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Other Clergy Procedures

Clergy Sickness Absence & 'Fit notes'

Clergy should notify their Rural Dean when they are unable to fulfil their normal duties due to ill health who will discuss what duties, if any, should be undertaken. Where the absence continues for seven days or longer, a doctor's certificate, or sick note will be required.

The Social Security (Medical Evidence) Regulations 2010 and the Statutory Sick Pay (Medical Evidence) (Amendment) Regulations 2010 came into force on 6 April 2010 and introduce the new “fit notes” for use by GPs.
Fit notes will replace the current sick notes. Therefore, clergy absent through sickness for longer than seven days will receive so-called ‘fit notes' instead of sick notes from their GPs. Doctors will still be able to say someone is not fit for work, but they will also be able to spell out those aspects of jobs that workers can still perform. The new regime applies across the United Kingdom.

The aim of fit notes is to enable more employees to stay in work and to give improved advice to employers to help absent workers to be able to return to work.
GPs will be able to certify that a worker ‘may be fit for work' and employers should carry out a risk assessment to ensure that the worker is fit for work. In this situation, the clergyperson should discuss the GP's advice with the Rural Dean to see if a return to work is possible, taking into account the effects of the illness or injury. Options might generally include:

  • a phased return to work;
  • altered hours;
  • amended duties; or
  • workplace adaptations.

The GP will also provide general details of the functional effect of the individual's condition. The employer is not obliged to act on the GP's advice in a 'may be fit for work' statement.

If it is possible for the clergyperson to return to work, the Rural Dean, in conjunction with advice from the HR department, should agree with the clergyperson how this will happen, what support the clergyperson will receive and how long the support will last. If they agree that it is not possible for the clergyperson to return to work immediately, it will not be necessary for the clergyperson to get a further fit note from the GP.

The maximum duration of a fit note will be three months during the first six months of a medical condition and six months thereafter.

Where a person is assessed by his or her GP as ‘not fit for work', the clergyperson should send the GP's note to Church House as evidence that they cannot work because of ill-health. The diocese will then use it to arrange sick pay.

Clergy Sickness Policy & Procedure
The Diocese of Chester will do all they can to support the clergy during periods of absence and to provide help and guidance for their return to work.The document sets out the Diocese’s policy on sickness absence, and the accompanying procedure sets out the process of reporting absence and dealing with clergy absences.
Clergy Sickness Policy and Procedure

Dignity at Work and in Church Life – Maintaining Positive Relationships

The Church is required by God to foster relationships of integrity, truthfulness and trustworthiness. The abuse of this obligation by harassment or bullying will not be tolerated in the Diocese as it undermines the love we should demonstrate for each other and our Christian witness to the world. However infrequently it happens, therefore, all complaints of abuse, harassment and bullying will be taken seriously and thoroughly investigated.
The attached policy and procedure explains what should happen if there are complaints about bullying and harassment.
The Dignity at Work and in Church Life Policy and Procedure
The best way to stop bullying and harassment is to have a culture where any inappropriate behaviour is stopped quickly, and the church demonstrates welcoming and loving support to all who come though its doors.

Attached is a Resources Pack for use in a PCC or other meetings such as Deanery Synods to consider at how they behave in their relationships in church and to look at whether they need to take action to improve how they work together and support each other.

Lone working and personal safety

Clergy working alone will face similar risks to others, but the job can also carry additional risks and it is important that sensible precautions are taken and arrangements made to ensure that they are as safe as possible.

Guidelines on lone working and personal safety for Clergy

Guidelines for Assessing risk

For further information, please do not hesitate to contact Liz Geddes in the Human Resources department in Church House.


Social Media Policy

This policy provides guidance for clergy and DBF employees.

Social Media Policy




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Clergy Information
This information has been produced with the intention of providing advice and help on a range of practical issues regarding your ministry and informing you about the support and services available within the Diocese.