We’ve had several members contact us with concerns about messages they have received from managers related to annual leave. UCU raised these matters most strongly with HR and a clarification has now been issued to managers, but we’re still receiving examples of erroneous emails being sent by managers.
While the UCU officers agree people should generally take their leave during the year (and in many cases the university should reduce our workloads to allow us to take our leave), it is quite normal to be allowed to carry 5 days. It does need to be agreed by the head of school or service but members should expect a good reason if there is an objection; there should not be an unreasonable objection.
The policy for academic and academic-related (professional and managerial) staff is:
Unused leave entitlement may not normally be carried over from one year to another except that up to one week’s leave (pro-rata) may be carried forward for up to 3 months after the end of the leave year by agreement with the Dean of Faculty/Head of School.(Policy downloadable from the page on academic and academic related (professional and managerial) staff annual leave entitlement)
HR managers have recently been referring to staff only being allowed to carry five days’ leave “in exceptional circumstances”. That restriction does not exist in the university policy and is a misunderstanding. It is a normal right of our contracts to be able to carry five days leave which the head of school or service should not unreasonably object to.
For some members, depending on their job roles and how their leave impacts on others, it is foreseeable that if a much greater number of people than usual wish to carry over leave into next year that heads of schools or services may have good reason to object to some leave notifications. However for many of our members our carrying over those days will have little impact on others and objecting to that notification of intent would be unreasonable.
Many staff have also been told to give notice of intention to take leave by 17 July. Senior HR managers tell us this was a misinterpretation of an email asking that managers discuss annual leave with staff by 17 July. There is no specific notice period for leave specified in the university policy, only that leave will not be unreasonably withheld if adequate notice is given and operational requirements permit.
In summary, take leave this year if you can, but if you wish to carry some and this is unreasonably refused contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will arrange a UCU caseworker to support you with this.