Other Leave/ Time Off Policies
Time Off For Jury Service/Court Appearances
Members of staff who are called for jury service during normal working hours shall be granted the necessary time off work with full pay in order that they can fulfill their public duty. It is expected, however, that staff will claim for loss of earnings in order that the University can be reimbursed for this. Members of staff should follow the process detailed below when called for jury service:
- Advise their line manager as soon as possible that they have been called for jury service, and provide them with a copy of the jury citation letter;
- A formal request for leave should then made through Employee Self Service, and a copy of the citation letter and the loss of earnings form should be forwarded to Payroll as soon as possible;
- Payroll will complete, stamp and return the loss of earnings form in advance of the jury service, and will also include with this documentation a Payroll form titled ‘Jury/witness citation form’ which should be returned to Payroll once the member of staff has had their earnings reimbursed through the court system;
- Following the completion of the jury service, the loss of earnings form should be submitted to court for payment. (Payment, in the form of a cheque, will be made out to the member of staff and will be sent directly to their home address within 7 to 10 working days);
- On receiving the payment in lieu of loss of earnings, the member of staff should complete Payroll’s Jury/witness citation form and attach a photocopy of the cheque received. The completed form should be returned to Payroll within one week of having received the monies from court;
- As staff will continue to receive normal salary for the duration of the jury service, the payment made to them by the court in lieu of loss of earnings will be deducted from their next salary payment. (Please note, only payment for loss of earnings will be reclaimed by the University. Any expenses paid in relation to travel, subsistence etc will not be deducted from earnings as the court is simply refunding money already expended).
Other Court Appearances
- Witness: Members of staff who have been officially called as a witness (i.e. by court citation) to give evidence for a crime they have witnessed will be released from work in order that they can fulfil their public duty. As per jury service detailed above, claims for loss of earnings should be made through the court system. For further information on how claims should be made, please contact Payroll.
- Character Witness: Staff members will, at the discretion of their Head of School/RI/University Service, be given reasonable time off in order that they can act as a character witness during a court hearing. This time off will be unpaid. Members of staff wishing to claim for loss of earnings should do so via the relevant solicitor.
- Court appearance on own behalf: A staff member appearing in court on their own behalf will be required to use either annual leave or unpaid leave to cover the period absent.
- Approval of time off: Any member of staff requiring time off for a court appearance/jury service must seek approval from their line manager prior to the date of leave, providing them with the necessary court citation letter/paperwork.
- Manager Responsibilities: The manager should ensure that the dates which the member of staff is absent from work as a result of a court appearance/jury service are recorded within the HR/Payroll system.
- Travel & expenses: Any expense claims in relation to travel/subsistence that the member of staff has in relation to the court attendance should be made via the court system or relevant solicitor, not the University.
- Attendance at court not required: If, on any day during the court hearing, the member of staff’s services are not required they shall return to work that day.
- Jury service/court appearance cancelled: Where a member of staff is no longer required to attend court, they should ensure that the leave request is cancelled through Employee Self Service.
Time Off for Public Duties
Time off for Public Duties
In accordance with the Employment Rights Act 1996, the University will grant members of staff ‘reasonable’ time off work in order to undertake certain public duties*, namely in relation to their role as a:
- magistrate/justice of the peace
- member of a local authority
- member of a policy authority
- member of a statutory tribunal
- member of a relevant health body
- member of a relevant education body
- member of the Environment Agency/ the Scottish Environment Protection agency
- member of Scottish Water or a Water Customer Consultation Panel
Before undertaking a voluntary public service, members of staff should notify their Head of School/RI/University Service of their intention to undertake such a role. *Please note that in exceptional circumstances leave for other types of public duties may be granted following agreement from the Head of College/Secretary of Court.
Reasonable time-off & pay
- Whilst there is no statutory right to pay for time off in relation to public duties, the University recognises the potential social, personal and workplace benefits that can be brought, and shall therefore grant (subject to operational need) up to 18 days’ paid leave* in any 12 month period for the purpose of carrying out such duties.
- A member of staff who is appointed Chairperson, or equivalent, of a public body and thereby attracts additional duties, may be granted up to 6 additional days' paid leave* in order to carry out these duties. This includes any magisterial duties.
- Entitlements are pro-rated for part-time staff.
- Leave authorised for public duties may be taken in days or half days.
- Whilst requests for time off work will not be unjustifiably refused, the University does have the right to refuse requests for time off that are unreasonable or excessive.
- Time off will only be granted for attendance at and travel to and from meetings, not for any preparatory work that needs to be undertaken.
- Expenses relating to travel and/or subsistence will not be paid by the University.
- Time-off which exceeds the aforementioned entitlement will be granted at the discretion of the Head of School/RI/University Service, and should either be taken as unpaid leave or from the member of staff’s annual leave entitlement.
- A member of staff who stands as a candidate in a local government or parliamentary election will not be entitled to paid leave of absence during the election period, but may be granted, subject to the agreement of the Head of School/RI/University Service, reasonable time off using unpaid leave or leave from their holiday entitlement. On being notified of their adoption as a candidate in any such election, the member of staff should notify their line manager as soon as possible in order that discussions regarding time off and possible redistribution of workload can take place.
*Where a public duty attracts a fee or an allowance which is equal to or less than a days’ pay, the member of staff should undertake to refund this to the University. Where the fee paid is greater than a days’ pay, unpaid leave will be given in relation to the public duty.
- Members of staff should request time off in relation to a public duty through Employee Self Service, ensuring that their line manager is given sufficient notice of the request.
- On requesting the time off, the member of staff will be asked to declare whether the duty attracts a fee and, if so, the approximate rate they will be paid.
- The member of staff may be required to produce relevant documentation verifying their public duty appointment.
- On receiving the request for time off, the line manager will authorise the leave through Manager Self Service, subject to sufficient notice being given, operational need, and the duration of time required.
Time Off for Religious and Belief Events
Time Off for Religious and Belief Events
The University recognises that many religions and beliefs have festivals, holidays or religious events that practicing members of staff may wish to observe. Requests for annual leave or time off for the observance of such events will be considered sympathetically and, where the request is reasonable, will be accommodated wherever possible. Further information on requesting time off for such events or holidays can found in the University’s Equality and Diversity Policy (Appendix H) which can be viewed at: Appendix H: Religion or Belief
Time Off for Volunteer Reservists
Time off for Volunteer Reservists
Volunteer Reservists cover members of the Royal Naval Reserves, the Royal Marine Reserves, the Territorial Army and the Royal Auxiliary Air Force.
Time off for training
In order to help members of staff who are also members of the Volunteer Reserve Forces (VRF) fulfill their training commitments, the University will grant 5 days' paid leave per leave year for attendance at VRF summer camps and training exercises. This paid leave is in addition to the member of staff’s normal annual leave entitlement.
Any additional time off required in relation to VRF training should be taken from the member of staff’s normal holiday entitlement.
Members of staff should request time off for VRF training purposes through Employee Self Service, ensuring that they give their line manager reasonable notice of any time off requested.
On being called up for full-time military service, the member of staff should notify their line manager of this as soon as possible, and provide them with a copy of the ‘Call-out for Mobilisation’ notification letter. The line manager should then notify the relevant College/US HR Manager of the required leave.
Members of staff will be granted time off when they are called up for active duty, unless their absence would cause obvious or significant harm to the organisation, in which case the University must apply for an exemption or deferral of the mobilisation.
Any time off granted in relation to active military service will be without pay and all contractual benefits will be suspended for that period*. The member of staff will be compensated for loss of earnings and contractual benefits by the Ministry of Defense (MoD). *Where the employee is a member of a University pension scheme and they continue to pay the employee contribution, the MoD will make the employer contribution for the period of the mobilisation.
Members of staff should ensure, where possible, that any holiday entitlement accrued during the current leave year is taken prior to the mobilisation in order that this is not lost.
Within 10 working days of having been notified of the required leave of absence, College/University Services HR will write out to the member of staff confirming the arrangements and setting out the contractual implications.
Returning to work following mobilisation
Providing that the member of staff applies for reinstatement, they will be taken back on in the same role and on equally favourable terms and conditions as they were on when they were last employed (or as near as practicable). Where this is not practicable, the member of staff will be re-employed in a suitable alternative role.
In line with the Ministry of Defence guidelines, where a member of staff wishes to be reinstated they must notify the University in writing no later than the 3rd Monday after the last day of mobilisation, and must state the date they can return to work which should be no later than the 6th Monday after the end of mobilisation. The University will ensure that the member of staff is reinstated as soon as reasonably practicable from the date specified in the member of staff’s reinstatement letter.
The University recognises the sensitive and often very distressing nature of bereavement, and will endeavour to support members of staff affected by allowing a reasonable time off work to deal with such situations.
This policy is designed to provide guidance on leave which may be granted following the death of an immediate family member or close relative.
Length of bereavement leave
As the circumstances, nature of relationships and required observances of different religions can vary in relation to bereavement, it is difficult to be definitive in terms of the actual leave which will be granted in every situation. The information below provides generic guidance on leave entitlement which will typically be granted following a bereavement:
- In the event of the death of an immediate family member i.e. a spouse, civil partner, partner (including same sex partners), parent/stepparent, up to 5 days’ paid time off (pro rated for a part-time member of staff). This entitlement includes time required to attend the funeral.
- In the event of the death of a child/stepchild or sibling, up to 10 days’ paid ‘parental bereavement leave’ can be taken (pay is pro rated for part-time staff). This entitlement applies to parents (including adoptive parents) and partners of parents and may be taken in separate 5 day blocks.
- In the event of the death of a close relative not listed above i.e. grandparent, father-in-law, mother-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, aunt, uncle or grandchild, the member of staff will be granted up to 2 days’ paid time off (pro-rated for part-time members of staff). This entitlement includes time required to attend the funeral (except where the member of staff is responsible for organising the funeral in which case additional time off may be granted).
- A member of staff who need only attend the funeral of a relative or close friend/colleague will normally be granted up to 1 days’ paid leave.
- Where the member of staff has to travel a long distance to attend/arrange the funeral then, depending on circumstances, 1 further days’ paid leave may be granted.
This guidance is not meant to limit the line manager's discretion as each request for leave will need to be judged on the circumstances of the case and the nature of the member of staff’s relationship with the deceased.
Returning to work following a period of bereavement leave
Where a member of staff is experiencing difficulties following a bereavement, they may benefit from accessing the University’s Employee Assistance Program or from Togetherall (a safe online community offering 24/7 mental health support).
Members of staff who are unable to return to work following bereavement leave should discuss with their line manager taking any further period of absence as either annual leave, unpaid leave or sick leave (if the latter, the standard procedures for sickness absence should be followed).
Members of staff should inform their line manager at the earliest opportunity of their need to take bereavement leave, specifying the purpose of the leave.
Line managers should ensure that all requests to take time off due to a bereavement are dealt with in a sympathetic, considerate and timely manner.
Bereavement leave should be recorded through Manager Self Service.
- There may be times where members of staff require a short period of special leave (typically less than one month) as a result of an incident/situation not covered by other leave types. Applications for such leave should be made through the Head of School/RI/University Service, and should normally be taken as unpaid leave or from the member of staff’s holiday entitlement.
- The allocation of and agreement to special leave is not an automatic entitlement, but is at the discretion of the Head of School/RI/University Service in consultation with College/University Services HR.
- Each special leave request will be examined on a case-by-case basis, and due account will be taken of the personal circumstances/situation of the member of staff concerned.
Other Unpaid Leave
Other Unpaid Leave
Unpaid leave for periods of over 1 month for personal or career development opportunities may be granted at the discretion of the Head of School/RI/University Service.
This policy statement covers periods of unpaid leave other than those already provided for within University policies i.e. Maternity/Adoption Leave, Paternity Leave, Parental Leave and Academic Study Leave.
Having discussed the matter informally with their line manager, the member of staff should make a formal request for unpaid leave through Employee Self Service, specifying the duration and purpose of the requested leave.
- The member of staff should provide reasonable notice of the request for unpaid leave.
- The request will be considered by both the manager and the Head of School/RI/University Service in consultation with College/University Services HR. In deciding whether to approve or reject a request for leave, due consideration will be given to the purpose of the request, and the likely operational and financial implications of the absence.
- The decision to approve or reject the period of leave will be communicated to the member of staff as soon as reasonably practicable. Where the application is approved, Human Resources will issue confirmation of this in writing, which will detail the start and end dates of the leave and all contractual implications (see ‘Terms and conditions’ below).
Terms & conditions during/after a period of unpaid leave
Whilst on unpaid leave the member of staff:
- will not receive any salary, allowances or other contractual benefits, and superannuation payments will normally be suspended*;
- will not accrue entitlement to paid annual leave or be paid for public holidays or other days;
- will not be entitled to sickness leave even where this is medically certified;
- will be entitled to conditions of service relating to notice of termination, redundancy compensation and disciplinary and grievance procedures;
- The University undertakes, where possible, to hold the member of staff’s original post open until the agreed date of return. Where this is not possible, for example due to a unit restructure, the member of staff will be offered another job which would be considered suitable alternative work, on comparable terms and conditions to those that they had prior to the leave of absence. Where a member of staff’s post becomes at risk of redundancy during their period of absence they will be notified and consulted with in accordance with the University’s Management of Organisational Change / Redundancy Policy and Procedure.
*In certain circumstances, for example where the purpose of the leave will bring benefits to the University, employer pension contributions may, at the discretion of the Head of School/RI/University Service, continue to be paid for an agreed period so long as employee contributions are made. Where no pension contributions are made, the member of staff will be treated as a deferred member of the pension scheme (for further information on pension implications please contact the Payroll Section).
Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependants
Full details can be found in the University's Emergency Time Off to Care for Dependants policy.
USS Pension arrangements during leave of absence
Further information on USS pension arrangements during leave of absence can be found in the USS 'Absence from work' factsheet.
Academic and MPA Grade 6 and above Leave
Further information can be found in the University's Academic and MPA Grade 6 and above Leave policy.
Study Leave for Members of Staff
Access the Tuition Fees and Study Leave for Members of Staff Policy here, for full details on special leave for course attendance, examinations etc.
Support for Staff with Caring Responsibilities Policy
The Support for Staff with Caring Responsibilities Policy outlines the support available to employees with caring responsibilities (as per the definition below), including the provision of additional paid time off to deal with emergencies, paid Carers Leave and signposting to other potential support mechanisms all designed to improve flexibility around the pressures carers may face.