We recognise that everyone has unique responsibilities and commitments outside of work. Whether it's caring for a loved one, taking family leave, pursuing further education, or simply taking an opportunity to rest, we want to provide you with the flexibility to manage your work in a way that suits your lifestyle whilst continuing to support our mission in excellence in education and research.

Find out about the recent employment policy changes to flexible working, paternity leave neonatal leave and carer’s leave and how they may benefit you.

In April 2024, the following employment policy changes came into effect:

Flexible working requests

On 6 April 2024, four key changes to flexible working legislation were introduced:

  1. Employees are now able to request to work flexibly from the first day of employment (a ‘day one’ right). The University has been accepting flexible working applications from the first day of employment since 2020, therefore this aspect of the legislative changes has no impact on the operation of our flexible working policy.
  2. Employees will be able to make two requests to work flexibly in a rolling 12 month period, rather than being limited to only one request.
  3. It is no longer mandatory for employees to explain what effect their request to work flexibly will have on the University.
  4. As a line manager you must now have dealt with flexible working requests within two months of receipt rather than three (which was the previous provision). Full details can be found in our revised Flexible Working policy.

It is important that People and Culture are informed of all flexible working requests. This is the case even if after early conversations it is decided that the request cannot be supported. In cases where the request is not supported, please ensure the rationale aligns with one of the legal reasons as detailed in our policy.

Paternity leave

Where the expected week of childbirth, or expected date of placement in an adoption situation, is after 6 April 2024, employees taking paternity leave are now able to split their leave into two blocks of one week (pro rata for part-time employees) instead of taking it all in one period. Paternity leave can now be taken within 52 weeks of the child’s birth. Employees must give notice of their wish to take paternity leave at least 15 weeks before the expected week of childbirth, or date of placement in an adoption situation, followed by at least 28 days’ notice of each period of leave. Full details can be found in our revised Family Leave policy.

Neonatal leave

This is a new family leave provision, that sits alongside our other family-friendly benefits. The University has taken the proactive step of introducing neonatal leave entitlement in advance of legislation that is expected to come into effect in 2025. This leave is a day one right and will provide support for parents of babies who require neonatal care for at least 7 days, within the first 28 days of birth. For those employees who have completed 12 month’s service at the time of the child’s birth, this will be paid leave. By introducing this leave early, the University wants to encourage working parents to extend their time off with their baby when they are out of hospital instead of using their parental leave. Full details can be found in our revised Family Leave policy (.pdf).

Carer’s leave

From 6 April 2024, employers are required to introduce a procedure enabling employees to take time off as carer’s leave. The University already has a well-established procedure for employees to request and take carer’s leave, which includes up to 5 days (pro rata for part-time staff) of care leave with full pay within any 12 month rolling period. Employees may also be granted up to a further 5 days unpaid care leave within the same 12 month rolling period. The University can also grant long-term care leave, which is unpaid, up to a maximum of 13 calendar weeks in any12 month period.

Carers are people who spend unpaid time looking after, or supporting, a relative, child, partner, neighbour or friend who is frail, ill, has a physical or learning disability, mental health problems or substance misuse problems. Full details can be found in our Special Leave policy (.pdf).