skip to content

When an employee returns to work after taking SPL they are entitled to return to the same job if their combined period of leave (made up of any maternity/adoption/paternity and SPL) totalled 26 weeks or less.

If they have taken a combined period of leave of more than 26 weeks the University will allow an employee to return to the same role unless it is not reasonably practicable, in which case they must be offered a suitable alternative role, on the same terms and conditions as their substantive post.

Statutory entitlements on return to work:      

  • Emergency leave: all employees have a statutory right to short periods of unpaid leave in order to make arrangements to deal with family emergencies. In addition to this statutory provision Heads of Institution have discretion to grant compassionate leave where circumstances justify so doing;
  • Ordinary Parental leave: employees who have a year's service have a statutory right to ordinary parental leave.
  • Flexible working: all employees have a statutory right to apply to work flexibly.

Contractual entitlements on return to work:

Non-return to work

If an employee is unable to return to work at the end of their SPL leave because they are medically unfit, they should report the sickness absence and submit medical certification in the usual way. They will transfer from SPL to sick leave. Subsequently, normal sickness procedures will be followed.

If an employee does not return to work following a period of SPL, their job remains open and they do not automatically lose their right to return. However, their absence will be treated as unauthorised absence under the University's disciplinary policies for that category of staff.


If an employee decides not to return to work after taking SPL, or returns to work but subsequently decides not to continue in the employment of the University for a period of at least three months, the University has the right to reclaim any EShPP that they received that is in excess of any ShPP that they have received.

If an employee returns to work but subsequently chooses not to continue in employment for a period of at least three months, the amount deducted will be a proportion of the excess pay as follows:

Up to one month


One month up to two months

Two-thirds of EShPP

Two months up to three months

One-third of EShPP

In exercising this right to reclaim pay, the University will take into account personal circumstances.