All our associates are entitled not to be subjected to any type of unfavourable treatment because of a long-term illness.

For long-term absences that may be considered a disability, you should refer to the Disability module by clicking here.

Health and Safety During Serious Illness

If the duties of a seriously ill associate are in any way likely to cause them harm, steps must be taken to remove or reduce the risks. Specifically, consideration must be given to whether it is necessary to:

  • adjust the associates working hours if they are normally employed on night work and removal from night working has been recommended by their doctor
  • remove the associate from any duties that might pose a risk to health or safety; transfer them to an alternative role - which must be on terms and conditions not substantially less favourable than those of the usual role, unless they specifically request this course of action in writing; or
  • whether there are any reasonable adjustments which can be made to support the associate in providing the services during the period of illness

Time Off Work for Medical Appointments

Huntswood’s approach to time off for medical appointments is that an associate can take time off work on medical advice to attend such appointments, although they may be asked to make the time up. Appointments should preferably be made for the start or end of the working day.

Associates should contact either the umbrella company through which they are engaged or their PSC to discuss arrangements for pay.

Extended Absence

An individual who is not an employee has no entitlement to ‘sick leave’, nor is there an automatic right to return to the role that they are contracted to following a long-term absence.

An umbrella associate may be eligible to receive statutory sick pay from their umbrella company if they have the required length of service.

Please refer them to their umbrella company for further information.

PSC/Ltd. company associates should be referred to the Department for Work and Pensions -


Generally, Huntswood’s approach is that associates are treated as a leaver and the contract is terminated when they take extended absence due to long-term illness. Occasionally, the services will be ‘suspended’ and the contract will continue to run. Any discussions in relation to this should involve the EM/SDM and be with their agreement.

If/when they make contact following a period of absence and wish to reengage, if the client contract is still running and there are roles available we will discuss their return to the engagement. It may not be possible to return to the same working patterns or role.


  • When receiving a request to take a break for long-term absence due to an illness you must refer to the EM/SDM, who will discuss this with the client
  • Tell the associate if they are contracted through an umbrella company they should be referring to the umbrella company to notify of the absence as soon as practicable to ensure the umbrella company, as the employer, takes the necessary steps
  • Reiterate that
    • Huntswood through the EM/SDM may consider suspending the services for an agreed period
    • They may be able to return if there is a vacancy and the contract with the client is still running
  • Ask
    • What can be done to support them
    • Whether their doctor has recommended anything
    • If there is anything else that can be done where adjustments have been made but there are service delivery issues
  • If applicable, arrange a DSE assessment
  • Seek advice from Legal, via the Huntswood EM/SDM, where:
    • There are exceptions
    • The service cannot be delivered and reasonable adjustments have been made
  • Document by email EM/DSM:
    • That the illness has been disclosed
    • Every conversation
    • Any reasonable adjustments that have been agreed where appropriate


  • Ask for evidence or a sick note
  • Reach a verbal agreement on “sick leave”
  • Have discussions regarding returning to work or their role

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