skip to content

Absence or Special Leave


Special Leave (Rules B31–35)

In addition to the provision for annual leave and for maternity, paternity and parental leave, there are a number of schemes which provide for special leave in particular circumstances. Some schemes are open only to staff with a minimum length of service in the University.


Unpaid leave and compassionate leave (Rules B31 and B34)

In exceptional circumstances your Head of Institution may agree to allow you to take unpaid leave or may grant paid compassionate leave up to a maximum of 5 working days. Such leave is subject to the needs of your Institution and must be recommended by your Head of Institution to the Human Resources Division for approval in advance.

Unpaid leave can be granted only infrequently. Before applying to the Human Resources Division for approval, the Head of Institution must be sure that the work of the institution will not suffer and that no undue burden will fall upon the other members of staff who have to cover your work in your absence. There is no appeal against the decision once it has been agreed between the Human Resources Division and the Head of Institution.

Paid compassionate leave is normally only granted in special circumstances, for instance when a close relative, e.g. child, parent, spouse, is very seriously ill or in very urgent need of help through unforeseen circumstances. The number of days given has to be very limited, but if a longer period of leave is required you may be allowed to take part of it as paid annual leave, and part of it as unpaid leave.


Longer-term unpaid leave for family reasons (Rule B35(a))

If you have five or more years' service with the University, you may apply to your Head of Institution for a period of unpaid leave of up to six months in order to deal with family responsibilities. Leave may be granted by the Human Resources Division on the recommendation of the Head of Institution provided your duties can be covered at no extra cost to the University.


Long-term study leave (Rule B35(b))

If you have ten or more years' service you may apply to your Head of Institution for a period of unpaid leave of up to nine months to undertake a course of study or personal development which will be of benefit both to you and to your institution. Leave may be granted provided your duties can be covered at no extra cost to the University. In recommending leave to the Human Resources Division, your Head of Institution will take into account your performance in your job.


Sickness Absence Reporting Procedure

If you cannot attend work due to ill-health you should notify your manager (or a designated person within your Institution) of your absence by telephone as soon as possible on the first day of absence and, normally, before the start of their normal working day. Full details of the sickness absence reporting procedure can be found in the Sickness Absence Policy.

On your return to work you should complete a Self-Certification Form (CHRIS 62) for absences up to seven calendar days. For absences of eight calendar days or more you must provide a Statement of Fitness for Work (or ‘Fit Note’) from a doctor. Further information regarding sickness absence certification can be found in the Sickness Absence Policy.


Sources of Information

Management of Sickness Absence

Sick Pay Entitlement