skip to content

Leave from Established Offices

Academic staff holding an established University office listed in Schedule J should be aware that any period of leave of 28 days or more that falls during term time, may make the term(s) in question non-reckonable for sabbatical leave purposes. The term(s) in question will be included in the six-year period referred to in the Statute for calculating future sabbatical leave entitlement. The Head of Institution may wish to discuss this with their HR Business Partnering Team if such a situation arises.

Approval by the relevant competent authority (i.e. Faculty Board or equivalent) will also be required for all types of leave with the exception of jury service, essential civic and public duties and service in the reserve forces which are statutory entitlements.

Financial and operational considerations

Employees and Heads of Institutions should ensure that they are fully aware of the time commitment involved, the type of leave that will be taken and any impact on department operations, before the approved leave application is submitted to the HR Division.

Annual leave accrual

Annual leave will only accrue during the first two weeks of any period of unpaid special leave. An employee's annual leave entitlement for the relevant leave year will therefore be adjusted accordingly. Annual leave will accrue as normal during paid special leave.

Statutory payments

Taking a period of unpaid leave may affect an employee's entitlement to certain statutory payments such as statutory maternity pay. If you have any questions please contact your HR Business Partnering Team or the Payroll section.

Pension implications

Employees are advised to contact the Pensions office if they have any questions on the impact of a period of unpaid leave on their pension contributions.


Employees are advised to refer to the terms and conditions of their visa  and the guidance created by UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI)  for information on the impact of a period of unpaid leave on their immigration status. For Tier 2 /Skilled worker visa holders, and Tier 5/Temporary Worker GAE visa holders (which are “sponsored visas”), the following rules apply under the University's sponsor licences with the UKVI. These rules do not apply to individuals holding any other type of visa at the University:

  • If a sponsored visa holder  has taken a period of unpaid leave in excess of four weeks (except for a period of maternity, paternity, adoption or long term sick leave), the University must notify the UKVI and stop sponsoring the individual, which would result in the irrevocable loss of their sponsored visa. The individual would then  require a new visa before being able to return to work for the University. Institutions are asked to notify the HR Business Partnering Team and the HR Compliance team immediately should this situation arise.
  • If a sponsored visa holder is absent from work for more than 10 consecutive working days without the University's permission (i.e. unauthorised absence) the Institution concerned must notify the HR Business Partnering Team and the HR Compliance team immediately.

University loans and salary exchange schemes

During any period of unpaid special leave, employees will need to agree with the HR Division and Payroll Section the appropriate arrangements for continued or deferred repayment of any University loan. Alternatively the employee can arrange for the loan to be repaid in full. Employees participating in salary exchange schemes are advised to refer to the relevant scheme rules for further information on the implications and options available when taking a period of unpaid leave.