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Supporting staff returning from parental leave

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Across the University we want to do the best possible job of supporting our staff taking maternity, adoption or shared parental leave (SPL), in particular helping returning parents to get up to speed and settle back in.

Recognising that the return to work can be challenging and that it makes great business sense to invest in our returning staff, the University agreed in 2015 significant investment around maternity/adoption/SPL leave which comes fully into effect from this academic year.

"This investment has two components," says Simon Chandler-Wilde, Dean for Diversity and Inclusion. "Firstly, the University Executive Board (UEB) agreed that the costs of maternity/adoption/shared parental leave for all staff across the University are born from 1 August 2018 by new central funding, so that there is no negative financial impact on School or Function budgets from this leave, and funds are available to make appropriate arrangements to cover workloads in these parental leave periods.

"Secondly, UEB requires from the same date that funding is made available by Schools and Functions to support staff returning back to work, in a manner to be determined via discussion with the returner."

It is recommended that line managers and staff start discussing how best to support the transition back to the workplace before the period of leave starts. Consideration will be given to, for example, requests for attendance at relevant training courses or conferences, relief from teaching for a period to get back up to speed with research or other developments, or in fact any other support that may be identified by the member of staff and agreed by their Line Manager as potentially relevant.

To get a feel for how central funding can be used by a School or Function to support its workload during the leave period, and then support the individual returning to work, we spoke to Dr Eugene Mohareb in the School of the Built Environment who has recently returned from SPL.

Eugene Mohareb with his partner and baby"My partner and I decided that I would take three months of shared parental leave to further develop the bond between me and baby, so that he wouldn't always be seeking out his mum for comfort and we could visit family overseas," said Eugene. "We took two months of leave with the three of us, and one month where it was just me and baby. After I returned, I was able to ease back into my role within my School, as a teaching fellow had been assigned to cover my module while I was away, who also completed the associated marking even after I had returned."

Further details about these arrangements and the size of the funding available can be found on the HR website.

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