick Pay
  15. Trade Union Duties

Absence Policy for Schools in Suffolk

Latest Guidance from HR online (G25 2011)


Suffolk NUT Leaflet:
When Working at School Makes you Ill

Sickness Absence

  1. Uncertificated Sickness: if you are absent due to illness for up to three days you are not required to provide a certificate of any kind. You must however inform the school in good time for cover and other arrangements to be made before the start of each school school day affected.
  2. Self-Certificated Absence: for absences of four or more but less than eight days, you are required to complete a self-certification form covering all the days on which they have been absent. The form is available from your school.
  3. Medically statemented sickness: If you are absent for more than eight consecutive days, you must get a medical note or statement signed by your doctor and send this in to school as soon as practicable. If you remain ill when the note expires, you must ask your doctor for another note. If absence is going to be for a prolonged period (weeks or months) you should contact the Union for further advice.

Sick Pay

Teachers will receive full pay when off sick up to the following maximum periods:

Length of Service Extent of Sick Pay
on appointment to first teaching post: full pay for 25 working days
after 4 calendar months' service full pay for 25 working days plus
half pay for 50 working days
after 12 calendar months' service full pay for 50 working days plus
half pay for 50 working days
after 2 years' service full pay for 75 working days plus
half pay for 75 working days.
after 3 years service full pay for 100 working days plus
half pay for 100 working days.

Important: the count of days of paid sick leave is made in financial years and so is re-set every April 1st. (i.e. returns to zero if you are at work on April 1st. However, if you are ill on both March 31st and April 1st then the count of days' leave continues and is not re-set to zero.

SICK PAY should be extended for absences arising from accidents, injury or assault at work. Details of the regulations are in the Burgundy Book. The NUT has negotiated with the LEA a procedure for determining whether an injury was caused at or by work as a teacher in cases of stress and emotional injury, etc.  Procedure to determine industrial injury in disputed cases.  

Sick leave can end during a school holiday, in which case normal full pay will be reinstated from the date that you are certified fit to work. The exception to this is if you are declared unfit again so that you unable to start the next term at work.

Working days include Professional Development Days. Members who suffer an absence of more than a few weeks would be well advised to inform the Local NUT Secretaries of the circumstances.


The sick pay regulations do not recognise "Light Duties" or other ways of reducing the workload when returning after a long illness. However, it is often possible to negotiate special arrangements for short periods to assist with rehabilitation. It is usually advisable to negotiate a therapeutic return (i.e. visits to the school while still on sick pay) and/or phased return (easing in to your full normal timetable commitments, while on full pay). Contact the NUT for information and assistance.


Special provisions apply for teachers who need to be absent on occasions because of a disability (e.g.. for regular treatment, rest times, etc.). This is covered by the Disability Discrimination Act and there may be Access Funding to assist. Contact the NUT for information and assistance.

Maternity Leave:

There are statutory provisions. The NUT publishes up-to-date information for pregnant teachers, available on the National NUT website. Individual advice can be obtained from the Regional Office in Newmarket, (office hours: Tel.: 01638 555300, FAX: 01638 555330). There are also provisions to allow pregnant teachers to attend ante-natal classes.

Leave of Absence

Sick Leave and Maternity Leave are governed by National Regulations.

Leave of absence for other reasons may be granted by the Headteacher acting on behalf of the Governors. This can lead to differences between schools and sometimes requires Union advice. Should this happen, contact the Division Secretary.

Get it in writing!

Members are advised to make sure that all leave of absence is recorded in writing before leave is taken, giving the extent of the period granted, with dates. This avoids any misunderstandings which could lead to difficulties if relying on "word of mouth".

Statutory Leave of Absence

In addition to the above LOCAL conditions of service, there is a scheme which ensures that Suffolk LEA employees receive statutory time off for specific duties. Further details are available from the NUT.

These duties include "Public Duties" such as:

  1. a Justice of the Peace
  2. a member of a District or County Council or the Broads Authority
  3. a member of a statutory tribunal or a board of prison visitors
  4. a member of the National Rivers Authority.
  5. a member of the National Health Service Trust
  6. A Health Authority
  7. a Family Practitioner Committee

For such duties a maximum of 15.5 paid days leave and 10 unpaid days leave is allowed for teachers (who do not normally attend work at school during the school holidays).

Other duties for which time off is a statutory requirement include attendance at meetings of a Governing Body or Committees as a school or college governor. In this case, payment is at the discretion of the governing body of the school at which the teacher is employed.

Time off with pay is also normally granted for:

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