Policy owner/author: Human Resources

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1 Career Breaks Policy owner/author: Human Resources Version number: 4 EIA date October 2017 Approved by: UEG December 2017 Date of last review: Date of next review: April

2 1. Introduction 1.1 The University is committed to developing work practices and policies that support work-life balance. 1.2 The University recognises that some employees may wish or need to take an extended break from work for a variety of personal or professional reasons during the course of their employment. 1.3 The University recognises that there may be circumstances where it may be beneficial to the employee and to the University to allow an unpaid period away from work. 1.4 This policy sets out the University s approach to career breaks and the basis on which they may be taken. 2. Scope 2.1 This policy applies to all employees of the University. 2.2 A career break may be for family reasons. However, the University has a range of other family related policies (e.g. maternity, adoption, paternity or parental leave) which may be more appropriate. 2.3 Due to immigration regulations, it may not be feasible to consider requests from individuals who do not have a permanent right to work in the UK. 3. Principles 3.1 The granting of a career break and the duration of the break will be entirely at the University s discretion and the University s decision will be final. 3.2 A career break will normally last between three months and one year. All career breaks will be unpaid. 3.3 Not all applications will be approved so an employee must not commit themselves to any plans prior to the request being confirmed. 3.4 An employee may seek to take more than one career break, but there will normally be at least three years between each break and separate approval must be sought on each occasion. 3.5 Consent must be obtained from the University for any paid work undertaken during the career break in order to avoid any conflicts of interest. Providing that paid-work is not the primary reason for the career break, consent will not usually be withheld. 2

3 4. Consideration of Requests When considering a career break application, the following factors will be taken into account: The purpose of, or reasons for, the career break; The period of absence requested; The employee s length of service; Whether the employee has taken a career break on a previous occasion; The operational needs of the Department; The need to retain key skills, knowledge and experience to achieve the University s strategic objectives and meet student needs. The potential to be able to cover the post on a temporary basis. The potential for the employee to return to a similar / the same post; The potential benefits to the Department / University/ Individual Employee This list is non-exhaustive. 3

4 5. Application Process 5.1 An employee wishing to apply for a career break should discuss it with their manager in the first instance. The request should be put in writing, outlining the duration and reason for the request. Ordinarily, a request should be made six months in advance of the proposed start date. 5.2 On receipt of the written request, the manager will arrange a meeting with the employee to discuss it. Applications will be considered in line with the factors set out in this policy. The actual start date and duration of a career break will be subject to mutual agreement between the employee, manager and Faculty PVC/Director. 5.3 Where a career break is approved, the HR Advisor will write to the employee to confirm the terms and conditions of the career break, including the expected return to work date and impact on terms and conditions of employment. 6. Impact on terms and conditions of employment 6.1 A career break will not be regarded as a break in service for the purposes of statutory employment provisions. 6.2 There will be no entitlement to holiday pay whilst on a career break and the employee will not accrue annual leave. There will also be no entitlement to sick pay whilst on a career break. 6.3 Employees on a career break are advised that entitlement to Statutory Maternity Pay (SMP) or Statutory Adoption Pay (SAP) may be affected, since SMP is calculated on the basis of the employee s salary 15 weeks before the Expected Week of Childbirth (EWC). 6.4 Career breaks may affect pension contributions and associated benefits (e.g. death in service benefit). Employees are advised to refer to the rules of the relevant scheme, and take advice were necessary. Further information is available on the University Pensions website, or can be sought from the Reward and Pensions team or from the scheme provider. 6.5 Where an employee has salary sacrifice benefits (e.g. cycle to work scheme) they will be responsible for continuing to make the payments during the career break. 6.6 Where an annual pay review takes place during the career break, the relevant increase will be applied on their return. Employees will not be eligible for consideration under the Contribution Zone during a career break. 6.7 Career breaks will count as continuous service. 4

5 7. Keeping in touch 7.1 An employee on a career break should supply their manager with contact details for the period of absence and notify the University if these details change. 7.2 The employee and the manager should maintain reasonable contact during the career break period to make the return to work easier for both parties. It is recommended that contact be agreed in advance. The manager is responsible for keeping an employee on a career break informed of any significant workplace developments that may be relevant to his or her employment. 7.3 By mutual agreement, an employee on a career break may occasionally be requested to attend work, for example to attend events or conferences. Attendance is not compulsory but will be paid at the employee s normal rate of pay. 7.4 If an employee decides to resign from their post during a career break, they must submit a written statement of resignation to the University in advance of the agreed return to work date in accordance with their contractual notice period. 8. Returning to work 8.1 Providing that the terms and conditions of the career break policy and any subsequent agreement between the employee and the University are met, the University will guarantee the employee the opportunity to return to work at the end of the career break. 8.2 The University will seek as far as possible to place an employee returning from a career break into their former post. Where this is not possible, the employee will be offered suitable employment on no less favourable terms and conditions of employment. 8.3 If an employee wishes to return from a career break early, they should put in a request in writing to their line manager. There is no guarantee that an early return would be agreed, especially in the event that another employee has been engaged to undertake the role on an interim basis. 8.4 Following the return to work the manager will ensure that the employee is updated on any changes that have taken place in their absence. 9. Related Documents Flexible Working Policy 5

6 Maternity Policy Paternity Policy Adoption Leave Policy Special Leave Policy 6