Family leave for academic staff and related matters

1. Introduction

If you are a parent, or are expecting to be a parent, it is essential that you read the relevant guidance relating to the type of leave you wish to take (eg maternity or adoption leave) in full, in order to be clear about your eligibility and entitlements, as well as about the notifications and paperwork that will be required of you. The guidance on the different types of family leave can be found on the main Personnel Services web pages.

In addition, all academic employees should read the notes below, which are supplementary to the main guidance and specifically relate to the arrangements for academic staff only.

Any queries should be directed to the relevant Divisional contact.

2. National regulations for Statutory Pay

2.1 All employees have the right to 52 weeks' maternity/adoption leave regardless of their length of service or hours of work.

2.2 Additionally, any employee who has been continuously employed with the same employer for 26 weeks or more at the 15th week before the expected week of childbirth/adoption placement date is entitled to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP).

2.3 Full details on the entitlement to maternity leave and pay can be found here. For the entitlement to adoption leave and pay, click here.

3. The University's maternity/adoption leave scheme for academic staff

The University will normally grant maternity/adoption leave to eligible Associate Professors where the college is the major employer (formerly CUF lecturers), concurrently with leave granted by the college. Normal practice is also to dispense these lecturers from the obligation to give any lectures which they would otherwise have given during the period of maternity/adoption leave.

Full details about the University's contractual maternity and adoption pay schemes can be found on the Personnel Services website; for maternity leave click here, and for adoption leave click here.

3.1 The entitlement to pay may be extended to academic staff in externally-funded posts (e.g. posts funded directly by research councils) provided that the relevant funding bodies give their agreement in advance and on the understanding that any additional maternity/adoption leave costs which result from an outside grantor refusing to provide extra funding will be the responsibility of the appointing body.

3.2 Divisions may, at their discretion, offer a period of special paid leave equivalent to the University's maternity/adoption leave scheme to employees who do not qualify for the scheme, in cases where circumstances warrant such leave.

3.3 Notification of intended maternity/adoption leave should be submitted in the normal way, as outlined here, to the relevant divisional contact.

In addition, academic staff must provide full information about the implications of the leave, for example in respect of substitute university teaching required, the position of graduate students supervised, and examining commitments. Details of the position regarding concurrent leave from the college should also be supplied. Replacement teaching arrangements must be agreed by or on behalf of the divisional board, on the recommendation of the faculty board/department concerned.

3.4 Any period of paid maternity/adoption leave does not affect an individual's eligibility to apply for sabbatical leave or dispensation from lecturing obligations. Unpaid leave is however discounted as qualifying service for the purpose of calculating such eligibility.1

4. Keeping in Touch (KIT) days

Staff may, with the agreement of their department/faculty and college as appropriate, attend for work or training on 10 days during their maternity leave without losing their maternity pay for those days. Full details about the KIT days are available here.

5. Resignation on grounds of maternity/adoption leave

5.1 A member of academic staff who is leaving to have a baby and does not propose to return to work is entitled to SMP/SAP provided that they satisfy the conditions for its payment as set out in this guidance.

5.2 Applications for this payment should be submitted in writing to the relevant divisional contact at least 28 days before the start of the maternity/adoption leave, enclosing a medical certificate giving the anticipated childbirth date or a document to prove the anticipated date of adoption.

5.3 Where a member of staff offers their resignation shortly after a period of maternity/adoption leave the University may seek to reclaim the whole or part of the non-statutory element of maternity/adoption pay if the period of the return is less than three months.

6. The return to work: flexibility

Employees returning from maternity/adoption leave may be permitted, where possible, to return to full-time work on a phased basis ie return to work part-time on a temporary basis.

  1. Any such arrangement is subject to the approval of the divisional board, which will consider applications on the recommendation of the relevant faculty board/department. Exceptionally, operational requirements may mean that it is not possible to give approval, but it will not unreasonably be withheld.
  2. The arrangement is separate from any request a member of staff might make to return part-time on a permanent basis, which would be subject to local operational requirements and would be considered by the divisional board on the recommendation of the relevant faculty board/department (see section 7 below).

Applications under this section should be made to the divisional contact in conjunction with the notification of maternity/adoption leave, and should give all relevant details (including the position on the college side).

7. Requests for 'non-standard' working arrangements in the longer term

It is recognised that some staff may prefer to return to work on a part-time basis or to work 'non-standard' hours to fit in with, for example, school terms. The divisional board will therefore give reasonable consideration to requests for part-time working, and for variations in working hours (such as school hours or school term-time only working), although always subject to operational requirements as reflected in the recommendation the relevant faculty board/department will make on any application which is made.

8. Paternity leave

The University's paternity leave scheme provides two weeks' ordinary paterntiy leave on full pay to be taken at any time from the expected week of childbirth or adoption until 56 days following the birth or adoption. The leave may be taken as a two-week block or two blocks of one week each, in order to look after the child and is available to:

  • the father
  • the husband or partner of the mother (or adopter)
  • the child’s adopter
  • the intended parent (in the case of a surrogacy arrangement)

All further details can be found here.

9. Shared Parental Leave

Eligible employees may be able to take Shared Parental Leave (SPL) with their partner following the birth or placement of their child. Full details about the SPL scheme, including the eligibility criteria and the notification requirements, can be found here.

10. Parental leave

The parental leave regulations give qualifying employees the right to unpaid parental leave, subject to their giving the appropriate notice. Full details about the arrangements can be found here.

11. Further information

Further information is available on the Personnel Services family leave web pages.

1 Women who do not qualify for SMP or the University's scheme and wish to take 26 weeks' unpaid leave will continue to accrue entitlement to sabbatical leave or dispensation from lecturing obligations during the 26 weeks' absence.