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Unplanned leave

The University recognises that staff will occasionally need to take leave from work at short notice as a result of unforeseen occurrences or personal emergencies. In order to enable staff to deal with these situations the University makes flexible provision for employees to take the necessary time off work. When taking leave in accordance with these provisions it is essential to communicate fully with your line manager as to the nature and duration of the leave.

Common types of unplanned absence are:

Further information on Absence and Unplanned Leave:

Compassionate leave

Compassionate leave is likely to be granted when a close family member or friend dies, is taken seriously ill or has a serious accident. Under these circumstances the University will grant paid leave. The amount of paid leave will be dependent on the particular circumstances of the case.

Absence on compassionate grounds should be referred in the first instance to your Head of School or equivalent, who will refer to the relevant HR Partner/Adviser for guidance, if necessary. 

Illness or injury

For further details see Sickness absence.  

Other domestic emergency

Some types of domestic emergency may be covered elsewhere e.g.  Emergency leave to care for dependents (PDF - 109KB)

Other types of emergency situation may arise that mean an employee may not be able to attend work, e.g. a burglary, flood, fire, other domestic emergency, etc. In such circumstances, the employee is expected to consider all options that will minimise the time away from work, but the University will aim to be flexible to allow the employee reasonable time off, normally unpaid, to respond to the situation. 

Personal appointments (emergency)

Personal appointments such as a visit to the doctor, dentist or hospital should, where ever possible, be made outside of working hours. However, the University recognises that in an emergency this may not be practicable. You will need to inform your line manager as soon as the appointment is made. Under some circumstances line managers may request sight of an appointment card.  

Transport problems

Other situations may include the inability to get to work for one day or more or delayed arrival at work or early departure from work due to car breakdown, bad weather (i.e. heavy snow affecting transport), or delayed or cancelled transport services (i.e. flight delays on returning from holiday, industrial action affecting public transport). Alternative means of transport should always be explored to minimise absence from work. 

Absence reporting procedure

During any period of absence employees must always follow the Absence reporting procedure
(PDF - 80KB)
. Failure to follow this procedure could result in disciplinary action, see .

As stated above, unplanned absence will often be unpaid. You should be aware that any periods of unpaid leave will affect your Pension contributions. Where possible and in advance of taking a period of unpaid leave you should contact the Pensions Office for further advice.

Line Managers should record all planned and unplanned leave locally. Unpaid leave must be reported to HR Operations using the Unpaid leave form ( Word - 66KB).

These guidelines are an outline of the University's approach to handling situations where unplanned absence from work is required. 

Payment for unplanned absence

There is no statutory right for unplanned absence to be paid and in most circumstances such absence will be unpaid. Employees are not generally expected to cover unplanned absence by using their paid annual leave entitlement, although the use of annual leave may be appropriate in some circumstances and an employee may request this.

Whether unplanned absence will be paid or unpaid, whether the employee will be allowed to take the time from their annual leave entitlement, or given the opportunity to make up the time by working additional hours on another day within a reasonable timeframe, will be at the discretion of the Head of School or equivalent, in conjunction with the relevant HR Partner/Advisor if appropriate.  

Employees are encouraged to discuss with their manager as early as possible any need to take time off work, so that an appropriate agreement can be reached regarding the situation.

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Should you require further information on Unplanned Leave then please refer to your HR Partner/Advisor

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