Returning to work

Qualifying staff are entitled to 50% salary for the adoption leave period weeks 14 to 26 provided they return to work for 13 weeks at the same FTE that they held before commencing adoption leave. If a member of staff reduces their FTE on return to work then the 13 week period will be extended until an equivalent time period has been worked e.g. If a person works full time before going on adoption leave and then returns after adoption leave on a 0.5 FTE, instead of working 13 weeks to qualify for keeping the 50% adoption pay they will have to work 26 weeks. Contact the HR Directorate for further advice on individual cases.

Pay rises

Staff on adoption leave should benefit from pay rises that have been awarded between the eight weeks before the placement and the end of adoption leave, including additional adoption leave.

A return date to work

The member of staff should choose the date on which they intend to resume work, provided:

  • it is no later than the first working day after the end of their adoption leave period
  • it is within any longer leave or absence period allowed on a voluntary or contractual basis by the University.

If the member of staff intends to return to work on the first working day after the end of their paid adoption leave they are not obligated to give the University advance notification of the date.

Returning to work before the end of adoption leave

If the member of staff intends to return to work before the end of their paid adoption leave, they must give a minimum of 8 weeks (56 days) notice, which need not be in writing. If less than 8 weeks (56 days) notice is given, the University may postpone their return to give the necessary 8 weeks (56 days) notice or until the end of the adoption leave period, whichever is earlier. If the member of staff returns before the postponed date, the University is under no obligation to pay their normal remuneration for the period up to the postponed date.

Confirming intention to return to work after the additional adoption leave period

The University may write to a member of staff who qualifies for additional adoption leave who has indicated that they intend to take advantage of that right, during the ordinary adoption leave period to seek confirmation that this is still their intention (for an example see the confirmation of additional adoption leave letter). The earliest that the University may do this is 8 weeks (56 days) before the end of their ordinary adoption leave. If the member of staff intends to return to work after the additional adoption leave period they must give written confirmation within 8 weeks (56 days) (complete the confirming return from adoption leave letter and send to the HR Department). This time limit may be extended in exceptional circumstances see extending the additional adoption absence period. The University must make it very clear in their letter to the member of staff that if they fail to reply within the time limit they cannot rely on any special protection if they suffer a detriment because they took additional adoption absence.

Returning to work during or at the end of the additional adoption leave period

A member of staff who qualifies for and exercises their right to return to work during or at the end of their additional adoption leave period, must give at least 8 weeks (56 days) notice in writing of the date on which they intend to return to work. The member of staff may have informed the University of the date they wish to return to work well in advance, in which case the University may confirm this 8 weeks (56 days) before the indicated return date, the confirming return from adoption leave letter is for the member of staff to complete and send to the HR Department. If a member of staff wishes to resign from their post and not return to work they must give their resignation in writing as soon as possible and their resignation will take effect from the date of the letter.

Extending the additional adoption absence period

There are six circumstances under which the additional adoption absence period may be extended:

  1. the University may postpone a member of staff’s return until a date up to eight weeks after the date the member of staff has notified, but this is subject to notifying them in advance of the reasons for the postponement and of the new date of return.
  2. the member of staff may postpone their return if they are ill when normal contractual provisions will apply.
  3. if the member of staff has notified the University of their date of return but there is an interruption to work making it unreasonable to expect the member of staff to return on that date, they may instead return as soon as work resumes after the interruption, or as soon as reasonably practicable after that.
  4. if the member of staff fails to notify the University of an intended date of return and due to an interruption of work it is unreasonable to expect them to return by the end of the normal adoption absence period, or it appears likely to have that effect, they may instead return on any date up to 8 weeks (56 days) after the end of the interruption of work, provided the member of staff gives written notice of that date at least 8 weeks (56 days) in advance.
  5. if the member of staff has postponed their return to work due to illness as described above in (b), it may be postponed once more as described in (d), if there is an interruption of work which makes it unreasonable to expect the member of staff to return at the end of the first postponement.
  6. if a member of staff’s return has been postponed due to an interruption of work as described above in (d), the member of staff may postpone it once more for up to four weeks as described in (b), if they give the University in advance a medical certificate stating that due to illness they will be incapable of returning to work at the end of the interruption.

Return to work interview

When a member of staff returns from adoption leave, on their first day, they should have a return to work interview with their line manager and a representative from the HR Department. If the member of staff does not want to hold this meeting with their line manager then they may hold it with just an HR representative and the HR representative will meet separately with the line manager to ensure they has an understanding of issues that they need to know about. The interview will include:

  • a discussion about their job
  • training that may be required due to any changes that have happened whilst they has been on adoption leave
  • ensuring that the member of staff is fully aware of the support mechanisms within the University such as Occupational Health, UNISON, UCU, HR Department
  • ensuring the member of staff is fully aware of their entitlement to parental leave (must have a minimum of one years continuous service), and the possibility of working part time in the future should this be required.
  • Information about the Brookes Nursery and the Childcare Vouchers that Brookes offers

The example letter confirmation of return will be sent to all staff returning from adoption leave to confirm the actual date of return and explain about the return to work interview.

Failure to return after additional adoption leave

Where a member of staff fails to return from additional adoption leave the contract continues until it is terminated by either the member of staff or the University or possibly until the contract is frustrated. The University need to consider the potential unfair dismissal and/or sex discrimination claims that could be made should the correct procedure not be followed. The procedure to follow will depend on the reason for failure to return.

Refusal to allow a member of staff to return from additional adoption leave

Members of staff remain employed during additional adoption leave. If the University refuse to allow a member of staff to return it is likely to be automatic unfair dismissal.

Career breaks

Career breaks are available and should be progressed through the Career break scheme.

Sick when due to return to work

If a member of staff is too ill to return to work after adoption leave then the normal contractual provisions relating to sickness apply. If the member of staff is still entitled to adoption pay then they will receive the adoption pay and then move onto sick pay when their adoption pay expires.

The job when returning to work – redundancy

A member of staff returning to work after adoption leave, paid and unpaid, is entitled to have the same job and the same terms and conditions of employment as if they had not been absent. If a redundancy situation has arisen during an individual’s adoption leave, they should have been offered suitable alternative work that was available at the time when the redundancy arose. A member of staff who returns after additional adoption leave is also usually entitled to have the same job and terms and conditions of employment as if they had not been absent. The exception is if a redundancy situation has arisen during the additional adoption leave period or if there is some other reason why it is not reasonably practicable for the University to take the member of staff back in their original role, in which case the member of staff is generally entitled to be offered suitable alternative work if it is available.

A member of staff returning to work after adoption leave, paid and unpaid, is entitled to benefit from general improvements to the rate of pay or other terms and conditions which have been introduced for their grade or type of work whilst they have been away.

Suitable alternative work – redundancy

If a redundancy situation has arisen during a member of staff’s adoption leave which makes it impracticable for the University to take them back in their original job, they must be offered a suitable alternative vacancy where available. The new role offered to the member of staff must be suitable and appropriate for them to do in the circumstances and the capacity and place in which they are employed and their terms and conditions of employment must be no less favourable than if they had continued to be employed in their now redundant post. If the University has a suitable alternative vacancy available but fail to offer it to the member of staff, the redundancy will be regarded as an unfair dismissal. If the University offer the member of staff a suitable alternative vacancy and they unreasonably refuse it, the member of staff may forfeit their right to a redundancy payment.

If there is a reason apart from redundancy which makes it impracticable for the member of staff to be taken back in their original role eg health and safety, a suitable alternative vacancy must be found which is suitable and appropriate for them to do in the circumstances and the capacity and place in which they are employed and their terms and conditions of employment must be no less favourable than if they had continued to be employed in their previous role.