Leave of Absence request

Updated on 30 November 2020

Information about the types of leave of absence and the procedure for making an application.

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General conditions

Leave of Absence is not an entitlement or contractual right. It can be applied for but is granted only according to the needs of a School as appropriate. It is also recognised that it provides staff development for an individual's research career. Each application must be accompanied by a robust plan detailing the research activity to be undertaken during the period of leave. Leave of Absence applies only to academic staff of the University for the pursuit of academic endeavour. Where Leave of Absence could compromise a School's ability to service necessary teaching it will not be granted. Deans of School should consult as appropriate to make arrangements where possible for required teaching cover.

Staff applying for periodic leave should have an appropriate research record meeting the normal expectations of the discipline with recognition that staff whose volume of research output may have been limited or affected by any of the personal circumstances listed at the end of this document should have this taken into consideration.

Types of leave

Periodic leave

This may be granted to staff who have served for not less than three years at the rate of one semester in respect of each period of service of three years, subject to a maximum of one year's leave on any one occasion. A Semester is defined as either Semester 1 - week 1 to week 11 or Semester 2 - week 14 to week 25.

Full payment of salary, superannuation and national insurance is continued but staff granted such leave may not undertake other paid employment except of the type normally permitted to university teachers in addition to their normal duties. This rule may be waived by the Court when the leave is taken in a country in which the cost of living is higher than that of the United Kingdom but applicants requesting such a waiver should include details in their application.

Grant supported Periodic Leave can be considered for longer periods. Where possible, Periodic Leave application should be matched with an appropriate grant application.

Special leave with pay

This type of leave will be granted for short periods only to enable members of staff to attend meetings of learned societies, give papers at conferences, advise other institutions and for similar purposes.

Special leave without pay or with partial pay

As Special Leave above but without Pay or only Partial Pay.

Timescale for making application

Applications, including a proposal detailing aims, objectives and intended outcomes of a period of Periodic Leave, must be received by the appropriate Dean, ideally a year in advance but no later than 6 months prior to the commencement of the period of leave sought. In the case of Special Leave, 6 weeks' notice is necessary.

Compulsory report after periodic leave

All successful applicants must submit a report detailing the activities undertaken during a period of Periodic Leave and relevant outcomes. This must be submitted to the Dean no later than 3 weeks after the period of leave. Failure to submit a report or a satisfactory report is likely to jeopardise an individual's future applications for Leave of Absence.

Procedure for making application

Staff should complete Part A of Leave of Absence form (see downloads section below) and this should be sent, initially, to the Dean of School. An exception to this is where Special Leave with Pay is requested for one week or less or wholly in vacation when the member of staff may agree it informally with the Dean of School.

Where an applicant for leave of absence in any of the categories is the Dean, the Vice Principal (Academic Planning & Performance) will approve applications for leave with the relevant Associate Dean countersigning the application. Where an applicant for leave of absence in any of the categories is the Associate Dean, the Dean will approve applications for leave with the Vice Principal (Academic Planning & Performance) countersigning the application.

Periodic leave

The form should be submitted to the Dean of School who will complete Part B and forward it to the Associate Dean to act as counter signatory. The application is authorised on behalf of the University Court but, at their discretion, the Dean, may refer an application to the Vice Principal (Academic Planning & Performance).

Special leave with pay

If it is to last for more than one week during the semester, the application form should be used and submitted to the Dean of School. The Dean of School may give authority for the leave but a copy of the application must be sent to the relevant Senior People Partner for the record. A Dean of School applying for leave of absence should submit the form to the Vice Principal (Academic Planning & Performance) with the Associate Dean acting as counter signatory. An Associate Dean of School applying for leave should submit the form to the Dean of School with the Vice Principal (Academic Planning & Performance) acting as counter signatory.

Special leave without pay or with partial pay

The procedure will be as for Special Leave with Pay unless there are financial implications for the school or the financial arrangements for the member of staff require approval, in which case the procedure will be as for Periodic Leave. Where there are financial implications, details should be included on the form.

No record is maintained of short periods of special leave but applicants are required to give particulars of previous periodic leave or periods of special leave exceeding one week.

The applicant will receive a letter from the Dean of School advising them if their application has been successful and of any requirements attached to the approved Leave of Absence. A copy of the application and outcome letter must be sent to the relevant Senior People Partner for the record and Payroll notification.

Financial considerations

Financial details should include a note of any remuneration or allowance to be received by the member of staff and of arrangements for continuing superannuation and national insurance contributions, if applicable.

The University does not normally expect to have to replace a member of staff who is granted Periodic Leave but it may agree to do so in special circumstances. When a Dean of School intends to request a replacement of a member of staff, this should be stated briefly on this form and application for replacement made in the normal way. In cases of Unpaid Special Leave the University will consider making payment of the employer's superannuation and national insurance contributions if it is shown that these cannot be met by the temporary employing authority.

If the duties of a member of staff on leave of absence are to be undertaken by other members of staff during their absence, no honoraria will be paid by the University in respect of these additional duties.

Deans and others who receive an allowance specifically for undertaking their duties will not be entitled to receive such an allowance during a period of Periodic Leave and may not be entitled to an allowance during other Leave of Absence.

Prior to application for Leave of Absence, applicants are advised to consult with the Pensions Manager since, depending on the type of leave applied for (e.g. if another employer is paying the applicant's salary or unpaid leave), there may be implications with respect to the University continuing to make contributions on an individual's behalf during a period of absence or the individual being covered by all the normal pension benefits during this time.

Identifying individuals

Normally an individual will make an application. However, Deans may identify individuals who would benefit from a period of Leave of Absence according to the needs of a School, as appropriate.

Personal circumstances

The University will give consideration to staff whose volume of research output may have been limited or affected by one of the following circumstances:

  • Absence due to maternity/parental/adoption/carer's leave
  • Birth parent returning to part-time work after maternity leave
  • Parents returning to part-time work after maternity/paternal/adoption/carer's leave
  • Part-time work
  • Disability, including temporary incapacity that lasts for at least 12 months. Equality Act 2010 also covers people with Cancer, Multiple Sclerosis and HIV from the point of diagnosis.
  • Early career researchers or other staff who have recently re-entered a research career or the profession
  • Absence for more than six months consecutively due to secondment, career break, ill-health or injury (including disability)
  • Any health and safety restrictions imposed on those who are pregnant and breastfeeding which may have prevented them from undertaking some types of laboratory based research. Similar consideration should be given to the restrictions that pregnancy and breastfeeding might place on fieldwork

The University acknowledges that the above listing of individual personal circumstances is not exhaustive.


From People
Corporate information category Absences and related
Collection Staff absence