COVID-19: Staff absences

The DfE have advised that staff absences should be recorded as: 

  1. Sickness if they are a confirmed case or a suspected case
  2. Other paid authorised absence if they are isolating
  3. Time off for dependent paid (this maps to Other paid authorised absence) or Time off for dependent unpaid (this maps to unpaid authorised absence) depending on the circumstances

Other absences

For staff who are absent for other reasons, such as furlough or refusing to attend, you will need to select the most appropriate absence category, for example, an Authorised or Unauthorised Absence. Please contact the DfE to confirm which absence category to use.


Once you know the type of absence you will need to record, see our article on adding a Staff Absence for how to add the absence. In Arbor, you should record absences as shown below:

  • If the staff member is self-isolating due to underlying health conditions, a member of their household is sick, or if they’ve been somewhere that puts them at risk Absence Category: Self-isolating, Sickness category: Leave blank, Sickness sub-category: Leave blank
  • If the school is closed Absence Category: Exceptional circumstances/school is closed, Sickness category: Leave blank, Sickness sub-category: Leave blank
  • If the staff member is a suspected case and they are self-isolating Absence Category: Sickness (Self-Certified), Sickness category: Cough, cold, flu, viral infection, Sickness sub-category: Coronavirus - COVID 19 (Symptoms)
  • If the staff member is a confirmed case Absence Category: Sickness (Medical Certified), Sickness category: Cough, cold, flu, viral infection, Sickness sub-category: Coronavirus - COVID 19 (Confirmed)

For example, for suspected cases:



You can report on these absences and take further action using the School > All Staff > Absences pages.



Working from home

If you want to record that a staff member is working from home, you can use our new 'Working from home' event type. This will mean the event shows in their calendar and they won't be shown as available when selecting staff for cover, and won't appear as free on the Timetable > Free Staff Finder page.

To see more details on managing events, including what permissions are needed, take a look at this article.

To add a period of working from home for multiple staff, you can do this right from your Arbor Dashboard with the right permissions - just click Quick Actions > Create event.



In the slide over, you'll see the new event type of Working from home, as well as a box where you can add multiple participants who will be working from home.



If you want to add a period of working from home for a single staff member, go to their Staff Profile and click the Calendar option from the left-hand menu. Click the slot when you want the working from home period to begin.



When adding the working from home event, you can choose to either create a one-off event or choose certain times the event will occur each day. We'd recommend the second option, as it allows you to schedule the event during term time only, and remove a single day's event from a participant's calendar if they come into the school for one day.



To see which of your staff are working from home, you can go to School > Timetable > All Events (List). Click the filters at the top of the page to untick every box except School events.


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