Accurate recording of COVID-19 absences

COVID-19 training

The accurate recording of COVID-19 sickness and self-isolation absences is necessary to ensure the impact on the health system can be accurately monitored throughout the pandemic. In addition, supplementary COVID-19 funding is linked to the accurate recording of absences, as set out in the COVID-19 workforce guidance and ESR’s user notice UN2864, published in March 2020.

It has come to light that some employers are not correctly recording COVID-19 related absences. Where organisations have not correctly followed these steps, it is possible that this will have a detrimental impact on the amount additional funding they are likely to receive.

What should employers do?

Organisations are encouraged to ensure all parties who undertake the recording of absence understand the process for correct entry into the system. For ESR this can be found in the COVID-19 workforce guidance or the ESR user notice UN2864 and UN2915. Where third party systems, such as Rostering and Time and Attendance systems are used, they will need to ensure the correct data is entered to transfer to ESR via the appropriate interfaces.


Particular care should be taken to ensure the correct allocation of the related reason against a COVID-19 sickness or self-isolation absence. The ESR COVID-19 resource hub has a suite of supporting step-by-step guides for organisations, including a factsheet for COVID-19 absence recording.


Organisations are encouraged to undertake a review of their entries to ensure all sickness and self-isolation absences have been recorded correctly. Where required, these can be amended in ESR against the appropriate absence record.  

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