Coronavirus/Covid-19 Self-service sickness absence submission

Staff are now able to submit sickness absence and self-isolation absence relating to Coronavirus/Covid-19 via the HR Self Service system, using the functionality already in place for annual leave.

To help us to provide appropriate support and advice for staff wellbeing, it is important that managers are aware if any team members are sick or required to self-isolate. To ensure staff are able to notify us in a timely way you are now able to log this via HR Self Service.

For staff, this functionality will appear as additional absence types in the Create Leave Request screen, and for line managers these will appear and be able to be processed in the same manner as current annual leave entries, within the Leave Approval section of Manager Self Service:

ESS leave type options

This functionality should only be used by staff for absence relating to the current Coronavirus/Covid-19 outbreak – all other sickness absences should continue to be logged by administrators. 

Access from off-campus

Currently if you are off-campus you will need to access the Self Service system via Desktop Anywhere.

However, from Monday 6th April a preferred alternative route will be available, via Virtual Windows Desktop, which does not have the same licence restrictions as Desktop Anywhere. More information on this can be found here: (you may be asked to log in to view this link) 

We appreciate that given the volume of staff now being asked to work remotely, there may be temporary issues with accessing the service. Should anyone have difficulty self-logging their Covid-19-related absence they should email details of the absence directly to the Self Service inbox ( copying in their line manager. In these instances the absence will be logged by a team within HR.

When should these absence types be used?

1: Sickness Absence-Infectious Diseases

This should be used only if staff have become unwell and are displaying symptoms consistent with Coronavirus/Covid-19, and therefore are not able to work.

2: Self-isolate-WFH

This should be selected by staff if they are not unwell, are able to work from home but have been required to self-isolate in line with published Government guidelines (for example if a member of their household has become unwell).

To clarify, 2 will not be classified as sickness absence.

Guidance for staff:

  1. Log into HR Self-Service (if off-campus via Desktop Anywhere).
  2. Access Working Time > Create Leave Request screen.
  3. In the "Type of Leave" drop-down list, select "Sickness Absence" and allow the screen to update.
  4. In the "Description of Illness" field, click the button to the right of the field and select "Infectious Diseases" from the pop-up.
  5. Set your Start and End dates (please use a time period of 7 days for sickness i.e. you have symptoms consistent with Covid-19, and 14 days for self isolation i.e. someone in your household is displaying symptoms).
  6. Select your usual Processor for annual leave requests.
  7. Click "Send".

Please note:

  • If your sickness ends before the 7 day period has expired you can then log in and amend your sickness absence end date but you must record the remainder of the seven day period as self isolation.
  • If you are self isolating and become unwell you can then log in and amend your self-isolation end date and record your sickness start and end date.  From the start of your sickness absence there must be 7 days recorded as either sickness absence or self isolation, even if this then exceeds the original 14 day self isolation period.

For Line Managers:

These submissions can be approved in the same way as annual leave.

You are also able to enter the absence on behalf of your staff, providing they sit within your part of the organisational structure and you would usually approve annual leave for them, using the following process:

  1. Log into HR Self-Service (if off-campus via Desktop Anywhere).
  2. Access the Manager Self Service tab and enter the Team section from left-hand menu.
  3. Locate member of staff in Team list and click the button to the right of the individual’s name.
  4. Select "Time management on behalf of" > "Create Leave Request" (please ensure you have pop-ups allowed for this).
  5. In "Type of Leave" drop-down list, select "Sickness Absence".
  6. In "Description of Illness" field, click button to right of field and select "Infectious Diseases".
  7. Set the required Start and End dates (please use a time period of 7 days for sickness i.e. the member of staff has symptoms consistent with Covid-19, and 14 days for self isolation i.e. someone in their household is displaying symptoms).
  8. Select yourself as the Processor and click "Send".

Public Health England guidance for households with possible coronavirus (COVID-19) infection:

The PHE guidelines can be found at the link below. You may also find the diagram below useful for interpreting the guidelines in different scenarios.

Published on Wednesday 18th March 2020