Benefits Grades 6 and above
Our generous annual leave scheme entitles colleagues on Grades 6 and above to take up to 26 days annual leave per year (pro rata for part-time colleagues). In addition to this, you will be entitled to public holidays and additional days (normally 6 in total) when the University is closed around Easter and Christmas.
And if this still isn’t enough, there is the option to purchase an additional 10 days annual leave each year (subject to approval and pro rata for part-time colleagues).
Members of staff have the opportunity to join a pension scheme sponsored by the University. The scheme is funded by contributions made by both members and the University with the University paying the majority of the cost. Under current HM Revenue and Customs rules, pension scheme members receive tax relief on their contributions to a registered pension scheme and this has the effect of reducing the cost of joining a scheme to members. In addition, the University operates a salary exchange scheme called Pensions+ which is a more effective way of paying into your pension scheme.
Employees on grade 6 and above can join USS (the Universities Superannuation Scheme). USS is a hybrid scheme with benefits built up on both a defined benefit and a defined contribution basis (if pay exceeds a certain level).
As of 1 January 2024, the contribution rates for USS have changed. Members of USS now pay 6.1% of their salary in to USS as contributions towards the cost of providing benefits, and the University now contribute 14.5% as the employer. When staff join USS, they will automatically qualify for life cover equal to three times their salary so long as they remain an active member paying into USS.
From 1 April 2024, the following changes are due to come in to the scheme:
- The rate at which USS members can build up a pension in their Retirement Income Builder (up to the salary threshold) will increase from 1/85th of their salary to 1/75th.
- The salary threshold will increase and the new threshold amount will be confirmed closer to the time. This means that members will be able to build a greater portion of defined benefits in their Retirement Income Builder.
- All USS members’ defined benefit pensions in the Retirement Income Builder will still continue to increase annually in line with Consume Price Index (CPI) inflation but up to a higher cap of 10% rather than 2.5%. This will be applied based on certain parameters.
- If you are eligible and have any period of active membership in the period 1 April 2022 to 31 March 2024, and you do not retire before 1 April 2024, you’ll receive a £215 uplift to your annual pension, plus an associated £645 retirement lump sum (subject to certain criteria). If you’ve retired and meet the criteria, you’ll get a pension uplift of £241 per year. See the USS one-off uplift FAQs for the criteria.
Read more about the changes and what they mean to you on the USS website.
Relocation and Visa Financial Assistance
New colleagues may be able to receive assistance to relocate to Reading and for their visa expenses (if applicable). For more information and eligibility criteria please see our relocation, visa loan and visa expenses pages.
Reward and Recognition
The University encourages, recognises and values the hard work, commitment and achievements of all staff and has a suite of arrangements for rewarding staff which include:
- Automatic pay rises each year within your grade band (grades 6 to 8 inclusive)
- Nationally negotiated salary increases, normally effective in August each year
- Celebrating Success Vouchers - an on-line scheme to provide immediate recognition for a job well done or for demonstrating positive professional behaviours
- Lump Sum Awards - provide recognition to any member of staff whose exceptional contribution on a one-off or short-term basis has been outstanding and is worthy of particular note
- Additional pay awards – to reward staff who have consistently performed well, over a significant period of time, in all areas of their jobs and who have demonstrated exceptional performance considerably above what may be reasonably expected for their grade, and where there is a reasonable expectation to believe that it will continue to be so.
Our Green Flag Award winning Whiteknights campus is not far from Reading town centre. It has its own bus stop, serving Reading Buses, a free park and ride from Mereoak and Thames Valley Park and with on-site permit parking available.
It is set in 130 hectares of beautiful parkland, so you’ll find plenty of places to relax during your breaks. Within the parkland there is a large lake, teeming with birdlife, and edged by a path which provides for a pleasant lunchtime walk. There is also a small botanical garden, known as the Harris Garden, which provides an alternative area for walking or sitting on one of the many benches located there.
Our London Road campus is one of the University’s original campuses and is home to the Great Hall, which is used for concerts and graduation ceremonies, the Museum of English Rural Life and a bar/cafe that serves hot and cold food. This campus is within walking distance of Reading town centre and Reading mainline and Elizabeth line train stations, but also has on-site permit parking available if required.
Home to one of Europe’s top business schools, our stunning Greenlands campus is situated on the banks of the River Thames near Henley and boasts wonderful views, offices and on-site permit parking for staff.
Schemes such as Cycle2Work, travel loans and discounts are just some of the packages staff can benefit from.
Personal and Career Development Opportunities
The University provides a wide range of learning opportunities aiming to help you to reach your full potential. We offer a wide range of learning and development opportunities including classroom and online training, tailored development support, apprenticeships, research staff development, leadership and management development, coaching and mentoring.
Staff can take advantage of the on-site sports facilities at the SportsPark, with a wide range of classes to choose from and use of the gym before, during or after work. Find out more about SportsPark membership.
You will find several eateries and cafés on all our campuses along with a traditional pub on the Whiteknights campus, where staff can enjoy food and drinks, boasting a variety of fresh ingredients. For more information on our Menus for Change and other sustainability initiatives, please see Sustainability – Hospitality (hospitalityuor.co.uk).
As an environmentally conscious university, our Park Eat and The Square venues are home to a sustainable market featuring vegetarian and vegan food, a bring-your-own-container service, environmentally friendly cleaning products, and other ethically sourced products.
Whiteknights campus regularly hosts an international street food market. With vegan, vegetarian and gluten-free options, the market caters to all dietary requirements. During term-time there is also a weekly fruit and vegetable market on the Whiteknights campus.
We also have a newly refurbished Co-op supermarket, where you can stock up on essentials or grab lunch on the go with a handy cash-point located just outside the store.
The Students’ Union building also hosts a Korean food store, Seoul Plaza, a University of Reading merchandise store, and Mail Boxes etc.
Diversity and Inclusion
The university stands by recruiting, supporting, and developing staff from the widest variety of backgrounds. You can check out the personal experiences of some of our colleagues on Faces of Reading pages.
You can read more on the university’s emphasis on equality, our strategies, charter marks and achievements.
Staff networks and groups
Building a staff community is important to us and so at the University of Reading, there are various staff networks that you can join, including the BAME network, LGBT+, Parent and Family network, Staff Disability network, Women@Reading and Women’s Springboard network. All networks welcome new members and tend to share ideas, advice and organise events.
Whether you are interested in crafts, bread-making, singing or sport, there are many staff groups that meet to enjoy their hobbies and talents.
There is also an opportunity for staff to join in volunteering groups, such as litter picking or fundraising. The Celebration of Volunteering event brings together colleagues, students, alumni and community partners to reward, showcase and celebrate those who have given up their time to make a difference on campus and in our local community.
Health and Wellbeing at Work
The University has a strong commitment to employee health and wellbeing. We recognise that a good working environment can positively impact on the health and happiness of our staff and aim to provide a workplace that embraces inclusivity and flexibility and provides everyone with the opportunity to manage their time and their commitments in the best way that they can.
Employees have access to an Employee Assistance Programme, which offers a free, independent advice line for staff and their families. This covers various topics including Family, Health, Legal advice, Health and financial support.
In addition to this, the University offers the opportunity for Flexible or Smart Working/Hybrid working arrangements where possible.
Our in-house Occupational Health team are on-hand to support all employees with their health and wellbeing if required and our generous occupational sick pay gives peace of mind if you cannot work temporarily.
The Staff Forum discusses and seeks practical solutions to improving your working experience, including bringing forward your questions, ideas or concerns to senior management. Its monthly sessions alternate between virtual Teams events and in-person drop-ins and offer advice and information on opportunities and issues affecting colleagues.
There is also the opportunity to meet and feedback directly to the Vice Chancellor at his drop-in surgeries!