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Paid Sick Leave Policy for Funded Research Students

With effect from 1 October 2019, updated 13 October 2020

UKRI COVID-19 Addendum

Where a UKRI funded student is unable to study on campus or at home because they are ill with COVID-19 or a COVID-related condition (for example increased mental health issues due to lockdown), or because they are shielding, they may request paid sick leave for up to a maximum total of 196 calendar days (28 weeks) in any rolling 12 month period following the current policy.

While signed medical certification as described below continues to be preferable, the University recognises that during the pandemic this is not always possible to obtain, and will accept typed or electronic signatures, emailed confirmation of the condition from a relevant medical or counselling* professional, positive COVID test results or shielding letters as evidence for a sick pay claim.

*Wellbeing Services are unable to provide medical certification for the purposes of this policy.

Introduction | Eligiblity Criteria | How to Claim | Temporary Withdrawal | Student Visas | Process
Introduction
    1. This policy relates to the payment of stipends during periods of absence covered by medical certification and applies to full-time and part-time research students who receive a maintenance stipend funded by the University of Warwick or a UK Research Council.

    2. Research students who are also members of staff of the university should follow the appropriate HR policy for staff.

    3. Eligible students may receive stipend payments at their current rate from their current source of funding for any period of absence covered by a medical certificate to a maximum of 91 calendar days (13 weeks) in any rolling 12 month period. This applies from the point of initial enrolment on their programme, until the end of the funding period. They will also receive an extension to their funding period of the same duration.

    4. Absences that are not covered by a medical certificate are not eligible for paid sick leave or a subsequent funded extension.

    Student Eligibility Criteria
      1. Full-time and part-time research students who receive a monthly maintenance stipend funded by the University of Warwick or a UK Research Council are entitled to receive stipend payments during a period of sick leave.

      2. Postgraduate taught students who are funded by a UK Research Council Training Grant are also entitled to receive stipend payments as per this policy.

      3. Research students who receive a funded stipend from an external organisation or an external award administered through the University of Warwick must follow the regulations of their funder. If the funder does not provide additional money to fund periods of sick leave, the University is not liable to provide any payment.

      4. Students in receipt of awards covering tuition fees only are not eligible to receive any payment during periods of sick leave.

      5. Students in unfunded periods of study are not eligible to receive additional stipend payments due to sick leave.

      6. Part-time or part-funded students should expect to receive any payments to which they are entitled on a pro-rata basis.

      How to Claim Paid Sick Leave
      1. Eligible students who wish to continue to receive stipend payments during a period of sick leave must complete a Sick Pay Form and provide the University with appropriate medical certification.

      2. Students must always inform their academic supervisor and/or department/CDT/DTP of any period of absence. This is in addition to completing the Sick Pay Form.

      3. Requests for sick pay may be made retrospectively by up to 28 calendar days (four weeks).

      4. Medical certification must be signed (electronic signatures are accepted), in English, cover the entire duration of the period of sick leave (self-certification will be accepted for the first 7 calendar days) and must explicitly state the start date and duration of the absence. Accepted medical certification includes:

        • A fully completed and signed NHS Fit Note Med 3 form,

        • A fully completed and signed Warwick Medical Certificate,

        • A signed letter on headed paper from a relevant medical professional.

      5. Where an absence specifically relates to a disability that is formally disclosed to the University, additional medical certification is not required to be provided. Requests for paid sick leave that relate to a disclosed disability will be considered in conjunction with any Reasonable Adjustments already in place through Disability Services. Absences that are unrelated to a disclosed disability will require medical certification as described.

      6. In the case of short-term, self-limiting illnesses that are not covered by a medical certificate the stipend will continue to be paid as normal and no funded extension will be provided.

      7. Extensions to a period of sick leave will be paid on the provision of additional medical certification up to a maximum of 91 calendar days (13 weeks) in a rolling 12 month period. Additional requests should be submitted by completing an additional Sick Pay Form with concurrent start dates and durations on all medical certificates.

      8. Periods of sick leave beyond 91 calendar days (13 weeks) in a 12 month period will be unfunded.

      Temporary Withdrawal
        1. Single occurrences of sick leave of less than 28 calendar days (four weeks) do not require a formal Temporary Withdrawal.

        2. If a period of sick leave is 29 calendar days (four weeks) or longer, the student must apply for Temporary Withdrawal (Health) via Student Records Online covering the entire absence period, complete with all medical evidence (self-certification will be accepted for the first 7 calendar days). This is in addition to completing the Sick Pay Form. If a Temporary Withdrawal (Health) Request is not submitted, the funded extension period will be capped at 28 days and subsequent stipend payments may cease or be recalled.

        3. Students who request a Temporary Withdrawal without submitting a completed Sick Pay Form will have stipend payments stopped and any overpayments recalled.
        Student Visas and ATAS Clearance
        1. In all cases, advice should be sought from the Immigration and Compliance Team as early as possible to ensure compliance with the student visa is maintained.

        2. Where a student is sponsored by the University under a UKVI Student Visa, they may be able to request a period of Authorised Absence as opposed to taking a formal temporary withdrawal. Usually up to 42 calendar days of authorised absence within a single 12 month period will be permitted. This period of absence does not automatically grant an extension to registration - should an extension to registration be required, a period of Academic Extension must be requested.

        3. Where a Student Visa holder requires a formal temporary withdrawal, the University may need to withdraw sponsorship and for the student return to their home country for the duration of the withdrawal. In such cases, the student will thereafter need to apply to the University for a new CAS number in order to apply for a new visa to resume their studies.

        4. All requests for authorised absence or temporary withdrawal must be made at the earliest opportunity to permit time for approval of the request and to ensure travel home can be made following the report of the suspension to the UKVI.

        5. Students who require ATAS clearance will need to re-apply for an ATAS certificate following period of temporary withdrawal before resuming study.


        Paid Sick Leave Process

        If a student is eligible for sick pay under this policy the following process should be followed.

        Duration of sickness absence

        Required documentation

        Action

        up to 28 calendar days (up to 4 weeks)

        Medical certification must be obtained from a doctor

        • Student notifies their academic supervisor / department
        • Student completes PGR Sick Pay Form or PGT Sick Pay Form
        • Student continues to receive their monthly stipend payments for the period covered by the sick pay form
        • A funded extension period of the same duration is added to the studentship.

        29 to 91 calendar days (4 to 13 weeks)

        OR

        29 to 196 calendar days (4 to 28 weeks) if the student is funded by UKRI and the absence relates to COVID.

        Medical certification must be obtained from a doctor

        • Student notifies their academic supervisor / department
        • Student completes PGR Sick Pay Form or PGT Sick Pay Form
        • Student requests TWD (Health)
        • Student continues to receive their monthly stipend payments for the period covered by the sick pay form
        • A funded extension period of the same duration is added to the studentship.
        • Student submits a Resumption from Temporary Withdrawal before returning to study

        92 calendar days or more (+13 weeks)

        OR

        197 calendar days (+28 weeks) if the student is funded by UKRI and the absence relates to COVID.

        Medical Certification as acceptable under TWD for Health Reasons

        • Student notifies their academic supervisor / department
        • Student requests TWD (Health)
        • Stipend payments pause
        • Student submits a Resumption from Temporary Withdrawal before returning to study
        • Stipend payments will restart upon the student resuming active study.