Policy on covering programme staff absences


The successful operation of the Lancaster Doctorate in Clinical Psychology depends on an appropriate number of well-trained staff to deliver across the range of its activity domains, for example, teaching, placement visiting, research support, administration and management. Occasionally prolonged staff absences will occur and these need to be managed to make sure the operation of the programme is not disproportionately affected. This document outlines the policies and procedures to deal with staff absences on a short- and longer-term basis.

Staff sick leave of up to two working weeks

Where staff consider than their absence from work will be less than one working week, then their line manager (either the Programme Director, the Clinical Director or the Programme Administrator) will arrange for their appointments to be cancelled and those also attending the meetings informed. Where a meeting cannot be cancelled, the line manager will arrange a suitable replacement attendance. Where the absence is of the Programme Director, Clinical Director or Programme Administrator, another Director will make replacement arrangements. Any other commitments which have to be completed during the member of staff's leave which cannot be easily rearranged (such as taking minutes, providing signatures for forms, etc) will be re-allocated by the line manager, with the contingency arrangements as outlined above.

Staff sick leave of more than two working weeks

Where it is likely that staff will be away for more than two weeks then activities of that staff member will be reallocated on a more permanent basis. This is to avoid the inappropriate build-up of work and for staff not be faced with a back log on their return. The reallocation will be organised by the member of staff's line manager with the contingency arrangements as outlined above.

Staff on maternity leave and other planned longer term leave (e.g. sabbatical)

Where staff go on maternity leave or other planned longer term leave then arrangements to cover absences are likely to be able to be made well in advance of the leave period. It is the programme's policy for maternity leave absences to be covered by short term appointments (including a period of overlap when the person on maternity leave returns) and this has happened in recent years. For sabbatical cover, as additional funding is not available, then the responsibilities of that member of staff are distributed to other staff members for the sabbatical leave period and in line with the university's policy on sabbatical leave.

Staff returning from longer leave periods

It is accepted that for staff returning from periods of leave - either sick leave, maternity leave or study leave - that a period of readjustment is likely to be necessary. For staff returning from long term sick leave an occupational health referral could have been made before the person returns. If a phased return to work has been recommended as part of the occupational health report, this will be arranged by the line manager. For staff returning from sabbatical or maternity leave, then a staged handover will be arranged so staff are not expected to retake all of their previous responsibilities immediately upon return.

Ensuring the availability of appropriate cover

All programme staff work in specific teams and each of these teams is managed by either a Director or the Programme Administrator. As staff's current and more longer-term responsibilities are known to their line manager through the regular management processes, their line manager is in an informed position to be able to organise the redistribution of these if this become necessary.

As well as making sure that knowledge is distributed throughout the staff team and does not rest with one individual, the programme is committed to increasing the resources available when levels of staffing fall. One example of this is its employment of staff on a temporary basis to do specific tasks.

Lancaster University policy on sabbatical leave