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Summary of Employment Policies, Procedures and Services for New Staff
Welcome to UCL. We hope that you will find the following summary of UCL’s main employment policies and procedures helpful. All the documents referred to here, and your main contacts in the Human Resources Division, can be found on the Human Resources Division website:
Specific information relating to new starters can be found at:
You may also find the questions and topics relating to work matters on the main UCL website useful:
The main employment policies that you should be aware of are highlighted below.
1. UCL Code of Conduct
The reputation of UCL as an internationally renowned centre of excellence for teaching and research relies upon high standards of integrity and professionalism on the part of its staff and any organisations working on its behalf. UCL relies on public, charitable and commercial funding which supports its cutting edge research and high quality teaching. The responsibilities allied to the achievement of excellence in our work and the stewardship of such funds require that all staff act with the highest standards of integrity.
UCL aims to offer a welcoming and healthy work and studying environment in which all members of its diverse staff and student populations are treated with respect and dignity. Discriminatory behaviour, harassment or bullying play no part in our culture and will not be tolerated. We are all responsible for ensuring that our environment is free from unacceptable behaviour; that our actions and words demonstrate courtesy and respect and promote UCL’s commitment to inclusivity and equality in all its forms.
2. Equal Opportunities
UCL's equal opportunity policy is that in the recruitment, selection, education and assessment of students, and in the recruitment, selection, training, appraisal, development and promotion of staff, the only consideration must be that the individual meets, or is likely to meet the requirements of the programme or course or post.
The requirements being met, no student or employee will be discriminated against on the basis of their sex, sexual orientation, race, colour, ethnic origin, nationality, disability, marital or civil partnership status, gender reassignment, pregnancy and maternity, caring or parental responsibilities, age, or beliefs on matters such as religion and politics.
UCL has an Equalities website (www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/equalities/) where you will find further information including how to contact UCL’s Equalities team, for advice and support on all equality issues for staff and students, the name of your Departmental Equal Opportunity Liaison Officer (DEOLO) to whom you can also go for information and advice, details of UCL’s current equalities priorities and initiatives, FAQs, legal updates, and contact numbers.
Dignity at Work Statement
UCL is committed to developing a working environment free from bullying, intimidation, harassment or victimisation; where staff are treated with dignity, respect and courtesy; and where staff experience no form of unlawful discrimination. To this end, UCL has a Dignity at Work Statement and a group of volunteer Dignity at Work Advisors that you may wish to contact should you experience unwanted or inappropriate behaviour: www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/equalities/Dignity/staff.php
The Dignity at Work Statement outlines different ways that allegations or concerns about unacceptable behaviour can be dealt with, which include speaking directly to the individual concerned, either alone or with another colleague; asking your manager or a Dignity at Work Advisor to facilitate an informal meeting; or making a formal complaint.
3. Hours of Work, Leave and Time-off from Work
Hours of work
You can find details of your hours of work at:
You can find details of your annual leave at:
Leave for Domestic and Personal Reasons
There may be particular times when you will need some additional time off from work. UCL has clear guidelines on leave for domestic and personal reasons, including the following:
Medical appointments - these should be arranged outside your normal working hours wherever possible. If you have an appointment that requires a whole day’s absence, this will be recorded as sickness absence.
Bereavement leave - you may be granted between 2 and 5 days’ paid leave depending on your bereavement.
Leave for urgent and other domestic crises - you can request leave for situations such as vehicle theft, vehicle accident, burglary or emergency home repairs due to flooding or fire. You will normally be granted one day’s paid leave.
Religious and cultural observance - you are entitled to request flexibility in your hours of work, annual leave, flexi-days or unpaid leave to enable you to observe a particular religious or cultural occasion. Your manager will need to take the needs of the service into account in deciding whether or not to approve your request.
This policy also provides information on leave related to ante-natal care, parental leave, paternity/partner’s leave, adoption leave, carer’s leave and time off to visit relatives abroad:
4. Sickness Absence and Well-being
If you are unable to attend work due to sickness, you should contact your manager within 30 minutes of the time that you are expected to start work (or as early in the day as possible if you work a flexible or irregular work pattern). Your department may have specific arrangements for reporting absences, and if so, you should ensure that these are followed.
Your manager will let you know how frequently you should contact your department during your sickness absence. When you return to work, you should report to your manager, sign a Sickness Absence Record Form, and provide any necessary doctor’s certificates (for sickness exceeding 7 calendar days).
Details of UCL’s procedures relating to repeated short term absence and long-term sickness absence can be found in the Sickness Absence Policy:
UCL has a No Smoking policy. Smoking is not permitted in any public areas of UCL.
Staff Counselling Service
This is a free service, available to staff through the Occupational Health Service (www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/occ_health/services/eap_counselling.php). You can use the service to discuss, in confidence, any problem that is causing you professional or personal difficulties at work, including conflict or stress, relationship difficulties, loss or bereavement, drink or drug dependency, depression or eating problems.
5. Work Life Balance
Request for Flexible Working
Staff who have 26 weeks’ continuous employment are eligible to request a change in their working arrangements to care for a child or to enable better work life balance if they satisfy particular criteria. Changes that may be requested include, for example, altering your hours of work, or changing the shift you work. Details of the scheme and how to make an application can be found at:
Tax efficient childcare facilities, and Childcare Voucher Scheme
UCL runs an approved, voluntary “salary sacrifice” scheme for members of staff with children in the UCL Day Nursery, and a Childcare Voucher scheme which enable working parents to make savings in relation to the cost of their childcare. Details of the schemes can be found at:
6. Induction, Training and Development
Induction and probation
All new staff have a probationary period during which they will be introduced to the main duties and responsibilities of their post, the performance standards expected of them, the colleagues with whom they will be working, and the context of their work. Probationary periods are 6 or 9 months (two years for Teaching Fellows, three years for probationary lecturers) depending on the nature of the role, and during this time your manager will undertake regular progress reviews with you. As part of your induction process, your manager should discuss your training needs with you and identify suitable training courses for you, if necessary. New Teaching Fellows and Lecturers are required to gain professional recognition for their teaching expertise by gaining a Fellowship of the Higher Education Academy or an equivalent award. In order to do this at UCL, they must either complete the UCL Arena Two Academic Practice Pathway or complete the full Professional Certificate in Teaching and Learning in Higher and Professional Education (PCTLHPE), taught by the Institute of Education.
Induction webpage: www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/od/induction/index.php
Probation Procedures www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/prob_procedure_links.php
Staff development opportunities
Organisational Development works closely with other training providers to offer a wide-ranging programme, giving opportunities for all staff to update and enhance their knowledge and skills to fulfil both current and possible future demands at work. More information about the role and activities of Organisational Development, can be found at:
Appraisal, Review and Development Scheme
This scheme aims to assist individuals to develop to their full potential, identify strengths and development needs, enable discussion of career aspirations, and enhance communication. The review discussion will focus on your work over the review period and, in particular, the progress you have made against objectives set at the last review. Objectives for the forthcoming review period will also be discussed and agreed. Staff reviews will ideally take place on an annual basis, but no less frequently than every two years. Your first review meetings should be arranged no later than 6 months following the satisfactory completion of your probation. Guidance on the scheme, including how to prepare for the review discussion, can be found at:
7. Performance and Conduct at Work
The document ‘Managing under-performance - a capability policy’ can be found at:
This policy establishes guidelines for managers and staff in relation to the management of under-performance, and aims to assist in raising performance to the required level. The policy includes both informal and formal stages during which the individual’s manager will make clear where performance is below expectations, provide the individual with the opportunity to explain their unsatisfactory performance, and will discuss how resolution can be achieved (e.g. additional training, providing a mentor, coaching etc.) within a set timescale.
The Disciplinary Procedure is available at www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/disciplinary_procedure.php, further information can be obtained from Human Resources Advisory Services.
The Grievance Procedure is available at www.ucl.ac.uk/hr/docs/grievance.php,
further information can be obtained from the Human Resources Advisory Services.