Work-life balance

The University is committed to supporting our staff in achieving a healthy work-life balance.

A good work-life balance benefits your health and wellbeing, which also helps you be more productive and satisfied at work.

We recognise that our employees may have family, personal and public duties that can sometimes impact their working lives. All staff will have the occasional need to be absent from work to attend to personal or domestic emergencies.

We have developed a set of policies to help you balance your career with life outside work, offering support and flexibility at all stages of your life. You can find summaries and a full list of our work-life balance policies on this page.

Work-life balance is for everyone, no matter what gender, age, pay grade, personal circumstances, or the number of hours you work.

Flexible working

Our working week is typically 35 hours. Flexible working options include:

  • Working from home for part of your working week
  • Part-time hours and job shares
  • Flexible working hours (starting and finishing at different times on different days)
  • Term-time, seasonal, annualised or compressed hours.

You can ask to change your arrangements as your circumstances change.

Leave and absence

Our holiday allowance and other options for time away from work include:

  • 23 days of annual leave of your choosing for pay grades A-I, rising to 25 days after 5 years
  • 25 days of annual leave of your choosing for pay grades J and above
  • 7 additional University closure days
  • 8 public (bank) holidays
  • Paid leave for public duties and volunteering
  • Career break scheme
  • Time off for medical appointments

Home and family

We have a group of policies around home and family life, including:

  • Generous maternity, adoption and surrogacy leave options
  • Time off to attend antenatal and adoption appointments
  • Option to take paid shared parental leave 
  • Up to two weeks paternity/partner leave
  • Foster leave for long-term placements
  • Leave to support fertility treatment
  • 5 days paid dependants/carers leave
  • Emergency domestic leave to make immediate arrangements on the day if you have a fire, burglary or other domestic emergency.

Work-life balance policies

SubjectWhat we offerhidden keywords
Adoption and surrogacy leave and pay
  • You can take up to one year (52 weeks) of leave, regardless of how long you've been at the University.
  • You can take this if you are an adoptive parent, a dual approved prospective adopter or an intended parent in a surrogacy arrangement. 
  • You're eligible for Occupational Adoption Pay (OAP) if: 
    • For adopting parents, if you've been at the University for 26 continuous weeks at the week in which you're notified that you have been matched with a child.
    • For Parental Order parents in a surrogacy arrangement, if you've been at the University for 26 continuous weeks at the 15th week before the birth of the baby.
  • You can choose between the following 2 options: 

Occupational Adoption Pay Option 1

    • 8 weeks of full pay (the first 8 weeks of Statutory Adoption Pay, 6 weeks at the higher rate and 2 weeks at the lower rate, which the University enhances to full pay)
    • 16 weeks of half pay plus lower rate Statutory Adoption Pay
    • 15 weeks of lower rate Statutory Adoption Pay
    • 13 weeks of unpaid leave.

Occupational Adoption Pay Option 2

    • 16 weeks of full pay (the first 16 weeks of Statutory Adoption Pay, 6 weeks at the higher rate and 10 weeks at the lower rate, which the University enhances to full pay)
    • 23 weeks of lower rate Statutory Adoption Pay
    • 13 weeks of unpaid leave.
  • You may want to consider shared parental leave in conjunction with adoption and surrogacy leave.
maternity, home, family
Annual leave and public holidays
  • 23 days of annual leave of your choosing for pay grades A-I, rising to 25 days after 5 years.
  • 25 days of annual leave of your choosing for pay grades J and above
  • 7 additional University closure days
  • 8 public holidays
bank holiday
Antenatal and adoption appointments
  • All pregnant employees can have time off for antenatal care prescribed by a doctor, midwife or health visitor.
  • Adoptive parents are also entitled to time off to attend adoption appointments. 
maternity, home, family
Bereavement leave
  • You can have paid time off at times of family bereavement.
  • You can have paid time off to attend funerals of extended family, close friends or colleagues.
compassionate
Career break scheme
  • You can apply for a 3 to 12 month unpaid career break, after you've been at the University for 3 continuous years.   
Gap year, leave
Carer / dependant leave
  • You can have up to 5 days paid time off each year to provide an immediate caring response to an emergency or sudden unforeseen caring need.
parent, home, family
Childcare voucher scheme and tax-free childcare
  • You can participate in the government’s tax-free childcare scheme if you are eligible. 
nursery, children
Emergency domestic leave
  • If you have a fire, burglary or other domestic emergency, you can have paid time off on the day to make immediate arrangements.
 
Engagements outside work
  • External engagements can benefit your professional development and help the University contribute to the academic and wider community. 
  • If you work for another employer, our conflict of interest: outside work policy will support you in ensuring that both your needs and the University needs are met
 
Fertility treatment
  • You can have up to 3 days of paid leave each year to receive or recover from intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilisation (IVF) treatment.
maternity, pregnant
Flexible working
  • Our working week is typically 35 hours.
  • All staff can request flexible working.
  • Flexible working arrangements include:
    • working remotely or from home for part of your working week
    • part-time hours
    • flexible working hours (starting and finishing at different times on different days)
    • job shares
    • term-time, seasonal, annualised or compressed hours.
  • You can ask to change your flexible working arrangement as your circumstances change. 
nursery, childcare, hybrid, flexibility
Foster carers
  • You can have 2 days of paid leave for each long-term fostering placement, up to a maximum of 4 days each year.
child, adoption, home, family
Jury service and attending court as a witness
  • You can have paid leave for the duration of your jury service or if you need to attend court as a witness.
 court, public duties
Maternity leave and pay
  • All pregnant employees can take up to one year (52 weeks) of maternity leave, regardless of how long you've been at the University.
  • You're eligible for Occupational Maternity Pay (OMP) if you've been at the University for 26 continuous weeks, into the 15th week before the baby is due. 
  • You can choose between the following 2 options:

Occupational Maternity Pay Option 1

    • 8 weeks of full pay (the first 8 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay, 6 weeks at the higher rate and 2 weeks at the lower rate, which the University enhances to equal full pay)
    • 16 weeks of half pay plus lower rate SMP
    • 15 weeks of lower rate SMP
    • 13 weeks of unpaid leave.

Occupational Maternity Pay Option 2

    • 16 weeks of full pay (the first 16 weeks of Statutory Maternity Pay, 6 weeks at the higher rate and 10 weeks at the lower rate, which the University enhances to equal full pay)
    • 23 weeks of lower rate SMP
    • 13 weeks of unpaid leave.
  • You may want to consider shared parental leave in conjunction with maternity leave.
baby, child, home, family
Medical appointments
  • You can have reasonable time off to attend doctor or specialist medical appointments, including counselling, for an underlying physical or mental health condition. 
  • You should arrange routine medical appointments (including doctor and dentist) outside work hours whenever possible. If this is not possible, you should make up the time. 
 illness, hospital, sick
Menopause
  • We have guidance and support for managing menopausal symptoms at work. 
 
Parental bereavement leave
  • Two weeks of paid bereavement leave for parents who suffer the loss of a child under age 18, or a stillbirth from 24 weeks of pregnancy.
compassionate, death
Parental leave
  • For each of your children, you can have up to 18 weeks of unpaid leave to care for your child before their 18th birthday.
  • This is available after you have been at the University for one year. 
 home, family
Partner / paternity leave
  • You can have up to 2 weeks of paid consecutive leave when your child is born or placed with you for adoption. 
 maternity, home, family
Public duties
  • You can have up to 18 days of paid leave each year for public duties. 
  • These may include Justice of the Peace, Local Authority Councillor, School Governor. 
 holiday
Returning carers scheme
  • We offer a funding award to help re-establish your research after you have returned from extended leave due to caring responsibilities.
  • This is available for academic staff across all faculties.
 maternity, academic
Shared parental leave
  • You can have up to 50 weeks of leave and 37 weeks of pay, shared between you and your partner, if the pregnant partner or main adopter brings their maternity or adoption leave to an early end.
  • This applies to birth and adopted children.
Maternity, paternity, home, family
Study leave and leave of absence
  • You can request time off for training to improve your effectiveness at work or improve the University's performance. 
 development
Volunteering
  • You can have 1 day of paid leave each year to take part in volunteering activities.
Voluntary work, holiday, 
Volunteer reserve forces
  • You can have 5 days of paid leave to attend training exercises, including summer camps.
Royal, armed forces, military, army, maritime, naval, marines, auxiliary air, holiday