UCU reps and senior HR managers are still having to deal with localised re-emergences of a wrong interpretation of the policy for carrying up to a week’s annual leave into the following year.
This is a hang-over from a dubious spin put on the policy in the early stages of the covid pandemic, with the phrase “exceptional circumstances” repeated again and again by people in HR and by heads of many schools and services. (“Exceptional circumstances” is not mentioned in the policy.)
It arose because some senior managers feared that if significantly more staff than usual carried a week’s leave over from 2019-2020, in the hope of being able to use to go away on holiday if covid restrictions relaxed later, it would have a significant detrimental impact on the 2020-2021 autumn term. The informal line apparently being given to line managers was that while the policy hadn’t changed they should try to keep numbers to a minimum by only give their agreement in exceptional circumstances. HR and senior managers have tended to dress this as wanting to ensure everyone takes their leave for the good of their health – and of course that is in general a good thing which no-one would disagree with – but the driver for that was clearly a fear of a significant detrimental impact in the autumn of 2020.
We’re long past all that. No-one is spinning that “exceptional circumstances” line any more centrally, only a few line managers who haven’t been kept informed.
You can download the University of Leeds annual leave policy for academic and academic-related (‘professional and managerial’) staff from the university staff pages.
You can carry up to one week’s leave (pro-rata) for up to 3 months after the end of the leave year by agreement with the dean of faculty or head of school or service. As with any other request, if it’s refused it should be for a genuine reason. The onus is not on you to argue exceptional circumstances but on the dean or head of school or service to explain why if they can’t accommodate the reasonable request.
If you would like support with challenging a decision you feel is unfair, see leedsucu.org.uk/supporting-each-other
This page was last updated on 13 September 2021