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Leave for Domestic and Personal Reasons

This Policy is only applicable to UCL staff seconded to Nazarbayev University, Astana, Kazakhstan

1. INTRODUCTION

The aim of this document is establish a clear policy for leave for domestic and personal reasons in order to ensure consistency of approach in line with the employment legislation of the Republic of Kazakhstan and UCL's commitment to good employment practice.

The provisions within this policy are not exhaustive and if any requests for special leave fall outside this document, managers or employees should refer the matter to the HR team with responsibility for advising their department.

Where specific levels of provision are quoted in this document, these should be adjusted on a pro-rata basis for part-time employees where appropriate.

Details of other leave such as annual leave, sick leave (temporary disability), maternity leave can be found at here.

2. MEDICAL APPOINTMENTS - Hospital, doctor, dental appointments

Hospital, doctor or dentist appointments if for part of a working day should not be counted as sick leave. Such appointments should be arranged out of working hours if at all possible or so as to give minimal disruption to the working day. Time taken during working hours for the above appointments will be paid and the dates and times of the appointments should be recorded by the department but not classified as sick leave. When requesting leave, the individual should provide their manager with appropriate documentation confirming the appointment where appropriate. When the appointment requires a whole day's absence, this will be recorded as sickness absence. Appointments relating to surgery or dentistry for cosmetic purposes should be arranged outside working hours or taken as annual leave.

Ante-Natal Care

An employee who is pregnant and is receiving ante-natal care on the advice of a registered practitioner has the right to paid time off with pay for the appointment. The individual should provide evidence of the appointment and (following the first appointment) produce a certificate stating that she is pregnant.

Paid leave for parenthood classes is at the manager's discretion. If classes are not available out of normal working hours, requests for such leave should be considered favourably. Post-natal care and fertility treatment should be treated the same as hospital, doctor and dental appointments.

Cancer screening

Members of staff will be granted time off for the purposes of cancer screening where they cannot make visits in their own time.

3. BEREAVEMENT LEAVE

Bereavement leave applies regardless of length of service. Employees may be granted up to a total of 5 days paid time off following the death of any of the people listed below:

  • own child
  • next-of-kin or nominated next-of-kin
  • partners (including same-sex partners)
  • parents
  • parents of partner, if the employee is responsible for funeral arrangements

Employees may be granted up to 2 days paid time off following the death of an immediate close relative not listed above.
These provisions are not meant to limit the manager's discretion as each request for such leave will need to be judged on the circumstances of the cases. For example some people may have been raised by their grandparents, aunt/uncle, brother/sister and therefore a longer leave period would be in order.

If the employee has to travel to another country (e.g. where the funeral is to take place or where their family are) this may be extended up to a further 5 days paid time off (i.e. a maximum total of 10 days). Such cases will be treated individually according to the distance to be travelled.
Where appropriate, employees may be granted up to 1 day's paid leave to attend a funeral of a close friend or other relative. Managers will be sympathetic to individual requests for annual leave to cover other contingencies relating to bereavement.

4 PARENTAL LEAVE

Employees caring for a child are entitled to unpaid child care leave until the child reaches the age of three years. Eligibility for child care leave is restricted to the mother or the father of the child, to a parent bringing up a child on his/her own, to a grandparent, other relative or guardian actually bringing up the child, to an employee adopting a newborn(s). Parental leave may be taken as a single block, in blocks of one week, or other configuration.

The application for adoption or child care leave must be made in writing to their manager giving as much notice as reasonably possible, but at least 21 days before the date they wish their leave to begin.

The employee should give the following information when requesting leave:

  • their responsibility or expected responsibility for the relevant child;
  • the child's birth certificate, expected birth date or, in the case of a child who was placed with the employee for adoption, the date on which the placement began.

Employees are entitled to return to work to the same job as prior to their absence and on return the whole of the period of absence shall be regarded as continuous employment with UCL.

Where both parents work for UCL, both parents can apply for leave under this provision, sharing the entitlement. For part-time employees, leave entitlement will be calculated on a pro rata basis. An employee taking parental leave from UCL cannot undertake paid employment with any other employer, during the period of parental leave. Superannuation payments will be suspended during periods of unpaid parental leave.
The employment contract will continue during parental leave. The employee will preserve their continuity of pension rights (as appropriate for those on unpaid leave status). The employee should contact the Pensions Manager at f.needham@ucl.ac.uk for options regarding superannuation during parental leave.

Managers are required to keep records of all parental leave taken by their staff and to forward copies of the written confirmation of periods of parental leave, to the HR Division for monitoring purposes.

Paternity/Partner's leave

Paid leave of up to 20 working days may be taken in the period from 3 months before the expected week of confinement to 3 months after the date of birth by the mother's partner (or the date of adoption in the case of adoptive parents). Paternity/partner's leave does not have to be taken at one time and can be spread over the 6 month period. When requesting this leave, the individual should provide their manager with appropriate documentation confirming the expected date of confinement or adoption. There is no service requirement for entitlement to this leave provision.

Partners' can include same-sex partners.

5. ADOPTION LEAVE

Employees adopting a newly born child shall be granted paid leave for the period from the date of adoption until expiry of fifty six calendar days from the birth date of the child.

Employees applying for adoption leave should inform their manager, in writing giving as much notice as possible that they have been agreed as an adoptive parent; and provide a letter of confirmation from the Adoption Agency.

If the child's placement ends during the adoption leave period, the adopter may be granted up to a total of 5 working days paid time off after the placement stops.

Where both adoptive parents work for UCL, only one parent can be granted adoption leave although consideration may be given for the entitlement to be shared.

The partner of someone adopting a child is entitled to 10 days paid paternity/partner's leave. An adoptive parent may also apply for unpaid parental leave (see section 4 above).

6. SURROGACY

The birth mother of a child will be covered by the same provisions as outlined in the maternity policy. Any member of staff who is the intended main carer of a child born from a surrogate mother is entitled to the same provision for adoption leave in #5 above. Documentary evidence of the surrogacy agreement, and the expected date of childbirth by the surrogate mother, will need to be provided to your departmental contact in the Human Resources Operations team .

7. CHILD FEEDING BREAKS

Parents with children under the age of eighteen months are entitled to additional paid breaks to feed their child(ren) once every three hours. For a single child each break shall be 20 minutes and for more than one child each break shall be an hour.
At the request of the employee the breaks may be added to the lunch break or may be consolidated and taken at the beginning or the end of the working day.

8. FOSTERING

Where an employee fosters on a regular basis or is a 'professional' foster carer they are not entitled to the adoption leave agreement or the paternity/partner's leave or parental leave, other than in exceptional circumstances. In the case of a request under these circumstances the Head of the Centre will consult with the HR Division for advice.

9. CARERS' LEAVE

Introduction

The purpose of Carer's Leave is to give every employee, regardless of length of service, a reasonable amount of time off work "to take action which is necessary" to help when a dependant gives birth, falls ill or is injured or assaulted. A "dependant" in this context means spouse or civil partner, partner (including same-sex partner), child or parent of the employee or any member of the employee's household who is not their employee, tenant, lodger or boarder. Where time off is to take necessary action to help when a dependant falls ill or is injured or assaulted, the definition extends to "any person who reasonably relies on the employee for assistance" on such an occasion. That means an individual for whom the employee is the only person who can help - for example, an elderly neighbour with no relatives or other neighbours, who is living alone and who falls and breaks a leg. In all cases, the right is limited to the amount of time that is reasonable in the circumstances of the particular case. In most cases, whatever the problem, one or two days will be the most that is needed to deal with the immediate issues and sort out longer-term arrangements if necessary.

Who is eligible for Carers' leave?

Carers' leave will be granted to all employees, regardless of length of service. The policy applies to all staff who have caring responsibilities for dependants such as

  • employee's own child(ren)
  • next of kin or nominated next-of-kin
  • partners
  • parents/parents of partners

Staff may be granted up to 5 days Carer's leave with full pay within any 12 month period. They may be granted up to a further 5 days unpaid leave per year. This will not affect annual or sick leave provisions and staff are not required to exhaust their annual leave before special leave is granted.

When the Carer's Leave policy applies

Staff have a wide range of caring responsibilities and are entitled to receive Carers' leave for the following:

     Illness of anyone dependent on the employee where their situation requires the employee to look after them;
     Unforeseeable breakdown of normal caring arrangements for any of the above (e.g. sick childminder, closure of school, nursery, day centre or other regular form of provision);
     Accompaniment of a dependant to a GP, dentist, clinic or hospital;
     Attendance at appointments concerning the welfare and care of above (e.g. child guidance, making arrangements for resettlement of people in long-term sheltered accommodation/nursing home/psychiatric care etc.).

This list in not exhaustive, and special leave may be granted for other purposes which fall under the spirit of this agreement. Advice is available from the HR Division.

Applying for Carers' leave

Where an unforeseen situation arises, the employee should contact their manager as early as possible to inform them of the problem and request leave. Where an employee has to accompany someone to a planned appointment, they should give their manager as much notice as possible.
In the event that a manager is concerned at the level of leave being applied for and where they have reason to believe that the employee's dependant may not be sick, they can require the employee to provide a medical certificate. There may be a charge for this, for which the employee will be reimbursed where they have met the cost. Where a problem arises, the manager should seek advice from the HR Division.

Extended Carers' Leave

Employees must normally have a minimum of one year's service with UCL before being considered for extended Carers' leave. On occasion, staff may require extended carers' leave to look after someone who is recovering from a serious illness or who is terminally ill. In these cases, the manager may grant the member of staff paid time off up to 10 days (20 in exceptional circumstances) in one leave year, and additional unpaid leave up to a combined period of 6 months in total. In such circumstances, the individual would not be granted both Carers' leave and extended Carers' leave. Before such leave can be granted, the manager will need to ensure that they can cover the employee's workload.

Any situation where a member of staff requires more than 6 months off will be considered sympathetically and practical, feasible alternatives considered, such as flexible hours and/or working at home. Staff should be counselled by the manager in consultation with the HR Division about the possibility of job-sharing their post or temporarily reducing their hours of work as an alternative to taking a complete break from work.

Where hours are reduced on a temporary basis the individual's salary would normally also be reduced but UCL would maintain the full employer's superannuation contribution where the employee is prepared to maintain the full employee's contribution. Ultimately, any decision to grant further unpaid leave will turn on the balance of UCL's interests and those of the employee.

Members of staff wishing to apply for extended Carer's leave should apply in writing to the manager in the first instance. Employees will be asked to obtain a medical certificate and where there is a charge for this, it will be paid by UCL.

10. LEAVE FOR URGENT AND OTHER DOMESTIC CRISES

Employees can request leave in circumstances of urgent domestic crises which are not covered by any of the other policies in this document. Some examples would be:

  • vehicle theft
  • vehicle accident
  • burglary
  • emergency repairs to home or services arising from or to avoid flooding or fire In such circumstances, employees will normally be granted one day's leave with pay. Employees should contact the manager when the incident occurs.

Leave for Other Domestic Crises

At times, employees may experience personal difficulties which can be extremely stressful, e.g. relationship breakup, re-possession of home, bankruptcy, redundancy of a partner etc. Managers should deal with requests for such leave with discretion as each case will need to be judged on the individual circumstances. In cases where staff have experienced domestic violence or where a manager suspects that a member of staff has experienced domestic violence, it is imperative that managers deal with the issues in a sympathetic and confidential manner so that staff feel able to request leave in line with this policy. The HR Division should be contacted for advice in all such instances.

11. RELIGIOUS AND CULTURAL OBSERVANCE

There are some employees who have particular needs for time off in relation to religious and cultural observance. This may be on a daily or weekly basis for a small number of staff, but more often, will involve requests for a day off for a particular religious or cultural occasion.
Work requirements would generally be inequitable if they have a disproportionately adverse effect on particular racial groups and cannot be shown to be justifiable'.
All employees who have needs for time off for religious or cultural observance will be entitled to request the following:

  1.      flexibility in the arrangement of shifts, rotas and working hours generally;
  2.      annual leave, flexi-days or unpaid leave.

Managers will be sympathetic to requests on these grounds and will try to accommodate them, wherever it is reasonably practicable to do so, subject to the needs of the service.

12. MONITORING OF THE POLICY

The HR Division will monitor the implementation of this policy and any member of staff who feels that the policy is not being applied consistently should contact the Director of HR. The abuse of this policy by any member of staff obtaining leave under false pretences will be considered serious and could result in disciplinary action.

HR Policy and Planning
June 2013