Special leave and other leave policy

Introduction

  1. The University is committed to equality of opportunity in employment for all its staff and to developing work practices and human resource policies that support work-life balance. As a reflection of this the University has a range of additional leave options available to help employees to strike an appropriate balance between paid work and personal life.
  2. The aim of this policy is to inform employees and managers of employment rights relating to Special Leave and Other Leave and to provide a framework for the decision making process.

Leave for voluntary public duties

  1. The provisions described below are intended to clarify and extend as appropriate the statutory right of employees to take time off for public duties as set out in Section 50 of the Employment Rights Act 1996.
  2. Public duties as defined by the act are as follows: duties as a lay magistrate/justice of the peace, and membership of a local authority, a school governing body, a statutory tribunal, a police authority, a board of prison visitors or a prison visiting committee, a local health body, a local education body or the Environment Agency.
  3. The University has added membership of the Learning and Skills Council, Patient and Public Involvement (PPI) Forums and Parish and Town Councils to this list and may add other community or public duty commitments and other organisations in the future.
  4. Applications for leave from employees involving organisations not currently on the list should be presented for initial consideration to the Directorate of Human Resources via their line manager.
  5. Paid leave of up to 12 days a year will normally be granted for public duties, pro rata for staff work part time hours. This paid leave may be taken as whole or half days and will be granted subject to agreement in advance by the Dean of Faculty/Director in consultation with the Directorate of Human Resources.
  6. Any remuneration payable to the employee that is not intended for use in defraying expenses associated with the office concerned will need to be declared to the Directorate of Human Resources and may be deducted from the employee’s salary. The amount deducted will not exceed the employee’s standard rate of pay for the period of leave involved.
  7. The Directorate of Human Resources must be notified where such leave is agreed to arrange for the necessary administrative procedures to be completed.

Leave for jury service

  1. An employee receiving a summons to serve on a jury must report the fact to their Dean of Faculty/Director and the Directorate of Human Resources. Leave will be granted unless exemption from Jury Service is secured.
  2. An employee serving as a juror shall claim the allowance for loss of earnings to which they are entitled under the Jurors’ Allowances Regulations. Employees will be given a Certificate of Loss of Earnings from the court services which must be forwarded to Human Resources for completion.  
  3. On completion of jury service, employees must send Human Resources their remittance form to ensure that the administrative procedures for adjustment to salary are completed.  An amount equal to the allowance received will then be deducted from the employee’s pay.
  4. If an employee is not required to appear on a particular day/part-day, they should report for work as normal.

Leave for witness duty

  1. An employee receiving a summons to appear as a witness must report the fact to his/her Dean of Faculty/Director or line manager.
  2. An employee attending at court as a witness should receive forms to claim for loss of earnings from the court. An amount equal to the allowance received will be deducted from the employee’s pay.
  3. The Directorate of Human Resources must be informed in order to ensure that the administrative procedures for adjustment to salary are completed.
  4. In the event of an employee not being required to appear on a particular day/part-day, they should report for work as normal.

Leave for service in non-regular forces

  1. All volunteer members of the non-regular forces who attend summer camp are entitled to a one week addition to their annual leave entitlement.
  2. Staff with the basic leave entitlement of 25 days can apply for up to one weeks further paid leave for attendance at summer camp. Whether the additional leave is granted will depend on circumstances and is at the discretion of the Directorate of Human Resources.
  3. Volunteers may be required to undertake up to 16 days training in addition to summer camp - usually scheduled for Saturdays and Sundays. Where training falls on a normal working day, and the employee is unable to reschedule the event paid time off should be granted.
  4. Employees called up for compulsory military service under the Reserve Forces Act (1996) should receive two weeks notice and will receive a letter with their mobilisation papers that they must give to their line manager.
  5. The University cannot stop an employee who receives a call up from attending military service, but can appeal against the decision if they feel the employee’s absence will cause serious problems or harm to the University.
  6. A employee who has been called up for active duty has the right to be re-employed at any time during a six month period after the end of military service. They are entitled to return to the same position under the same terms and conditions. If it is not practicable for them to continue in the same job they must be offered a post with equivalent terms and conditions of employment
  7. A return to work plan, including the possibility of a phased return to work will be offered to volunteer employees who have been involved in active duty. The plan will be initiated by the employee's line manager and will be developed through discussions between the employee themselves, their line manager, their link HR manager and Occupational Health.
  8. Note: All requests for leave for this reason should be referred to the Directorate of Human Resources.

Unpaid leave

  1. If an employee wishes to take unpaid leave they should apply to their Dean of Faculty/Director. Granting such leave is at the discretion of the Dean of Faculty/Director and is subject to operational requirements.
  2. If the period of leave requested is greater than 3 months the employee should apply for time off using the University Career Break Policy.
  3. The Directorate of Human Resources must be notified where such leave is agreed to arrange for the necessary administrative procedures and forms to be completed.
  4. In some circumstances unpaid leave may not be the most appropriate arrangement for individual employees. In such instances alternative arrangements more appropriate to the individual case may be agreed between the employee and their Faculty/Directorate. Alternative arrangements could include leave in accordance with the University’s policies for Maternity Leave, Adoption Leave, Parental Leave, Paternity/Maternity Support Leave, Compassionate, Domestic Emergency and Bereavement Leave, Career Breaks or Flexible Working. The suitability of any of the above for any situation should be considered as a possible alternative if it is appropriate.

Conditions of service during a period of unpaid leave

  1. The period of the unpaid leave will count as continuous service.
  2. During a period of unpaid leave an employee will not accrue contractual annual leave but will accrue the statutory minimum leave entitlement. As the period is used in calculations of continuous service an employee may return to an increased annual leave entitlement according to their length of service, dependent upon the relevant conditions of service.
  3. Incremental salary progression will continue during a period of unpaid leave.
  4. Please see www.brookes.ac.uk/services/hr/reward/pensions/pension_family_policies.html
  5. A employee must notify the University if they undertake paid work for another organisation during a period of unpaid leave in order to avoid any conflicts of interest. Such consent will not be unreasonably withheld.
  6. Employees who take unpaid leave will be entitled to return to the same position under the same terms and conditions except in the situation that their post is made redundant whilst they are on leave.
  7. If, during an employee’s leave, their post is made redundant they will be offered suitable alternative work if it is available. The new role they are offered must be both suitable and appropriate for them to do in the circumstances and the capacity and place in which they are employed. The terms and conditions of employment must be no less favourable than those of their previous job.
  8. If the University has a suitable alternative vacancy available but fails to offer it to the employee the redundancy will be regarded as unfair dismissal. If the University offers the employee a suitable alternative vacancy and they unreasonably refuse it the employee may forfeit their right to a redundancy payment.
  9. An employee who feels they have been unfairly selected for redundancy on grounds related to their unpaid leave is entitled to make a complaint of unfair dismissal through the grievance procedure.

Time off for medical appointments

  1. Deans of Faculty/Directors have discretion to permit paid leave for employees to attend medical appointments.
  2. Employees should wherever possible try to arrange appointments for the beginning or end of the day or outside working hours.
  3. If the medical appointment is in the morning paid leave will normally be granted for the morning only but will include as a minimum reasonable time for travelling as well as the time for the appointment itself. If the medical appointment is in the afternoon and it is impracticable for a employee to return to the office before the end of the standard working day, paid leave will normally be granted until the end of the standard working day.
  4. Deans of Faculty/Directors will have discretion to vary either of these arrangements if they consider it appropriate.

Time off for medical screening

  1. Necessary time off, with pay, will be given for the purposes of medical screening.

Time off for blood donation

  1. Necessary time off, with pay, will be granted for the purposes of blood donation.

Study and examination leave

See Study Leave Policy

Time off to attend interviews

  1. Paid leave is only granted for the purpose of attending interviews within Oxford Brookes University . Anyone wishing to attend external interviews must do so by booking annual or flexi leave as appropriate.

Time off while under notice of redundancy

  1. Employees who have at least two years' continuous service and who are under notice of compulsory redundancy have a statutory right to take reasonable time off with pay, during working hours, to look for work or to undertake training for future employment.
  2. The University has extended this right to all staff under notice of redundancy whether or not they have two years continuous service and regardless of whether the redundancy is compulsory or voluntary.
  3. Applications for time off must be made to the employees line manager giving as much notice as possible.

Time off for trade union activities

See Trade Unions

Recording of any additional leave

  1. All types and all periods of leave must be applied for and approved by the appropriate line manager.
  2. All types and all periods of special leave granted should be recorded on an employee’s leave card.

Refusal of leave

  1. The University reserves the right to refuse an application for leave or time off if it is necessary to maintain appropriate levels of service. Such a decision should be reasonable in all of the circumstances.
  2. If a reasonable request conflicts with the essential requirements of the University or is otherwise likely to be rejected, the line manager should consult with the Directorate of Human Resources to ensure corporate consistency before the decision is made. If leave is refused the employee must be informed and be given the reasons for the decision to turn down their request.
  3. Staff who feel that they have been unreasonably refused time off or who feel that they have been victimised for requesting time off should, in the first instance raise the matter with their line manager and inform their link HR manager. They can also consult with their union and have the right to raise the matter through the grievance procedure.
  4. Any complaints will be recorded by the Directorate of Human Resources and reported to the Work-Life Balance Steering Group. They will be monitored, with the aim of bringing about consistency between Faculties and Directorates in the way that policies related to work-life balance are implemented throughout the University.

 

updated May 2011