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Sabbatical Leave Policy and Procedure
This policy defines sabbatical leave, the parameters within which academic staff may access this leave and the process to be followed when applying for sabbatical leave.
The policy applies to all academic staff, in the grades of Lecturer, Senior Lecturer, Reader and Professor.
Academic staff who are sponsored migrants should be aware of the specific limitation that UK Visas and Immigration places on their ability to undertake a period of unpaid sabbatical leave. Paragraph 225 of the Tier 2 and 5 sponsor Guidance states:
"If a sponsored migrant wishes to take a longer period of other unpaid leave, for example a sabbatical, you must stop sponsoring them and report this to us using your SMS account."
UCL would be obliged to terminate the certificate of sponsorship at this point which would bring the contractual relationship to an end.
There is no intention to restrict paid sabbaticals, related to work and personal career development, as long as the employee is still receiving the appropriate salary for the job.
Sabbatical Leave is defined as a form of paid leave which is free from all teaching and administrative duties, to undertake research or other appropriate study related to an individual’s academic or professional field. Sabbatical leave is provided to assist staff to maintain the high calibre of research, scholarship, teaching and innovation for which UCL is renowned.
Sabbatical leave may be granted at the discretion of the relevant Head of Department, Dean, Vice-Provost or Provost for a period of one term after three years qualifying service with UCL.
In addition to the qualification period, research active academics returning from maternity, adoption, extended carer's, or long term sickness leave are entitled to one term of sabbatical leave without teaching commitments. This leave will enable staff to more quickly re-establish their research activity.
The right to apply for sabbatical leave will not be affected by any previous period of, or application for, maternity/paternity or parental leave.
By the end of a period of sabbatical leave academic staff are expected to produce tangible outcomes in furtherance of their research or teaching. A report confirming what has been achieved during each period of sabbatical leave must be submitted to the Head of Department within two months of return.
Departmental Strategic Plans should identify sabbatical leave priorities and the provision of cover for sabbatical leave.
Planning for Sabbatical Leave
Heads of Department must inform all staff of eligibility to apply for sabbatical leave as part of the induction process and of any particular arrangements within the department to facilitate sabbatical leave.
An individual's aspirations for sabbatical leave and its intended outcomes should be discussed as part of the professional development discussion within the Appraisal process.
The Dean will discuss with potential Heads of Department their aspirations for sabbatical leave and will advise the Provost who will take these into consideration in proposing Headship appointments (and renewal of appointments) to Council.
Sabbatical leave requests should be made to the relevant Head of Department, Dean, Vice-Provost or the Provost in writing on the Sabbatical Leave Funding Application form or a Faculty-specific form where these are in use.
The following criteria will be considered in relation to applications for sabbatical leave
- The applicant must have successfully completed her/his probationary appointment
- Any previous sabbatical leave should have resulted in an appropriate outcome
- The period of sabbatical leave must have as its objective a clear outcome in furtherance of the individual's research or teaching
- The applicant must propose reasonable arrangements in relation to cover for teaching and administrative duties including interdisciplinary obligations.
- Adequate notice must be possible for the supervision of graduate students or provision of a specialised course.
Departments should contact their School Finance Team regarding the cost of sabbatical cover before agreements on sabbatical leave applications are reached.
Authority for approval of sabbatical leave and responsibility for arranging cover for teaching and administrative responsibilities etc. are vested in the Head of Department or Dean (in some Faculties and where the applicant is a Head of Department).
To mark its commitment to gender equality in academic careers, UCL provides the opportunity for one term of sabbatical leave, without teaching commitments, to be taken by research active academic staff returning from maternity leave, additional paternity/partners leave (of more than 3 months duration), adoption leave or long term sickness absence. This leave will enable staff to more quickly re-establish their research activity. Academics interested in this term should meet with their head of department and complete the Sabbatical Term Expression of Interest form within four weeks of their return from leave.
7. Monitoring and Review
Sabbatical leave that is granted through this policy should be recorded on an employee's MyView record so it can be monitored for equal opportunities purposes.
This policy will be reviewed on request.
HR Policy and Planning
Updated January 2013