Safe leave policy

Updated on 27 July 2021

Safe Leave is provided where Gender Based Violence incidents have arisen

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Gender-based violence can take different forms including (but not exclusively) domestic abuse, coercive control, rape, sexual assault, sexual harassment, stalking, dowry-related violence, female genital mutilation and forced marriages.

The Scottish Government states that gender-based violence is a cause and consequence of gender inequality. It can take many forms including physical, sexual and psychological harm and it can happen to anyone, including men, but disproportionately affects women and children.

Safe Leave

The University recognises that there may be occasions when an incidence of gender-based violence means that you are unable to attend work. We will allow reasonable time off to take necessary action to deal with the situation.

It is recognised that staff who have been subject to gender-based violence will require time to deal with a number of difficult and challenging matters and this may include, but is not limited to:

  • handling legal issues, like getting a restraining order, preparing for a court appearance, or attending a hearing or trial
  • organising to leave home and go to somewhere that is safer, whether that’s a refuge or moving in with a family member or friend
  • receiving medical care for injuries sustained as a result of domestic abuse, sexual assault, or other related issue
  • seeking counselling, advice from social services or an attorney

Time off is normally limited up to three days without loss of pay and may be granted at the discretion of Discipline Leads/Deans/Directors.  Subsequent days, paid or unpaid, may be granted, depending on the circumstances. 

In addition, the University’s Flexible Working policy is also available to staff and individuals may wish to request flexible working for a period e.g. a different work pattern or place of work.

When calling to notify your Discipline Lead/Dean/Director of your absence, you should advise them that you are requesting Safe Leave and the possible duration. 

You do not need to provide detailed reasons for the request. If the absence extends beyond one day, you should provide a daily update to your Discipline Lead/Dean/Director so that appropriate cover arrangements can be made.

When you do return to work, your Discipline Lead/Dean/Director will offer to meet with you to provide support in a non-intrusive way. You may not want to meet, or you may prefer to meet with someone else such as a First Responder, and this can be arranged.

Support for staff and managers

First Responders have a University-wide role and are responsible for providing initial support and direction to staff, disclosing they have been affected by gender-based violence. 

Support for staff who have been affected by gender-based violence or who have received a disclosure of gender-based violence can be found on the EDI webpage.

Awareness raising for managers on Safe Leave will be included as part of the People Support for Managers workshop on the Talent and Development programme.

The People Support team will provide guidance and advice on the processes involved.

Additional help and support

When talking about personal experiences of interpersonal safety concerns, this may bring up uncomfortable memories for some people. This is an understandable reaction.

If you are affected by any issues relating to gender-based violence and wish to speak with someone, you can contact the Enquiry Centre on campus, your line manager or supervisor, or one of these helplines:


People Support team

From People
Corporate information category Absences and related, Work/life balance