Career break scheme


A career break is an agreed period of unpaid leave (minimum 1 month, maximum 12 months) at the end of which the University will make all reasonable efforts to allow the employee to return to their previous role, or a similar role with the University. There is no statutory provision for, or automatic entitlement to, career breaks but the University recognises that there may be circumstances in which it may be beneficial for employees to take an extended period of time away from work.

The career break scheme is not contractual and can be withdrawn at any time.

Benefits for employees

Career breaks allow employees to maintain their work-life balance. A career break may be requested for a wide variety of reasons, for example:

  • A period of caring responsibilities (NB separate provisions apply for maternity, paternity adoption and shared parental leave, and unpaid parental leave - see family leave)
  • To undertake a period of training
  • To undertake a period of voluntary service overseas
  • To accompany a partner working overseas or visit family living overseas

A career break cannot be used for the purposes of taking paid employment with another employer, or setting up a private business venture. In order for the University to hold open employment for an individual, they must have a clear intention to return to work at the end of the break. (In some circumstances the Secondment scheme may allow a period of working for another employer whilst maintaining a University contract.)

Benefits for the University

Career breaks allow the University to attract and retain staff by demonstrating the University’s commitment to the long term career and personal development or wellbeing of employees at all stages of their lives, by allowing them to adjust their work-life balance according to their personal needs. Allowing a career break can assist in the development, retention and return of key staff whose contribution is vital to the future success of the University. In terms of a business case, improved retention reduces recruitment and training costs.

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